Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Next Trick out of Bibi's Hat

The elections for chairmanship of the Likud revealed an interesting phenomenon: Moshe Feiglin's candidacy provided the Likud members (and in potential, all of Israel's citizens) with choice. In other words, if Moshe Feiglin had not run for the Likud top position, there would have been no elections at all and the candidate of the National Camp for leadership of Israel would have been chosen by default. The message of liberty; the privilege of taking responsibility and deciding your own fate – became relevant in the merit of the faith-based ideology that entered Israeli politics through the Likud.

This past election campaign was really a contest between liberty and servitude. Enslavement does not like elections. True, Netanyahu sprang the primaries upon us, but not so that other candidates would run against him. He wanted a situation in which nobody would run against him.

And nobody dared. Except of course, for the person who tries to be a man in the place where there are no men.

Now, Netanyahu has lifted the curtain on the next trick in his bag. The PM has announced that he will run for presidency of the Likud Central Committee.

This is yet another attempt to withhold the right to vote from the rank and file Likud member. The Likud is the nationalist ruling party. Generally, the person who heads the party eventually also becomes the prime minister of Israel. The Likud has admirable internal democratic processes, replete with checks and balances. Just as in a state, the Likud has the sovereign; the nation, or in this case the party members. It has a legislative branch comprised of the representatives of the members; the Likud Central Committee. This is the parliament of the party. The Likud also has an executive branch; the party representatives in the Knesset and in the government. And the Likud has a judicial branch; the party court.

Netanyahu took control of the judicial branch of the Likud quite some time ago. Every Likud member knows that the Chief Justice of the Likud Court, Yehoshua Gross, does exactly what Netanyahu wants. The voting procedures in the recent elections are a prime testimony to that accusation. Votes were systematically stolen and forged the entire length and breadth of the elections. This has been documented and we are dealing with this issue separately.

Netanyahu's control of the executive branch is also famous. It was enough to see the "candelabra" (as the media mockingly coined the picture) of government ministers who stood behind Netanyahu at every rally. Secondly, despite the fact that approximately one third of the Likud members voted for Moshe Feiglin, not one of its elected officials dares to publicly endorse him. The ministers fear Netanyahu and do not really have any space for political maneuvers. If Netanyahu insists, everyone lines up behind him; whether he decides not to approve a solution for Migron or not to endorse the legislation for hearings for High Court justices.

All that is left is control of the legislative branch; the branch elected by the sovereign; the members of the party. This is Netanyahu's next goal. He will accomplish it by running for presidency of the Likud Central Committee.

For all practical purposes, the president of the Likud Central Committee controls the decision making and legislative process of the voting body. With cooperation from special-interest groups, he can pass almost any law while blocking others.

By proposing his candidacy for president of the LCC, Netanyahu is forcing the Likud members to choose between the executive and legislative branches of the party. In other words, Netanyahu is telling the Likud that there are no more checks and balances in the party. Either we will be a one-man party or a party with no head. The subliminal threat here is that if Netanyahu is defeated in his bid for presidency of the LCC by a different candidate, he will leave the party, Sharon-style, possibly joining up with Yair Lapid, Ehud Barak (for sure) and an elite group of Meridors. And of course, if Netanyahu is elected, there is no more Likud: Just a one-man party in the service of the Left, as usual.

What can we do?

First of all, we must remember that we survived Sharon, who pulled off the same tricks, and we will also survive Netanyahu. In the meantime, Manhigut Yehudit's power in the Likud has vastly increased. The Likud members appreciate and understand who preserved their right to choose in the party and who negates that right from them; who has afforded them liberty and who is destroying the party.

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