PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara – who will benefit more from another round of elections?.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The greatest piece of luck for the rightwing in Israel, and for Bibi Netanyahu, is the inability of the left-center to build a new strategy or political frameworks that will maximize their voting potential.
As long as there are separate Arab and Jewish parties, as long as no new political and connective platform is created, Arab voters will remain outside the playing field and the right-wing regime will continue.
Even before the count of votes was made for dissolving the Knesset, new organizational efforts began focused on preserving the frameworks of the past. On one side there were those on the Zionist Left pushing for a connection between the Labor Party and Meretz. On another side, were those in the Arab parties pushing to reassemble the Joint List. Common to both is the notion that these are outdated messages that will only bring about the same disappointing results of the past.
More of the same thing that will help a continuation of the rule of Netanyahu and the Likud. It was as if we suddenly forgot that only yesterday people were shouting in the streets about the acute dangers to democracy in Israel. That Israel was on its way to another war and to annexation of the Occupied Territories.
The State of Israel is in danger. And still we continue with a political strategy guaranteeing that absolutely nothing will change. We must not allow this to happen.
So what can we do? We can re-divide the alternative to a right-wing government into three components:
The first component is a centrist party that will bring together Kachol Lavan (the Blue and White Party), the Labor Party, Orly Levy-Abecassis, Tzipi Livni – this is the party of the much-needed Knesset seats. A large camp that will draw to it the struggle over preserving government institutions. An alternate government that can accept those who believe in democracy and who want to replace the corrupt and rotten regime led by Bibi.
The second component is the new Left – a Jewish-Arab equal political partnership: This camp must arise on the basis of partnership between Meretz-Hadash-Ta’al. A partnership that will be equal in all things. This is the camp that will bring the voting percentage in Arab society (that decreased to 49% in the most recent election) to be comparable with the voting percentage in Jewish society of more than 70% of eligible voters. Sixty-seven percent of Arab voters are asking to vote for a coalition party, 60% of Arab voters are asking to vote for a Jewish-Arab party, and this is the connection that will bring with 15-20 Knesset seats, a hugely hopeful thing. It will bring enthusiasm and a meaningful entrance of Arab society into the next coalition. This is the list that will take action for full equality of Arab Israeli citizens, for the eradication of violence in Arab society, for the arrangement and regularization of land and construction. This is the list that will pull the next coalition after it to peace negotiations, to the end of the occupation and to a comprehensive settlement in Gaza.
The third component is the separate Arab list of Ra’am-Balad. A list that will offer a response to voters from Arab society who are not prepared to be part of the coalition or to participate in the responsibility of administration of the State of Israel, but who do want their voice to have representatives in the Israeli Knesset. They received four seats in the election two and a half months ago, and this is also their potential in the next elections. They will be part of an obstructive bloc that will allow for a center-left government without entering the administration.
I call on all leaders of the center-left parties not to repeat the mistakes of the last election. I call on them to break the paradigm of separations that only serve the right, to build a new strategy starting tomorrow morning. A strategy that can create mighty energy and the flames for a political revolution. The writer is CEO of Givat Haviva – the Center for a Shared Society.
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