In Favor of the Blank Ballot

Let the genuine leftists make no mistake about Mitzna. "Unilateral separation" without evacuation of all the settlements is an illusion. Leaving "blocs of settlement" and our army in the occupied territories is not a solution, as the events in Hebron proved just recently.

The experienced politician Benjamin Ben-Eliezer sat in the national unity government, which brought the country to a unprecedented political, economic and social nadir. Only the threat to his status as chair of the Labor Party and to his place in the cabinet and in the Defense Ministry made him quit the government that he shouldn't have joined in the first place.

When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed Shaul Mofaz in his place, Ben-Eliezer objected to the appointment because Mofaz lacks political experience. He is using the very same reason to bring about the failure of Amram Mitzna's candidacy for prime minister. In his opinion, political "newcomers" should avoid becoming involved in politics. The continuation of that same argument will necessarily lead to the conclusion that many voters are in fact reaching: that since they are political newcomers, they don't understand a thing about politics, and therefore they have to leave the campaign to members of the closed club of experienced politicians.

As a political newcomer, and although I don't share Ben-Eliezer's opinions, I have decided this time to operate according to his logic. In the upcoming elections, I will cast an envelope containing a blank ballot into the ballot box. As a naive voter (a political newcomer, as I've mentioned), I think the blank ballot has a good chance of bringing about a significant change in our sad situation.

Casting a blank ballot is likely to bring about several desirable results. First of all, it will demonstrate my loyalty, as a man of the left, to the leadership of the leader of the left, who claims that since I lack political experience, I don't understand a thing about politics, and therefore my voting for the right or the left is a foolish act, based on lack of understanding.

Second, and now in all seriousness, blank ballots cast by masses of voters on the left, like me, will bring about the final destruction of the Labor Party, and its removal from the political map. Labor has long ceased being an ideological alternative to the right, since it has no ideology, as it proved when it sat in the national unity government. The only job it still has is to serve as a platform that will bring activists (with political experience, of course) into the government at every opportunity when the public decides to punish the leaders of the right for some failure or other.

Third, the blank ballot will finally give us a strong and stable right. Such a coalition will be able to carry out the ideology of the right, whose essence has long been embodied in that lovable and determined grandfather, Arik "king of Israel." The right will be able to fulfill the dream of the Palestinian state in Jordan, by voluntary transfer of Israeli Arabs there.

Implementation of the solution to the Palestinian problem will not be disturbed by the "bleeding hearts" from the left, such as MKs Peres, Beilin, Ben Eliezer, Sarid and Gal-On. The blank ballot, after all, will have left them seated in a shrunken opposition at the far end of the Knesset. I believe, to my regret, that some among those who count themselves among the left will close their eyes, cover their ears and their noses, and hope that the success of the right's policy will release them from the colonialism that disgusts them and from South African-style apartheid, God forbid. They will hope to open their eyes and say: Thank God they got the Arabs out of our faces, now we can quietly go on vacation in Tuscany.

The real leftists will know that in casting a blank ballot and in putting an end to the party that pretends to represent us, they will bring about two things: the failure of the right, within a short time, to solve the Palestinian problem, and the founding of a genuine leftist movement of "political newcomers," which will replace the "experienced" traditional left. A movement that will understand that it does not have the authority to solve the Palestinian problem, and that it must solve only the Israeli problem. A solution that means a decision about the character of the state of Israel. A decision that it is, first of all, democratic, liberal and humane. An unequivocal decision about the separation of religion from state, and about the Green Line as the border.

Let the genuine leftists make no mistake about Mitzna. "Unilateral separation" without evacuation of all the settlements is an illusion. Leaving "blocs of settlement" and our army in the occupied territories is not a solution, as the events in Hebron proved just recently. At best it is a solution that will save the Labor Party from destruction, will bring it back to the government at some time or other, will provide an opportunity for the backsides of more politicians to warm the seats of the Knesset and the government, and will hasten the destruction of the country.

Until we get a leader who is willing to risk not being elected immediately, and who will tell us the truth, a truth that will cause those who vote for the right to change their minds too, I will continue to cast a blank ballot.

The writer is an architect.