The writer and Israel Prize laureate Amoz Oz harshly attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Labor chairwoman MK Shelly Yacimovich.
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Oz, a staunch Meretz supporter, made the comments at a parlor meeting at the home of friends in Tel Aviv. Speaking to about 30 academics who are considering voting for Meretz, Oz compared Israel to an apartheid state and made angry predictions about its future.
"In my mind, the Netanyahu government is the most anti-Zionist government Israel has ever had. It is doing everything so there will be not two states here, but one," said Oz. "It is striking Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] blow after blow - violent morale blows, financial blows and political blows. It is strengthening Hamas more and more. Perhaps that is the intention, to stop the chance for two states. They believe that Jews can rule over an Arab majority for a long time. No apartheid state in the world has lasted without collapsing after a few years."
Oz also told the gathering that if a two-state solution will not be implemented, "there will not be a bi-national state here but an Arab state."
In expressing his support for Meretz, Oz said the party is the only one to grapple fully with the question of "whether we will be or not be," and that "in this existential question, Shelly Yacimovich is worse than Ehud Barak. Barak said 'there is no solution.' Yacimovich says 'there is no problem.'" With reference to the new, centrist Yesh Atid party's chairman, Oz said: "I look at Yair Lapid who is concentrating on drafting yeshiva students. I am all in favor of drafting yeshiva students, but how will drafting yeshiva students help me if there is an Arab state here? These elections are over existential issues."
Referring to the former Kadima chairwoman, now heading her own party, Hatnuah, Oz said: "I have no guarantees that Tzipi Livni won't be the social affairs minister in the next Netanyahu government." He added: "I have no guarantees that Yair Lapid won't be the education minister in the next Netanyahu government. And what good can they do from within?"
In contrast, according to Oz, Meretz at least will be a fighting opposition. "The Labor Party has been crawling to Likud governments for 15 years now," he said. "It crawled under Shimon Peres, it crawled under Amir Peretz. And what good did it do? How did it slow the rate of settlements? How did it stop the catastrophe of the abolishment of the state of the Jewish people?"