In the letter coalition whip MK Idit Silman (Yamina) sent to party leader Prime Minister Naftali Bennett informing him that she was leaving the governing coalition, the word “values” came up repeatedly. “I can no longer bear the damage to values and causes that are essential and right,” she wrote. “Core values that in my worldview are inconsistent with the present situation.”
Big words, but there is nothing moral in what Silman did on Wednesday. A moral person does not drag an entire country back to the political dead-end it had barely managed to escape from less than a year ago. A moral person does not create government paralysis, preventing it from advancing laws and reforms and functioning normally. A moral person does not prevent a country, once again, from passing a budget.
A moral person does not impose another round of elections, or even more than one, on a country that has not yet recovered from four previous rounds. A moral person does not sell out her party colleagues and coalition in return for a safe spot on another party’s Knesset slate and a promise to be appointed a minister. That’s exactly what Silman did. So what damaged values is she talking about?
This government is a government of compromises, between left and right, Jews and Arabs. But in reality, those who have more often compromised their positions are the parties of the left and the Arab Knesset members, who supposedly are the ones carrying the banner of a two-state solution in an attempt to reach a territorial compromise with the Palestinians.
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Everything that is truly important to the left, and in strategic terms also for the United Arab List, was stored away in the political attic. No one touched the Nation State Law. The Citizenship Law passed without bringing down the government. The Palestinians were asked to go missing in order to preserve the coalition. The left sat by quietly. The UAL focused on civil matters and showed its total commitment to Jewish-Arab cooperation.
Silman is being deceitful when she presents herself as someone who is motivated by ideology or morals. A moral person does not pave the way for the return to power of a criminal defendant in the middle of his trial. A moral person does not sign a political deal with such a person. There is nothing moral in what Silman did. Political desertion is an irresponsible and egotistical act.
If Silman can’t take it any longer, so be it. But if Silman is a person of values, as she presents herself, and her loyalty to her values does not allow her to remain a reliable member of the coalition, she is invited to resign from the Knesset, find herself a new political home that matches her values and run in the next election.