Forget the Iris;save Nawar

Before the new left debates the future of vultures' nests in the Golan Heights it should debate the future of the settlements in the region.

The signs showed the pied piper had arrived. Nitzan Horowitz was going to Jerusalem. The opinionated, involved and lovable foreign desk chief was selected for the third place of the "New Movement-Meretz" list. Israel's left presents the supporter of the orange revolution in Ukraine, the red revolution in Venezuela and the green revolution in Israel.

Horowitz, rest assured, will paint the boring Knesset and dying left with a new shade of excitement and originality. Just as he flapped his hands excitedly after every statement by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, prompting conservative TV presenter Yaron London to shower him with criticism, he will do the same over the Knesset podium in front of some MKs who haven't the foggiest idea who Chavez is.

Green is the color and for the issue of the Gilboa Iris it will always be springtime at the Knesset: Every initiative to build on the endangered flower's habitat will be met with a fusillade of criticism by the new and promising lawmaker. Horowitz will also be the proud voice of the gay community. Every parliament in Europe decorates itself with one such young lawmaker with an up-to-date political agenda.

Lamentably, Israel is no Sweden and not even a Finland. The atrophied and reduced left cannot afford such shiny luxuries. The moribund peace camp cannot waste its precious resources on flamboyant and fashionable symbols. It may not be politically correct to say this but there is no choice: Before they debate the future of vultures' nests in the Golan Heights - how very annoying - they should debate the future of the settlements in the region; before they debate protection of endangered species - how very unfortunate - they should debate arresting Palestinians; before they debate gay rights - how anachronistic - they should debate basic human rights for 3.5 million Palestinians who have had none for over 40 years.

Yes, I know. No movement in Europe can be called leftist if it doesn't have an environmental agenda. As we know, the world's future goes hand in hand with social justice, equality and peace. No leftist movement can focus on one issue and Horowitz will join MK Dov Khenin in the left's fight for the environment. But before they do that they must fight the most important battle: against the Israeli occupation, our most just and fateful battle and all the rest should be second place to it.

But it's an ungrateful cause. The public is sick of it. It requires courage, heart and tenacity. Who isn't concerned about the environment? Who isn't in favor of saving this or that endangered flower? It never hurts to fight for their preservation but there's a war going on that takes precedent.

I met Horowitz once outside the Ministry of Defense at a small and bitter protest against IDF operations in the occupied territories at the height of the intifadah. He must not forget times like that. He is now a representative of the new leftist movement that has raised the flags of many issues. But one black flag must be waved higher, above all the rest.