Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why Vote Likud?

That is very easy to explain. As all signs point to a Netanyahu victory - with or without the faith-based vote - a vote for the Likud under the present circumstances is not a vote for Bibi. Rather, it is a vote for Feiglin.

The remnants of the NRP and the National Union parties - even if they do get into the Knesset - will have no political influence. Netanyahu has already announced that he will form a national unity government. Ketzaleh is the last person that he would want to see in his coalition. It will be much more expedient for Bibi to enjoy the support of the Left - even if he will have to put up with the protests of the Right.

But Netanyahu will not be able to ignore Feiglin, Haetzni and eight other MKs who are now in the 30 plus slots on the Likud list if they are elected to the Knesset. After all, they are in his party. Inside the ruling party, MKs can actually slam on the brakes - instead of trying to stop the train with their bare hands while standing on the tracks.

Where did the parliamentary struggle against the Expulsion from Gush Katif take place? In the NRP or the National Union? Or in the Likud?
Who made Sharon sweat? And whom did he disregard?
In the end, we lost the anti-Expulsion Knesset battle because of Orlev and because Bibi did not provide the Likud 'rebels' with the parliamentary leadership that they so sorely needed. But one thing is clear: No significant political battle is possible outside the Likud. Those who register for the Likud and vote for the party have figuratively bought a ticket to play the game - and not just to shout from the bleachers.

After I was bumped down to thirty sixth place on the Likud list, Professor Aryeh Eldad took advantage of a media interview to offer me the top position in his party. It was a most generous political proposal. The National Union party under the leadership of Ketzaleh had not yet re-formed, the Jewish Home party had crumbled and the chance to gather the majority of nationalist voters plus Russian speakers plus the general hard core Right into a new "Faith Revival Party" looked good. In my estimation, it could have won eight Knesset mandates.

But if I would have accepted Eldad's generous offer, I would have effectively betrayed all the people to whom I have turned for support since I established Zo Artzeinu. Because accepting this proposal would mean extracting every last drop of potential out of our sector - and closing the door on the rest of Israel's voters. Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party will likely never be prime minister because that is precisely what he does. He capitalizes on the sector-based power of the Russian voters - plus a bit more. Effie Eitam attempted to do the same thing and we see where he is today. So I declined Eldad's offer. It may mean that I will remain outside the Knesset in this round. But the track steering the faith based public to leadership of this country will remain wide open.

Editor's Note: The rest of this article appeared in last week's update. Click here to read.

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