Opinion |

Zionist Union, United in Disgrace

The opposition’s role in a democracy is to criticize the government and do everything in its power to topple it and replace it. If it doesn’t do so, it is betraying its responsibilities. this basic rule appears to be unknown to the Zionist Union

Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
MK Yoel Hasson (right), Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay and opposition leader Isaac Herzog, February 2, 2018
MK Yoel Hasson (right), Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay and opposition leader Isaac Herzog, February 2, 2018Credit: Emil Salman
Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial

The opposition’s role in a democracy is to criticize the government and do everything in its power, at all times, to topple it and replace it with a different one. If it doesn’t do so, it is betraying its responsibilities. But this basic rule appears to be unknown to Israel’s main opposition party, Zionist Union. Its members think the current government’s continued tenure is reasonable, at least under certain circumstances.

During the recent political crisis, Zionist Union’s senior Knesset members united against Avi Gabbay, chairman of the joint ticket’s main component, the Labor Party, and effectively prevented Benjamin Netanyahu’s government from being brought down (Chaim Levinson, March 15). Gabbay reacted to the chance of early elections the way any opposition leader should: He supported them and began preparing for them. But a united front of Zionist Union MKs, consisting of Shelly Yacimovich, Tzipi Livni, Isaac Herzog and Yoel Hasson, worked to thwart this possibility and, effectively, to ensure the continuation in office of the most right-wing government in Israel’s history.

Their arguments were tactical, and they had plenty of excuses – for instance, it’s better to wait for the attorney general’s decision on whether to indict Netanyahu and then hold elections. But behind all these excuses stood the latest polls, which predicted that Zionist Union was heading for a crash. It’s now clear that the party deserves to crash, having lost whatever remained of its political path.

Israel’s opposition leaders were more concerned about their political future than the future of the country. In that, they are no different from the prime minister: Saving himself from indictment has become his driving motivation. No considerations of timing can excuse a main opposition party that thwarts elections, and perhaps also the chance to topple the government.

Zionist Union had a golden opportunity to put an end to this extreme right-wing government, whose damage to the country, some of which is irreversible, just keeps on growing. But Zionist Union preferred its own narrow considerations. After years of being suspected of aspiring to join the Likud-led government, this party has now also been revealed as one that betrays its role as an opposition.

In his Knesset speech, Netanyahu mocked Zionist Union’s leaders for being afraid of elections. He’s right. His opponents deserved his scorn.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them