Today is a very significant day. Two of the larger parties in Israel are going to show their true colors today. Do they really believe in the ideologies they pronounce in election season or are they interested in preserving their positions of power even at the expense of veering from their stated ideologies.
Let’s start with Likud. It certainly seems like this government has abandoned true Likud ideology with the building freeze of 2010 and with the decision to evacuate the Ulpana homes in Beit El. But, some Likud leades have voiced their support for the Knesset bill which would stop the evacuation. A few days ago, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said that he would vote in favor of the Ulpana Bill, going against the Prime Minister. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin called the Prime Minister’s decision regarding the Ulpana buildings “an injustice.” Coalition chairman Zev Elkin called the Prime Minister’s move “a mistake” and called on all Likud members to vote for the bill against the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has indicated that people will lose their positions of power if they vote for the bill against his wishes. Today we will see the official Likud position veer from its stated path and it is also the day in which we will see if these Likud members are true leaders or just like other politicians who want to hold onto their power.
Yisrael Beiteinu is even more interesting. The leader of the party, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, called the move to evacuate the five homes in Beit El “grotesque” and said that if no solution was found then “the only thing left would be to vote for the law in the Knesset,” against the wishes of the Prime Minister. This is certainly consistent with Yisrael Beiteinu’s pro-settlement platform. Well let’s see what happens today in the face of the Prime Minister’s threat to fire those who vote for the bill. Will he and his other ministers vote for the bill or will they not show up to avoid the conflict? Not showing up certainly seems like putting their positions of power before their ideologies.
I happen to be against evacuating these homes and think we should pay the Palestinian owners for having built on their land. I say that despite not being as right wing as many in Likud and all of Yisrael Beiteinu. But the point of this column is not to debate the Prime Minister’s decision to evacuate those homes. Rather, it is to point out to voters that they should gain clarity regarding the true positions of the parties they voted for in general, and especially what happens when the pressure of losing their comfortable and honorable jobs is thrust upon them. That is when you can see their true ideologies.
So, Likud voters should use today to get a sense for the true Likud ideology. I am not here to say whether it is right or wrong – but take notice of where they stand before voting for Likud again. Certainly take note of those leaders in Likud who said they were against the evacuation and whether they stick to this ideology when threatened with losing their jobs. And if Yisrael Beiteinu abandons one of its most important tenets then this must be remembered by its voters when the next elections come around.
We can all understand tthat there are parties that are more right and parties that are more left. We can debate the issues and be tolerant of the fact that we are a country filled with people with differeing opinions. What none of us should tolerate is parties that claim to be one thing but then don’t act accordingly – whether with or without the pressure of losing their ministries.
I hope that voters will take note of this and react accordingly when it is time to vote again.
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Editor’s note: A response to this piece from the head of the Yisrael Beytenu Anglo Division can be found here.