Herzog Must Seize the Day and Form Alliance With Kahlon

Parties to the left of Likud won 63 seats in the election. It's now up to Herzog to offer Kahlon rotation of the premiership, and together form the next government.

Saja Abu Fanni
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Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog.
Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog.Credit: Reuters
Saja Abu Fanni

I only found out this week that Likud did not exactly win the elections. The truth is that despite the media hype, by the second morning after the elections, the “victory” had already aroused my suspicions. I tried to connect seats to seats and factions to factions but as Moshe Sharett used to say, I sank into the “urgent at the expense of the important.” Every time I tried to add up the seats, something urgent came up and confused my arithmetic.

Today a group called “the democratic coalition,” which already has a Facebook page, has a calculation at the top of its page showing that there is a clear majority for factions to the left of Likud: “Herzog + Odeh (Joint Arab List) + Lapid + Kahlon + Galon = 63” (in the previous elections the leftist bloc garnered 59 seats). The right-wing camp, together with the ultra-Orthodox, has 57 seats (in the previous elections it received 61 seats).

The day after the elections, Zionist Union chairman MK Isaac Herzog woke up, he said, at 6:30 A.M. There was nothing dramatic going on and he asked to be awakened again at 6:50 A.M. Those 20 minutes have lasted until this very day. It turns out that the “urgent” and the “important” for Herzog are both enjoying a good nap.

Wake up, Mr. Herzog! You did not lose. The premiership is waiting for you! Because even according to the scenario that predicted your victory, the keys to the prime minister’s residence were in Moshe Kahlon’s pocket. And that’s the way things are now. Nothing has changed since the pollsters’ predictions on election eve – except the internal division of the seats within the right-wing bloc.

And so, if you want the government, Mr. Herzog, work to establish an alliance with Moshe Kahlon. And if you propose that he be prime minister for half the years of the term (and even better if it is the first half), you will shock the system to the core – politically, socially and ideologically. And not only in Israel, but in the Middle East as a whole. You won’t be just the next prime minister, your name will go down in history inscribed in golden letters.

It will be thanks to you that for the first time, a Mizrahi will be prime minister, a person who has not forgotten what it means to be Mizrahi; a Mizrahi who lives the experience of the have-nots in Israel, a Mizrahi who refuses to resemble the ignorant racists like Eli Yishai. There is a leader here with a clear agenda, and moreover, with teeth that will allow him to implement his beliefs. And don’t forget that the second candidate in Kulanu, Kahlon’s faction, Yoav Galant, is the only politician who harshly criticized the attack on the Hezbollah-Iranian convoy on the eve of the elections.

And even if they say this connection does not reflect the outcome of the elections – we can remind people of the look of suffering on Kahlon’s face, so “joyous” was he over Netanyahu’s electoral achievement. After all, Kahlon conveyed complete personal and ideological opposition to Netanyahu, and in fact was recognized as a symbol of protest against Netanyahu.

Before the elections, and although Zionist Union co-chairwoman MK Tzipi Livni’s electoral stock was at a low point, Herzog offered her half a term as prime minister. This noble move led to the first revolution, making Herzog a candidate for the premiership of equal weight to Netanyahu. To Livni’s credit, she offered to give up the rotation at the last minute. Today Kahlon, who took two seats worth more than their weight in gold from the right-wing bloc, and who, together with the Arab voters, generated drastic change, is entitled to more than what Livni got. What’s more, this will bring about a true revolution among Mizrahim, who will stop voting Likud, which they have had their fill of.

Go for it, Herzog. It’s good for Israeli society, good for democracy, good for a racism-free climate. Jews and Arabs feel it to their very souls.

Be Shimon Peres! Peres knew how to turn a crack in the wall into a highway. The road before you, Herzog, is almost paved. Get on it, this is your time. Herzog time.

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