Israel’s 8 Percent Political Solution

By “Non-Etrog in Jerusalem,” fearful of losing her job

A poll published by Yediot Ahronot last week asked the public who they would like to see as Prime Minister.

33 percent supported Binyamin Netanyahu; 17 percent Ehud Barak, and just 8% Olmert. 37 percent responded, “None of them.”

But what puzzles me is who are the eight percent supporting Olmert?

They’re not the thousands of soldiers and reservists who fought in the second Lebanon War in 2006. They’ll never vote for the man who refused to commit ground troops at the beginning of the campaign and then haphazardly threw away dozens of men’s lives when he authorized a hasty, ill-planned assault at the end. Add to them the soldiers’ families, particularly the bereaved. No Olmert supporters there.

No supporters among the families of the missing soldiers.

Olmert’s eight percent don’t include the hundreds of thousands of citizens of northern Israel who were left leaderless and shelter less under Hizbullah’s rain/reign of missile terror. Did the government make sure that they are better protected today? Not much.

Nor will Olmert find much support in Sderot and the region adjacent to Gaza. Those are the citizens who suffer daily from kassams and mortars fired from Gaza. Hung out to dry. As the longer-range kassams and katyushas zero-in on Ashkelon and other towns, it will be hard to find Olmert supporters there, either.

Forget about Olmert finding his eight percent among the national-religious Jews of Israel. They’re still enraged over the “Disengagement” that was going to bring a new dawn of peace to Israel. The disengagement only brought the “Red Dawn” missile warnings. And now Olmert advocates further disengagements, further expulsion of Jews from their homes. In some cases families kicked out of Gaza are expecting Olmert-signed eviction notices from their West Bank homes. The national-religious community is very close-knit. No Olmert supporters there.

University students and professors? They’re normally a liberal bunch and supported Olmert in his first election. No support this time, however, especially as the strike passed its 85th day. The whole semester is about to be declared a wash for 120,000 students. Tuition payments probably down the drain. Jobs lined up after graduation evaporating. Where was the government on day 20 or 50? Nero fiddled as Rome burned; maybe he got 8 percent from the firemen.

It’s a shame high school students are too young to vote; the government did little to stop their two month forced vacation when high school teachers went on strike this fall. Thousands of bored, lethargic teens wandered around the shopping malls and pubs until a solution was finally found for paying teachers something approaching a respectable salary. But there won’t be many teachers or parents ready to support Olmert.

The Holocaust survivors are certainly a dwindling sector, but they and their children will likely vote for anyone but Olmert. They still wait for their government grants. Talking about the Holocaust, it’s doubtful anyone who participated in the March of the Living, or sent a child on the mission, can support Olmert whose best buddy, Avraham Hirchson, former Finance Minister and chairman of the March, is facing charges for embezzlement and fraud.

Wait, what about the liberal Meretz or Shinui voters who appreciated the dissolution of the Ministry of Religious Affairs a few years back? Nope, no eight percent there. They’re furious that Olmert resurrected the Ministry this week in a shameless bribery of the Shas party to secure their political support.

Who’s left in the country? The draft-dodgers and peace-at-any-price appeasers? Well, Olmert’s sons live outside of Israel, and there are no absentee ballots or poll-taking for those living overseas.

So who’s left? Two groups of voters: Defense attorneys, who specialize in defending corrupt politicians, and newspapers columnists who are committed to defending their pal, Ehud. Their livelihoods depend on his political good health. The Etrog season is long-gone, but a review of the mainstream Israeli press, shows that some writers continue to wrap their Etrog in wadding to protect him from the public’s anger and disgust.

January 15, 2008 | Comments »

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