Amir Hetsroni

What makes a Jewish capitalist vote for a communist Arab party?

What makes a Jewish capitalist (haters may add the word pig) vote for a communist predominantly Arab party? From one election campaign to another my voting is casted with less enthusiasm. I may become pickier as years go by, but the available choices are also not getting any better. What do I ask for, after all? A party that is not socialist but also supports a reasonable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on fair division of land and property. Ideally, I would have voted for a liberal party that does not aim to interfere with my private life or improve me morally. Laissez-faire. This is what liberalism is all about, isn’t it? Not in Israel. The classical liberalism vs. conservatism division is translated here into a hawkish right- dovish left juxtaposition, where the hawks are also more religious and conservative and the doves are more tolerant in various issues, but economically speaking nearly all the parties are equally populist and secretarial. If their economic platform is adopted – as is – one can start the countdown toward national bankruptcy because ideas such as subsidized day care for infants (Likud), coverage of adoption costs for gay couples (Meretz), and mega investment in public transportation (Labor) tremendously increase public expenditure without adding a single shekel to the income column. Maybe it is about time to force parties to clearly explain the financial back of their campaign promises like they ought to disclose the sources of campaign donations. It is easy to suggest helping a bit more the poor and needy – but who would finance the cost?

My party in the upcoming elections, Hadash –Ta’al, is not free of empty promises. Communists do like to promise, but unlike Jewish parties they lack the power to deliver. Their potential to do harm is smaller, because they are framed as pro-Palestinian extremists and are practically casted out of the political game. I do sympathize with the Palestinian quest for independence, like I do share feelings with any small nation under occupation. However, even though putting an end to the occupation of the West Bank (without compensating the settlers who can continue to live happily ever after under Palestinian jurisdiction or fight with the new owners – up to them) would be a good financial decision that would significantly cut defense costs, the occupation is not the major reason why I vote for Hadash –Ta’al. Let me explain: First, I share the position that Netanyahu should not return since there is a limit to the number of criminal cases, the number of terms in office, and the number of hate incitement speeches we ought to suffer. This rules out all the right wing parties, but still leaves me with a plethora of center-left choices. The problem with all of them, though, is that trend toward economic populism that digs deeply into my pocket. Neatly phrased euphemistic jargon like “investment more in education”, “closing economic gaps”, “helping young families with housing”, or even “supporting cultural activities” means de-facto that hard working men would subsidize all the rest and make Israel a safe harbor to free loafers. Why should my private fortune be used to pay for the absorption of Ethiopian Jews who never paid for my immigration? Why must I help single mothers, although I was not part of their decision to become single moms? Why should my taxes cover fertility treatments, when I have no wish to become a parent?

Economic solidarity does work outside the family. Yet, all the Jewish parties promise welfare and ignore its cost. Hadash-Ta’al is not different, but since their place in opposition is secured – I know in advance almost for sure that their dreadful economic socialist grand-plan will not be implemented. I wish that someday I might be able to vote for a party that I truly favor instead of choosing the lesser of two evils, but for now even a small step in the right direction is better than a jump into hell.

About the Author
Amir Hetsroni was a faculty member at Ariel University in the West Bank. He is emigrating from Israel in order to miss the next war, earn higher wages, enjoy cooler summers, and obtain a living package that is cost-effective. He has three passports and does not feel particularly worried about anti-Semitism.
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