Good Rating Are All She Wants

It became clear that despite her lofty description as an "ideological Knesset member," Shelly Yachimovich doesn't know what socialism is and doesn't understand what a monopoly is. Her true ideology is nothing more than a quest for good ratings.

If she were a bit less arrogant and a bit more cautious, she wouldn't have stumbled as she did in her interview with Gidi Weitz in Haaretz Magazine. After all, she managed to go for years without saying a word about diplomatic issues, the Palestinian question or the settlements. But due to excess self-confidence mixed with lack of knowledge, she forgot the rules of caution and let the cat out of the bag - and the cat proved to be hairless and embarrassed.

It became clear too that despite her lofty description as an "ideological Knesset member," Shelly Yachimovich doesn't know what socialism is and doesn't understand what a monopoly is. Her true ideology is nothing more than a quest for good ratings.

Yachimovich has no problem with the settlements. She doesn't "see the settlement project as a sin and a crime." Moreover, her interview contains not a single mention of the word "peace." But what's so surprising about that, when her best friends in the Knesset are Haim Katz and Gideon Sa'ar, both from the right flank of the Likud party?

Yachimovich also fails to understand that one cannot be a socialist who demands justice while ignoring, at the same time, the injustice the occupation has caused to our neighbors. The Palestinians are abused, their land is stolen, and then olive trees are planted on it from which the settlers make the olive oil that Yachimovich would have no problem buying for her own use - as she herself said.

Yachimovich claimed that even if the budget for the settlements were slashed in half, our socioeconomic situation wouldn't change. She forgets that this is exactly what Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin did: Rabin cut funding for the settlements and greatly increased the budget for education and infrastructure. The improvement was immediate.

She also forgets the principal harm done by the settlements: They prevent any chance of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians. That, after all, is the true goal of the Yesha Council of Settlements - to strew the territories with as many communities and as many settlers as possible, so as to create a critical mass that will make evacuating them impossible - for then, it will also be impossible to give the Palestinians the contiguous territory needed for a viable state.

In other words, the settlements sentence us to eternal war with the Palestinians and the surrounding Arab world. As a result, the defense budget needs to be enormous, and must even be increased at the expense of social welfare spending. There's no other choice.

Yachimovich, despite the fantasies she tells about herself, isn't truly concerned about the middle classes, or even the poor. She's concerned with the strongest workers, and even the tycoons - all due to the sacred principle of maximizing her ratings.

Two years ago, Nochi Dankner sought to buy Hanson, Israel's second-largest maker of construction materials, and merge it with his cement monopoly, Nesher. Former MK Haim Oron (Meretz ) raised an outcry and said the merger shouldn't be approved, as it would strengthen Nesher's monopoly, raise the price of cement and other construction inputs, and thereby increase the cost of housing. A report by the Knesset's research center also concluded that housing prices would rise. But Yachimovich was unimpressed. She told the Knesset that "a monopoly isn't always bad" and supported Dankner's bid.

In her interview with Weitz, Yachimovich confirmed that she backed Dankner's bid and reiterated her assertion that monopolies aren't always bad. But it's well known that monopolies are very bad indeed: They restrict supply and raise prices to achieve maximum profits, and the profits thus achieved are surplus profits obtained at the expense of the middle and lower classes.

But Yachimovich wanted the votes of Nesher employees in the upcoming Labor Party primary. And they wanted the merger, which would increase their power. So she voted in favor.

Nor is this the only such case. Yachimovich also opposed this summer's cottage cheese protest; she defended the cheese's excessive price of NIS 7.3 per container. Here, too, her goal was to win votes - this time, from Tnuva workers - at the general public's expense.

Yachimovich also supports all the government monopolies, with their excessive salaries and inflated work forces. She is in favor of the Israel Electric Corporation's monopoly, the Israel Airports Authority's monopoly, the Israel Lands Administration's monopoly and the Israel Ports Company's monopoly. It doesn't bother her that these monopolies result in higher prices from which we all suffer. The votes of the monopolies' workers are more important.

So forget about her socialism and her monopolies. All she wants is good ratings.