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Left-wing intellectuals call for voters to topple PM
By LAHAV HARKOV
07/12/2012
Sobol: Right is leading Israel to disaster; Kaniuk: Livni will work to end ‘occupation’;Dayan: Yacimovich must not join Likud coalition.
 
Left-wing intellectuals expressed hope on Thursday that despite the divisions in the Center-Left, the camp will grow large enough to topple Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and conveyed optimism about The Tzipi Livni Party.

Author Yoram Kaniuk said the current election must “vote against this crazy, messianic, right-wing government.”

“If we don’t do it now, I don’t know what will happen,” he stated. “I fought in the War of Independence, and I don’t understand who these people are, who this [Foreign Minister Avigdor] Liberman is. This isn’t Israel. It has no connection to our past.”

“The upcoming election is the most crucial in recent years,” author Yehoshua Sobol said. “The Right is leading the country to total isolation, which can lead to a disaster.”

While some predict an “avalanche” in the Right, which will bring another election soon after the one on January 22, Sobol added that he hopes things will not “get worse before they get better.”

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Tel Aviv councilwoman and former Labor and Meretz MK Yael Dayan said the most important thing to do in this election is vote for parties that will not join a coalition with Netanyahu.

“We need parties that want peace. Netanyahu will bring war,” Dayan said.

The former MK, who was given an honorary spot on Labor’s list of candidates, was not concerned about divisions in the Center-Left camp, saying it is unclear whether they will increase or decrease its seats in the next Knesset.

“It’s a matter of ego. It’s hard for party leaders to become No. 2 in another party, especially when the ideologies are not identical,” she stated.

The way for parties to bring in more votes, Dayan explained, is to reject joining a coalition that will not work for peace.

“Tzipi Livni won’t join Netanyahu, but we don’t know about [Labor leader] Shelly Yacimovich,” she said.

“Labor voters will demand it.”

“At first, I thought Yacimovich would bring back the old Labor,” Kaniuk said, “but she stayed quiet. She doesn’t understand that in order to have a good economy, we need to end the ‘occupation.’” According to Kaniuk, Livni is “more Labor than Yacimovich, because she wants to end the occupation and negotiate on [pre-]1967 borders.”

The author also called former Labor leader Amir Peretz’s move to The Tzipi Livni Party the best thing to happen in politics for a long time, because he and former Labor leader Amram Mitzna – second on the Livni list – are good people who will attract votes and believe in a twostate solution.

“If Livni becomes the largest party [on the Left], she might be able to topple Netanyahu. We need someone to save ourselves,” he added.

According to Kaniuk, the divisions in the Center-Left are “unfortunate,” and a product of the Israeli political system and low election threshold.

“We’re Jews, that’s how we work,” he quipped. “Everyone wants exactly what they want, and doesn’t understand that politics don’t work that way. The Right makes better politicians.”

Sobol also said he is unsure that unity is necessary on the Left, noting that what is most important is the parties’ commitment to similar ideas.

“As long as they go into battle together [against Netanyahu], it doesn’t hurt that they’re separate,” he stated. “We need a Center- Left bloc that can cut off the Right. If the Center grows enough, there can be a Center- Left government.”

The author called for parties to end their “boycott” of Arab parties and allow them into the coalition, to strengthen the Left.

Sobol also said the Center- Left should focus on voter turnout, explaining that 30 percent of Jewish Israelis and 52% of Israeli Arabs do not go to the polls on Election Day.

“They aren’t right-wing. Right-wing people make sure to vote. These are people who are centrist. If they understand the Center needs to be strengthened – whether its Livni, Yacimovich or [Yesh Atid leader] Yair Lapid – they will vote,” he stated.
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