The Bottom Line / In the Shadow of the Primaries

In the coming week the elections for the two major parties' Knesset lists will take place, forcing politicians to run from party central committee member to party congress member (Likud) or to every party member (Labor), in an attempt to get elected.

Avraham Shochat. Even a veteran minister like Avraham (Beiga) Shochat must spend these days running around the country to ensure his well-deserved position on the list, because looking around, there is no one better qualified for the finance ministry in the Labor party.

He has served two terms in the position, acting far more wisely in his second term. He has a wealth of experience, familiarity with the details, personal integrity, and a free market world view coupled with compassion for widows and orphans. He also stood up and fought for proper economic principles and even did that against Yitzhak Rabin by preventing the creation of state-initiated jobs and government construction. And Shochat has another advantage: He knows that without a peace process, the economy cannot be moved forward.

Shalom Simhon. Amram Mitzna sent Shalom Simhon to negotiate with the Likud prior to the budget vote. Mitzna's approach indicates a national responsibility, but it appears he errs in agreeing to support the budget in return for Simhon's "achievements" (should he make some). But all those so-called achievements will be credited to the Likud, just as the budget expresses the Likud's total outlook on the world, such as continuing gung-ho in their investment in the territories.

Simhon therefore should stop all negotiations. He made the party look foolish enough when he recently held such negotiations out of his own desire to return to a chair near Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Labor should leave Likud and Shas to ratify the budget alone. It is enough for the party to abstain from the vote and it will still pass. But the entire public will know exactly who took the money away from guaranteed income recipients, from child subsidies, and from pensioners - and all in order to support the settlements.

Dov Har-Shefi. The father of Margalit Har-Shefi, convicted of failing to prevent Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, has recently launched a campaign against the election of Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit in the Likud primaries. Har-Shefi got into the Likud central committee as a member of "Jewish Leadership", a right wing-extremist-religious group headed by Moshe Feigelman that represents the settlers.

Har-Shefi sent a letter to committee members calling on them not to vote for Sheetrit as his "opinions are more suitable for Labor or Shinui". Sheetrit's major crime is refusing to pardon Margalit, a deed Likud members have every right to be proud of.

The truth is Har-Shefi and Feigelman are Trojan horses in the Likud, trying to influence the party through electoral extortion. If the Likud wants to survive, it should expel the pair from its midst, and certainly not carry them to the Knesset on its back.