Monday, March 16, 2015

On the Elections for the 20th Knesset

Unless moshiach (messiah) arrives by tomorrow, Bibi must win. The shadow of Iran is too great to allow weak leadership at a time like this. Bibi is just such a statesman as the nation needs, beyond his imperfections in other areas. Only Moshiach could make me think about Bibi's flaws. Herzog is not Moshiach. But for those who wish to vote for another party besides Likud, I wanted to discuss the other parties on the right, to help put things in perspective. Before doing that, however, I must comment about the new Labor party.

Will the call letters EMT, which stands for Emet/Emes/Emeth/truth, the union of Livni and Labor is anything but truthful representation of leadership.  First, I don't know if Herzog can run his own party or if Livni will be pulling the strings. Second, would that be worse? I don't know. Third, I don't know if, Heaven forefend they should possibly win tomorrow, if they would run the Knesset or Obama would. Fourth, I don't know if they would not try to remove Torah truth from the world if given the chance. Which brings me to the fifth thing I do not know, how they could have such a significant following to begin with.  Well, since it's clear I don't know, I'll try not to speak of them further in this article.

Here's some things I do know.

One, if I was fortunate enough to live in Israel, I would seriously consider voting Likud for the first time in this election.  Nothing would empower Bibi more than a vote for Likud. Only there are other issues as well, so I won't give Likud my full endorsement, only my full support of the decision to vote for them whereas in the past I may have outright objected.

I'll have to allow myself the permission to speak of the Labor party again. Labor should have not worked so hard to cancel direct elections of the Prime Minister after the loss of Peres to Bibi the first time he became PM. And then the Israeli electorate would still have full freedom to vote for Bibi for PM as well as for any party of their choice for Knesset, as in that election, but unfortunately that is no longer the case, and we have to deal with what is left of Israel's democracy after the modern Labor party got it's clutches on it.

Labor is officially far left of center, not center-left, as they were back in the 1970s. Likud is the true left-center party in Israel in my opinion. Pragmatism alone, not nationalistic wisdom has brought Bibi and those among Likud who think like him to declare no more Palestinian State on his watch. Right-center party members like Danny Danon are the exception and by Bibi's choice.

The economy has fallen on Bibi's watch, so I fully understand the idea of not voting for Likud for more than one reason. But the Iran situation, with the Obama dynamic, makes this a time to drop judgement and if someone does not vote for Likud, they should only think of a nationalistic or religious party as an option. This Labor party is a mockery of the roots that the party came from, and if David Ben-Gurion were alive today, he would have no part of it.

Now to discuss center-right parties with viability of gaining seats in this election.

To form a coalition government, the largest party in the proposed coalition, not necessarily the largest party overall, has to have enough coalition partners supporting it in order to be given a chance by the Israeli President to form a government.

Jewish Home has announced that they will form a government only with Likud. This kind of announcement makes them a legitimate option at a time like this. While not as perfect a support of Bibi as a direct Likud vote, it is better in other ways, for economy, respect for religion and political diversity in a Likud led government.  So if Likud wins, it's a good idea to have a party like Jewish Home as a top junior partner to them.

My natural affinity would be with a party like United Torah Judaism. But they have made a statement that they would join a government with extreme left wing Meretz but not with the more center but anti religious Lapid.  Yet this party and that party are both not kosher, and yet being willing to dare pledge to form a coalition with national security risk Meretz? If so, why object so much to Lapid? To join with Meretz for the sake of Torah so that they would not take dollars from yeshivos. That leaves open the question. So you would honor Torah by risking the lives of the nation by joining with Meretz, but you would not honor Torah by joining with Lapid so that he would not be free to attack Torah without your objection?  It does not make a logical argument for kavod HaTorah (reverence for God's Torah), therefore, without Torah on your side, you leave yourself open to nationalistic questions. Consequently, I cannot endorse UTJ this time around either. God and Nation both, not just one or the other.

Shas and Rabbi Eli Yishai's Yachad parties... This reminds me of a conversation I was blessed to have with one of my great Torah mentors, Rav Aharon Soloveichik.  We discussed when Degel HaTorah was first formed by leaving Agudas Yisrael, and at that time I commented to Rav Aron, "The religious parties do not have enough seats (and political power) in the Knesset that they have to divide (their vote)?"  He said with a smile at my analysis, "Right."

Those parties later joined to form United Torah Judaism, which is my hope for Shas and Yachad as well.

The least I would ask the religious parties is, if you do not join forces to create a multi issue party with a platform broad based enough that can lead instead of Likud, then at least emulate Jewish Home and pledge to only form a government with Likud in this special circumstance. Any party that does not, I advise to not vote for in this election.

Avigdor Liberman's party has not been consistent in it's own values, nor in Torah ideals. But it is not left wing. Still, I would not vote for them when there are better alternatives.

Moshe Kahlon's party is identical to Bibi's Likud, in their attitudes to the Palestinian Arab question, only no track record, and no Bibi, so I'd prefer Likud over them.

So that means, as of this moment I would have to debate, Jewish Home or Likud as my voting options. I hope the religious parties would offer more support to Bibi and then I would consider them an option in the urgent context of this election. I hope by tomorrow, they will offer such a pledge to offer support to the national security project of re-electing Bibi, as Jewish Home has.

May Moshiach come soon so that we don't have to worry about which party to settle for and simply rejoice in the good leadership that God has given us. But in the context of this point in history, Bibi has been a gift from God as well, and we should not reject that gift. May it very soon be so, by the grace of God.

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