Labour is splitting

By Ted Belman

Ehud Barak is asking for permission to split the Labour Party and for recognition of his new Party of four seats. He complains Labour Party has moved too far left. He says his new Party will be centric, Hey I thought that’s where Kadima says they are. Perhaps Barak’s new party will join Kadima in the next election cycle.

If he gets the required approval, the coalition will be reduced from 75 seats to 64 seats. Labour got five cabinet posts for their 15 seats. How many will they get for their four seats? Its time to invite the National Union Party which has four seats into the coalition.

No doubt, Labour’s breakup strengthens Israel Beiteinu’s position in the Coalition.

January 17, 2011 | 19 Comments »

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  1. To support Fistel’s contentions

    Compare these stats with American and Canadian Jews!

    Poll: Most Israelis see themselves as Jewish first, Israeli second

    Israel Democracy Institute releases special survey probing Israelis’ perception of identify, says 94% of Jewish population in Israel believe they are part of worldwide Jewish community

    Israel 2010: 42% of Jews are secular

    Central Bureau of Statistics report shows 52% of haredi men work, 88% of Israeli Jews satisfied with their lives

    Poll: 74% follow Tisha B’Av tradition

    Ynet-Gesher poll reveals some 22% of Israelis will fast on commemoration of destruction of First and Second Temples; another 52% will honor day by not going out with friends

  2. Narvey nothing will change in Israel if it is dependent on the top down initiative for change.

    There is no tradition of popular dissent strong enough and unified enough to force change from the bottom.

    The only time I ever saw massive popular dissent that had any real and lasting effect was the the grass roots anti Labor movement after the Yom Kippur war and that started with one reservist protesting day after day until other joined and it snowballed from there forcing 7 months later Golda to resign and two year later Begin to the government. For that sea change it took the national trauma of the Yom Kippur war.

    For the change you are asking about will require something more traumatic than a Yom Kippur war.

    Eidelberg wants an American system and constitution here. I say it can’t work here and we are not made for democracy. A country like Israel under constant existential threat, democracy is the worst system.

    I don’t know what Ted thinks, he keeps changing his mind. He wants a half pregnant woman which doesn’t exist and taking a centrist position is worse than either of the extremes. Our raison d’être is not peace it is purposeful existence. Anybody who thinks achieving peace or worse agreements, is our main purpose should live in Canada or Switzerland. There you have peace and can live with and even potentially get along with Arabs there.

    By the way a poll on Channel one gives BB 21% support, which is about Likuds results in the last election here. The people of Israel do not like or trust BB. Barak when he lost his election polled around 10%. Ask yourself under what democratic system can a leader polling under 25% popularity gain power and keep it by manipulations. Shimon Peres never won a national election yet he was PM DM Treasury, health foreign minister , Labor minister and now president. David Levy was almost 40 years in government and never stood personally in an election or primary.

    This is Israel and we are not like any other democracy because we aren’t. We are ruled by oligarchs. A PM in Israel has less restraints and more concentration of power and decision making freedom than the president of the USA, Israel doesn’t have real checks and balances and our press is worse than Americas.

  3. McFalafel:

    Today’s YNTENEWS had an interview with the owner of the McDonald’s franchises in Israel. He is there to make money by giving the people what they want. He says more and more of Israeli McDonalds will be strictly kosher, and soon will reach 30 percent. Then he says that, if offered kosher versus non-kosher hamburgs, 70% will choose kosher, 25% are indifferent, and 5% will go out of their way to choose non-kosher. And more and more customers are reluctant to be seen eating a cheeseburger in public (Gentiles: if you do not understand this, that’s why you are gentiles.)

    That seems telling to me. It would seem that more and more of Israeli Jews are loyal to Judaism, in some fashion or other, despite the ceaseless indoctrination to abandon Judaism coming from the Israeli left.

    Israel has always had a basic existential question: if you don’t believe in Judaism, then why have a “Jewish” state at all, especially in this age of liberal multi-culturalism? The Israeli leftists have gone completely post-zionist, and their answer is simple: “You don’t.”

    Secular nationalist Israelis (Netanyahu, Barak, Lieberman) are ambivalent and want to eat their cake and still have it. So they play both sides.

    Religious Jews in Israel are not yet numerous enough to overcome the opposition of leftists and secular rightists. But their numbers are growing, and their day is coming.

  4. Thx Yamit. You have addressed one of the facets of the problem, suggesting the Israeli electorate is either bribed or mesmerized into supporting the political status quo.

    I presume you are familiar with Eidelberg’s writings that I briefly referenced. His observations and suggested solutions seem reasonable, yet I see he keeps writing and the status quo remains the same.

    Surley there must be a sizeable number of Israelis that would want a political system that is conducive to more cohesive and stronger leadership, which means doing away with splinter single issue parties and the like and making MK’s more responsible to their constituencies, such as we have in our Canadian parliamentary system or the American system of representative government.

    Is so, where are their voices?

    What changes would you like to see in the Israeli political system and have you ever advocated that to any MK’s or other groups that share your views?

    I believe Ted’s views align with Eidelberg’s. Maybe the 3 of you should talk.

  5. Bill Narvey says:
    What I find surprising is that the electorate has not risen up to demand a political system that breeds stronger governments that govern based on their promises to the people and MK’s allegience being 1st to Israel, 2nd to the electorate that elected them and 3rdly to their party.

    Israelis don’t revolt because the government bribes them: Here’s How: The government bribes the opposition with portfolios. The ruling party bribes influential local figures with sinecures. Minorities are bribed with subsidies. Israelis are not a homogeneous nation. We have well-defined groups of spongers: Haredim, Arabs, blacks, and elderly immigrants. All minorities hugely benefit from minimum-wage laws, which means that hardworking Jews are subsidizing them. Many Jews don’t even understand that minimum wage is the largest tax they pay.
    It is this corruption that allows government to perform its anti-Israeli tricks. Haredim accepted the Gush Katif eviction after Sharon threw their leaders a bone of slightly bigger subsidies. Settlers keep silent about the destruction of outposts because the government subsidizes settlements.

    But aren’t subsidies natural for a state? Not at all. The government does not obtain the funds miraculously. It taxes and distributes. The nation as a whole receives no favor from government for which people should reciprocate gratefully. Rather, government bribes them and pushes them into compliance with their own money. The absurdity of the situation lies in the fact that government legally robs decent, hardworking Jews to buy the support of others for policies detrimental to those Jews. Their own money is taken away and turned against them.

    In classical Athenian and early American democracies only people of certain means were allowed to vote.

    Corrective conclusion:

    In Israel, tax-negative citizens must be barred from voting. Incidentally, that would disenfranchise Arabs, and also discourage government from politically motivated subsidies.

    Politics is Theater with ugly actors

  6. (From today’s Arutz Sheva online news report:)

    The agreement signed by Likud and Independence includes the following:

    •Ehud Barak will remain Defense Minister and be Deputy Prime Minister.

    •Shalom Simchon, who is currently Minister of Agriculture, will be Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor instead of Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.

    •Matan Vilnai, currently Deputy Defense Minister, will become a full-fledged minister within the Ministry of Defense. His portfolio will include Homefront Defense and Minorities. The separate ministry for Minorities will be canceled.

    •MK Orit Noked will be Minister of Agriculture.

    •MK Einat Wilf will be Independence faction chairperson and will head the Knesset’s Aliyah Absorption Committee.

    The deal is considered unprecedented in terms of the political price that the coalition is willing to pay a small faction.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  7. Fistel you forget one thing in the current coalition Lieberman is now PM in all but name. He holds all the cards and all the power.

  8. The new kadima?

    1. Netanyahu now represents a large group of centrist Israelis. They do not like muslims and do not want to commit national suicide, but they also do not much like ultra-orthodox Jews and settlers.
    2. Ariel Sharon first recognized this group and formed kadima to represent them. He soon stroked out, and kadima was taken over by Olmert and Livni.
    3. Olmert and Livni took Kadima from the center to the left, leaving a political vacuum.
    4. Israel abhors a political vacuum. Netanyahu and Barak saw the opportunity to form a new truly centrist kadima.
    5. Netanyahu first protected his right flank, by neutralizing Moshe Feiglin (who talks the talk, but appears to be a bit wimpy).
    6. Now, acting with Netanyahu, Barak has split up Labor. Barak’s new party, Independence, will be the new centrist kadima. It may soon attract some centrists from kadima itself.
    7. This will result in a strong coalition of the right and the center, and will further marginalize a shrinking left.
    8. Note that this new coalition is basically a re-shuffling of the present coalition, with no real substantive change. It represents the fact that the Israeli right is simply not numerous enough at the present time to take full power.
    9. As a result, Netanyahu and Barak will maintain a formal political coalition with the right, and an informal social coalition with the left (the media and the courts) to keep the ultra-nationalists and the ultra-Orthodox in check.

  9. BlandOatmeal says:
    January 18, 2011 at 12:59 am

    The leaders of the ultra-right, represented today by the NU

    How is a party that is for a 2 state solution considered “ultra-right”?

  10. There has been much criticism over the years of individual Israeli leaders, that seems to mask some more fundamental concerns with Israel’s political system that gets these politicians elected that draw criticism like a magnet.

    Some political pundits, like Paul Eidelberg has often written of these fundamental problems that often lead to unstable and fractious coalition governments that gain power by making huge concessions to political rivals to draw their support. That often results in government leaders compromising on the positions they took that got them elected, to the point that those positions barely resemble the positions they took during the electoral campaign, if those positions are not abandoned altogether.

    Thee net result is that coalition goverment leaders hold on power is tenuous and precarious and their leadership in relation to domestic and foreign issues, weak and uncertain.

    Eidelberg in a recent communique noted that Israel’s political system breeds politicians more concerned with preserving their own political interests and benefits than advancing the interests of the Israel domestically and on the world stage. He has often noted that MK’s allegience is to their parties and not to their constituencies that elected them. There is also the problem he noted of a great many splinter single issue parties, which began I believe with Ben Gurion’s acquiescence and which has carried on to this day.

    What I find surprising is that the electorate has not risen up to demand a political system that breeds stronger governments that govern based on their promises to the people and MK’s allegience being 1st to Israel, 2nd to the electorate that elected them and 3rdly to their party.

    There are a number of contributors to Israpundit who are familiar with the Israeli political system in terms of the good, bad and the ugly.

    I would like to know what it will take for the electorate to say enough is enough and unite in demanding change that will bring them more good and less of the bad and the ugly.

  11. First of all, Ted, inviting NU to join the coalition is like inviting your enemy to spend the night in your house. The leaders of the ultra-right, represented today by the NU, stabbed Netanyahu in the back in the 1990s, and he hasn’t forgotten it.

    Yamit, I generally agree with your analysis, except your amazing statement,

    I do see elections within a year and BB might be the one to call for elections early.

    I’d be tempted to bet good money against that. Come back a year from now, to remind me of my skepticism, should this fantastic thing come to pass.

    It is true, that the ruling coalition has been pared down to a slim majority. If it falls apart, it will be because of some self-serving move by the religious; and there will be no profit for them, in the long run, for stirring this up: Even all Kadima, at its current strength, remnants of Labor and 2/3 of the religious parties (their normal max for being able to work together in the same government), as currently constituted, could not constitute a majority; and I seriously doubth that Beiteinu could be duped into joining such a coalition. Lieberman-Netanyahu-Barak is, so far as I can see, the only game in town; and it could be strengthened by Mofaz.

    Who would profit from elections? Lieberman? I doubt it. Post-Netanyahu, he would have a chance. If Likud were to collapse from within, there would certainly be elections, but you don’t seem to think this would happen. If any party is next on the chopping block, I would think it was Kadima; and this would be in Bibi’s favor.

    Perhaps you’re looking forward to something I haven’t mentioned yet: A falling-out between Bibi and Barak. That would make Netanyahu’s position untenable. But why would Barak do this? to strike a Shas-Kadima-Beiteinu-Independence deal? That’s a real long shot: It would put Livni in the place of Bibi; and even at that, it would not garner a majority. Likud is essential, right now, for any functioning coalition; and Bibi, for the forseeable future, is essential for a functioning Likud.

    So tell me, Yamit — Who would profit from new elections this year?

    As you say, it would “possibly” be Bibi. I say, it would have to be Bibi, if it happened at all.

  12. Ted, if your perceptions about Likud wanting to control Netanyahu with rightwing MK rather than crashing his government, doesn’t that underscore the significance of Moshe Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit? I agree with you that it is time for Netanyahu to bring the four seats of the National Union (ha-Icud ha-leumi), comprising Ya’akov Katz, Aryed Eldad, Uri Ariel and Michael Ben-Ari, into the ruling coalition.

    In my judgement, the Manhigut Yehudit, other Jewish nationalist elements of Likud, the National Union, Yisrael Beitenu, Shas and various nationalist-oriented splinter religious groups are the natural government of Israel for the coming years. I am especially interested in the leadership preparation concept that Feiglin incorporated into his now-successful Manhigut Yehudit, along with the National Union’s total commitment to Jewish nationalism and the details of their well-thought program of improved regional planning rail-based transportation to relieve some of Israel’s urban sprawl-based transit congestion.

    As for Avigdor Liberman and his growing party, they represent to my mind the hard and tough Soviet and post-Soviet Jews who emigrated to Israel and who are culturally comfortable dealing with their fellow Russians whose country will be one of the successor world powers along with China, India, Japan, and Germany (irrespective of whatever remains of the EU as the now permanent international monetary crisis makes its way.

    Shas? Of course, with no second thoughts. Along with the Russians, the Sfardim have long been the most significant cultural bloc in the population of Israel.

    Socialism? That was yesteryear’s garbage. Democracy? In the Jewish state, it should primarily servce Jews, if at all.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI

  13. Barak’s love-affair with Netanyahu has been been a bit perplexing.

    BB served under Barak in sayaret matkal, Barak was BB’s brother’s close and intimate friend and confident, BB worshiped older Brother Yoni and I guess in his own way Barak as well. For BB it’s like having his big brother at his side advising and supporting him and watching his back. Both are sociopaths, both entertain no loyalties, both are paranoiacs, both are megalomaniacs. A pair made in Hell.

    . Meantime, Kadima has continued to move from center to center-left to full left.

    There is no such thing as a center only those with no ideology or strong opinions.

    Kadima was always a leftist oriented party not because of ideology but in order to differentiate themselves from the Likud platform. That’s why they attracted so many outcasts from Labor including Peres.

    Labor also had two incompatible parts: a center-left under Barak, sympathetic to Netanyahu, and a left-wing who preferred Livni and Kadima to Barak and Netanyahu.

    With Labor it’s all personal and division of power. They all hate Barak and opposed him even before he was elected in the primaries.

    Barak has no party and no followers except some job seekers. More people hate Barak than Pees. He has managed to make crap out of everything he touched even before entering politics as the worst and most political Chief of Staff the IDF has ever had.

    Now we’ll wait to see if Likud splits in two, and Netanyahu and Barak form a new center/center-left party.

    I don’t see the Likud splitting in two, BB has bought most of them off and there is no popular opposition to him within.

    I do see elections within a year and BB might be the one to call for elections early.

  14. The deal is that Barak and whoever joins him would run in the next elections on one slate with the Likud and Barak would be a guaranteed #2 to BB. BB has bought off all or most of his internal opposition by giving them ministerial positions our deputy ministers. Only Lieberman or a major internal likud revolt can bring BB down. It won’t be the likud, it won’t be Shas or the Haredi parties. Lieberman could but he needs an issue to justify it.

  15. The labor split:

    1. Barak’s love-affair with Netanyahu has been been a bit perplexing.
    2. Netanyahu’s Likud has looked more and more like it was composed of two incompatible parts: a center-left under Netanyahu and his supporters, and a center-right under true Likudniks who did not have personal loyalty to Netanyahu.
    3. Meantime, Kadima has continued to move from center to center-left to full left.
    4. Labor also had two incompatible parts: a center-left under Barak, sympathetic to Netanyahu, and a left-wing who preferred Livni and Kadima to Barak and Netanyahu.
    5. Labor has split first.
    6. Barak’s new party, allied with Netanyahu, is “centrist, zionist, and democratic”, but not Jewish.
    6. Now we’ll wait to see if Likud splits in two, and Netanyahu and Barak form a new center/center-left party.

  16. No doubt, Labour’s breakup strengthens Israel Beiteinu’s position in the Coalition.

    Plus it will straighten Kadima’s position in the next elections – because the people are that dumb!