There's a Party Missing

What about the citizen who believes in a peaceful solution but also believes in a free-market economy? That voter has no party representing him.

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In our political reality, left and right are divided over their positions on the conflict. On the left, you support the peace process and recognize that this requires withdrawal from territory and concessions. On the right, you talk about security and oppose the evacuation of even the smallest settlement.

But what about those citizens who believe in a peaceful solution but also believe in a free-market economy? That voter has no party representing him.

If he wants to vote for Meretz, a party whose worldview for years has called for two states for two peoples, without the vacillations of Labor, the package includes a socialist worldview that backs big government, a bloated budget, high taxes and the belief that the central authority knows best what the citizen should do with his money.

If he wants to vote for a party that represents liberal economics, he needs to support Benjamin Netanyahu, who believes in the free market, in privatization, in reducing taxes and in spurring growth.

How is it possible to vote with a single ballot both for Jumas (Haim Oron, head of Meretz) and for Bibi? After all, there is no such party, even though a combination of Oron in politics and Netanyahu in economics makes sense to me. There's a solid common denominator here: freedom, equality and economic prosperity for all.

At the root of the two-state notion lies the belief that the other side has the right to a normal life, to an independent state, in which life is free, liberated from the chains of occupation. This is a liberal approach that believes that all humans are equal, and that which you hate you should not do to your neighbor. Because if this is not the case, you will always have to live by the sword.

This is also the view of liberal economics, which supports a free market in which an individual lives by the fruit of his labor, and the government intervenes as little as possible and causes the least amount of damage and disorder. Under such an economic regime an individual assumes responsibilities and gains the maximum amount of freedom and the highest possible standard of living.

A free-market economy means limiting the national budget, thus lowering taxes, which is the best way to fuel growth. We have seen in recent years how the budget was curtailed and taxes lowered, resulting in rapid growth of 5 percent per year and in 500,000 people joining the workforce. Factories opened, and business flourished. Is there a more important social contribution than taking the unemployed and providing them with jobs? It is also worth noting that 80 percent of those newly joining the workforce came from the lower classes.

A free-market economy does not mean complete nonintervention. The government is obligated to intervene and support the weak, the handicapped, the elderly, the unemployed and the sick. But this is possible only when the economy operates according to free-market principles. Because then there is growth, and there are resources to support the needy.

But where can one find a party that holds dear a liberal view in both politics and socioeconomics? The one closest to this worldview is Tzipi Livni. She is the only one who is talking about peace as a strategic goal. Livni has also not hesitated to talk about the dove of peace that is sitting on the window ledge. We can be cynical about her statements, as if she is only talking peace as a campaign tactic to woo center-left voters to Kadima. But this would be wrong. Livni was among the leaders of the ideological rift with Likud that led to leaving that party and establishing Kadima. She supported the evacuation of settlers from the Gaza Strip in recognition that the dream of a greater Land of Israel has passed, and it is necessary to reach an agreement on dividing the land, including evacuating settlements; for if this is not done the nightmare of an apartheid state, or of one in which the Arab minority becomes the majority, will come true.

In socioeconomics, Livni also shares a liberal worldview. She believes in a compassionate free-market economy. She believes in lowering taxes and in reforms. While she is not passionate about it the way Netanyahu is, we have already noted that we can't have everything.

Livni has two other important qualities. She has proven to be honest. Her record is spotless, and that is no small thing these days. And she has also not yet failed as prime minister like Netanyahu and Ehud Barak.

So, while our political spectrum lacks a party reflecting the full synthesis between Jumas and Bibi, the closest to it is Livni.