Opinion |

The Most Important Thing Is Replacing Netanyahu's Government

Despite it all, Arabs should vote with the left or even center, and not just with the Joint Arab List

Tzvia Greenfield
Tzvia Greenfield
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on November 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / ABIR SULTAN
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on November 12, 2017.Credit: ABIR SULTAN/AFP
Tzvia Greenfield
Tzvia Greenfield

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Election Day incitement against left-wing organizations and Arab citizens in 2015 was a prelude to the general poison he and his people are now spreading throughout Israeli society. Their assault on the Knesset and the media would seem to indicate that their rule is nearing an end, but their battle against the people who are pinning their hopes on law enforcement agencies and the legal system, and the efforts he and his emissaries are making to try to intimidate our most important civil servants, show that he doesn’t plan to give up easily.

Despite the questions raised by the submarines affair and the bribes it apparently involved, one can confidently predict that Netanyahu will use every possible avenue and every possible trick to evade the criminal investigations against him and their results. In other words, anything remains possible, as the cast of the satiric television show “Eretz Nehederet” joked fearfully. Netanyahu will find a way to remain in power, and for that very reason, we must not assign the legal system and the law enforcement agencies sole responsibility for sanity in our civic administration.

Even if Netanyahu is currently embroiled in suspicions, and even if efforts to criticize his government are almost always disappointing, Israeli citizens must continue the normal democratic activity of contending in the political and public arenas with his policies and with the damage the right-wing government has been doing for years. Their current obligation is to try to replace the government, and to succeed in this difficult task, they must focus on it.

All the other important goals – including giving preference to left-wing parties, giving expression to Arab parties and the desire to realize national, identity-related and societal goals – are secondary right now, no matter how vital they are. Thus they must be pushed aside in favor of the most important task of all, which is replacing the government and saving Israeli society.

Despite the new cars, the overseas trips and the nonstop festival of consumerism, the truth is that Israel is currently in a state of emergency. This situation requires us to direct all our energies and all our resources to creating effective democratic tools that can accomplish the goal of replacing the government. Strengthening any leftist or centrist party that has a chance of winning more seats than Netanyahu’s Likud party is essential to achieve this goal.

The prisoner’s dilemma teaches us that even if there is a bloc of medium-sized parties which together have enough seats to prevent another Netanyahu government, it will break up immediately if the Likud is the biggest party and offers generous goodies to a few of them.

These remarks are aimed especially at people who vote for the Arab parties’ Joint List (and perhaps the ultra-Orthodox parties as well). If hundreds of thousands of voters want to change their country, their status in society and their economic conditions, there’s no point in their continuing to vote for the Joint List (or for ultra-Orthodox parties) solely for counterproductive reasons of national or group pride. Doing so won’t produce any real benefits for them, but only for their Knesset members.

Despite the grave mistake Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay made in his treatment of party MK Zouheir Bahloul, they would do better to vote for Labor, Meretz or even Yesh Atid. The more centrist the party, the greater its chances of becoming the ruling party, and therefore, the wiser and more meaningful Arab voters’ investment in political activity will end up being.

If they have the wisdom to join, as brothers, in the huge human wave that is trying to push the disastrous right out of power, they will contribute directly to its success and pave the way for a fuller and more satisfying partnership in the country of which we are all citizens.

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