A Gantzeh Metziah. You don’t like it? Then KIS

This is the fourth part of the series on how to win an election – featured last in 2017 in the post titled “Oy Jerusalem” Today’s post now coincides with the upcoming election. We established in the past, the following:

  1. Israelis like a bona fide killer and feel safe in that mode. Whether this is the result of the trauma of the Yom Kippur War or the 2nd Intifada, whether it is Iran or the underlying fear and fear-mongering by current leadership, for example: Benjamin Netanyahu of “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses” fame. “Left” has finally been demonized and any talk of a two-state solution or Lord forbid, “peace” is pretty much out of fashion these days.
  2. The Palestinian leadership is in disarray. Hamas is struggling with multiple extremist factions within, and uses violence towards Israel as the single unifying factor, while executing a policy of totalitarian rule in Gaza. The Abbas regime is finding a safe-zone condemning Trump’s America and vilifying Israel while simultaneously cooperating on the matter of Israel’s security. This has thrown the current administration there into complete disarray with Abbas himself teetering at the end of his life-cycle. What better a time for Israeli legislation-change and legalized land grabbing?
  3. Israel is drifting steadily towards an apartheid style regime where a minority rules a majority, as annexation of the West Bank is now a real possibility curtsy of the “Jewish Home” party that has emphasized zealous ultra-nationalism, and by dismantling democracy and the basic tenets of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.
  4. In light of the above, we cannot tackle all of these issues rationally in an election with a short lead period, and therefore need to focus on what the majority agrees on and feels comfortable with.

Enter retired Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz. Of fair countenance, tall and blue-eyed, untainted by scandal, of likable personality with proven leadership skills together with killer epaulets.

We in Israel are suckers for this stuff. True, it hasn’t always ended well. Barak blew it after October 2000 and the Amnon Lipkin-Shahak venture into politics wasn’t successful but hey, who cares? Killer? Check. Good Guy? Check. Formidable? Check. Experienced in political arseholism? Uncheck.

The Message: KIS

Keep It Simple, folks. The Netanyahu administration is corrupt to the core. Friends, relatives, advisers, political cronies – they are all (for the most part) in the thick of it. They have been getting high on cigars, Champagne, power and free lunches. They are all cuddling up to the manipulator in chief and those unlucky ones who have been caught and investigated and charged are suckers. Netanyahu is about to go down, and when that happens chaos will break out in Israel’s leading party. Bottom line: this must end, the sooner the better.

Next in KIS:

The gap between rich and poor in Israeli society is growing at an alarming speed. Israel is at the extreme end of the OECD countries in this dubious category, just before Mexico and Turkey! What has happened here is that with the harsh restrictions on social welfare, we have a large part of the population, albeit employed, but in many respects enslaved in menial labor that locks the door to individual progress by limiting access to affordable, quality education in the coming generations. Add to that a housing bubble and you have a stratum of young middle-class millennials that can never afford a home.

KIS in the Israel Palestine conflict

Here goes: one-state solution, two-state solution, dialogue etc. are not KIS. They require a great deal of knowledge and thought. So, the message is simple (if it can’t be avoided). Whatever the path that leadership takes, it must rest on the current status-quo regarding towns and villages both of Jewish settlement and Palestinian urban and rural centers. This means that no-one, neither Jews nor Palestinians in the occupied territories, moves from their homes, with the exception of those on stolen land, outposts and settlements deemed to be evacuated after a full legal process. This does not preclude a two-state solution, nor does it preclude the current settlement status. It is complicated but doable and most likely will involve minimal land swaps.

Conclusion

Gantz is the outsider who has emerged with the greatest momentum. His strategy not to commit to specifics right now is the best path. Thus, he does not rule out a coalition with Netanyahu, because he knows that many doubtful supporters of Likud who are now looking for change, want to feel that such an option is open if they vote for his “Israel Resilience” party.  The larger the vote for this option, the greater the possibility that the other centrist and moderately left and right parties will join a coalition with Gantz.

We really are at a crossroads here. The sad thing is that this is not about Knesset members or the specific candidates. There are some outstanding people who should be elected. This election is about leadership and figureheads, integrity and trust. The Israeli left and the liberal political parties have shown repeated and proven self-destruct tendencies in this department. This means abandoning historical party allegiances and taking the plunge in getting Israel out of the rut of corruption and cronyism, thereby creating change and renewal and hopefully a path to applying practical meaning to Israel’s Declaration of Independence: a secure home for the Jewish People with justice and equality for all.

About the Author
Originally from South Africa, Jonathan made aliya in the seventies, and lived and worked on a kibbutz for several years. He has a graduate degree in business from Boston University and is a managing partner of an Israeli based business. He was a co-founder of the Forum Tzora peace action group and participates in the Geneva Initiative workshops. He is the author of the book “Valley of Heaven and Earth”.
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