Josef Olmert
Josef Olmert

The Left Established Another Likud Government

It was definitely a show of force-a sea of PLO flags in Rabin Square, screams of ”in spirit and blood will redeem Palestine”, inflammatory speeches, a display of anti Zionist hatred. So now the participants and their sponsors must be very happy and self-gratified. We proved those Zionists how strong we are, how brave we are. A new dawn is descending upon Israel-the post/anti Zionist Israel. Really comrades? Not so fast. In Tel Aviv, the anti Zionist Left Wing established the next Likud government. The only one who comes out as a real winner is Benjamin Netanyahu, who got charge-free advertising time to the next Likud election campaign, and can smile all his way to his next term.

Interestingly and positively enough, both Avi Gabay and Yair Lapid condemned the horrific sights in Tel Aviv. Also an important wing of Meretz did not give their hand to the show of support for Palestinian terrorism. These are the ex-MAPAM people, the Hashomer Hatzair Socialists and Zionists. Meretz yesterday officially became a non-Zionist party, and Meretz will pay a political price for it. The old Mapamniks will go for Labor or Yesh Atid, whereas in the Tel Aviv base of the party, many will vote for the Joint List, as Chanin and Zua’bi constitute the original anti Zionist side of Israeli politics,and people usually prefer the original, not the copy.

Zandberg and Rosin push Meretz to a place where , both Gabay and Lapid will not be able to include them in any future coalition, even to have them in a 61 MKs letter addressed to the President after the elections, aimed at preventing another Netanyahu government[IF they even enter the next Knesset-a big if]. Surely, Gabay and Lapid will not be able to include the Joint List in any such letter. Simple mathematical/political conclusion-they will not be able to have 61 signers of a letter to the President. It may have been the case before yesterday, but the blood-thirsty anti Israel demonstration in Tel Aviv [a reminder- in spirit and BLOOD… their words]makes it a certainty. It is more likely, that either Gabay or Lapid will try to infiltrate into a Netanyahu-led coalition, than the opposite. Then the demonstration which exposed so dramatically the anti-Zionist Left, is bound also to increase support for the Nationality Law, i.e to Likud. It is a simple principle-tell me who my enemies are, and I know whom to vote for.

Yes, Gabay and Lapid condemned the demonstration and they did it out of conviction, not only for political gain, but Netanyahu is the one who knows better than them, better than all his rivals , how to turn a situation like this to his favor. Call it incitement, demagogy or propaganda, call it as you wish-Netanyahu is the best in this field. Maybe not a compliment for him, but a harsh political reality.Hopefully he will not be tempted to include Gabay and Lapid in his anti Left Wing campaign based on the Tel Aviv sights, as it will be wrong factually, but any campaign against the Left Wing will put Labor and Yesh Atid under pressure.It will force them into the defense, taking a further distance from the Joint List and Meretz, and in the process, weaken any chance they entertain of having for a non-Likud government. In simple political terms-Netanyahu holds more winning cards than them, and the sights of Tel Aviv are a gift he could only pray for.This is Israel, these are Israeli politics, very volatile, never to be taken for granted, and there are the Netanyahu inquiries in the background and the feeble inexplicable response in Gaza , but the debate over the identity of the state, the Nationality Law controversy, play very well for Likud. This is the type of debate which makes it easy for them to mobilize the demographic groups which traditionally vote Likud . When these groups are fully mobilized, Likud and partners have an unassailable majority.

That said, something else has to be emphasized. The Nationality Law has to be corrected, it has to include a specific reference to Arabic as an official language, and it has to address in specific legal terms the concerns of those non-Jews, Druze and others who do accept the basic premises of the concept of Israel being the Nation State of the Jewish people. When the Druze community demonstrated there was a sea of blue and white flags, and there was no blood in the air. Those who reject the very essence of Israel have the democratic right to express themselves, and they did it in Tel Aviv, just proving how democratic Israel is, contrary to the fake screams about the end of democracy.They did it in a way, which is bound to have profound political implications, though not the ones they long for. Surely if he could , Netanyahu would have sent an enthusiastic letter of gratitude to the organizers of the horror show in Tel Aviv.

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina