I am in the midst of studying for my Israeli Society exam, a killer of an exam because most of the material is in Hebrew and tends to be fairly academic. I feel that once this exam is over I’ll be able to breathe somewhat easier.
Even though I should be studying right now, the ridiculous state of Israeli politics is leading me out of my seclusion to speak out against the infuriating tactics of Kadima.
After Netanyahu attempted to bring Kadima into his coalition several times, giving Livni 2/3 major posts as well as full partnership in government, she has refused. And the reason: Netanyahu hasn’t caved into Livni’s demands to declare support for a two-state solution. She claims that there is another way of doing politics (I guess one that doesn’t involve compromising on issues like this).
Of course I don’t like Likud’s stance on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. And I think it important to stand up for one’s principles. But I feel like Kadima is using the Israeli-Palestinian issue as an excuse. Since when did they get so peace-loving? It’s not like they did that much during their rule of power to further the peace process along.
Furthermore, while I understand the importance of sticking to one’s ideals, I see the pragmatic ramifications of Livni’s refusal to be catastrophic for Israeli politics and society. In fact I think the refusal borders on selfishness and a lack of vision. Instead of separating herself from the usual politics, I think she has done more to show herself as yet another Israeli politician without long-term, strategic thinking. Her actions demonstrate that she is not keeping the interests of the Israeli people in mind.
The thing that worries me most is that now Likud will be forced to create a narrow right-wing government compromising all of those groups whose policies and principles I do not agree with. A government which the Israeli electorate did not choose and which will grant disproportionate power and resources to undeserving parties. This coalition is an insult to the words ‘representativeness’ ‘responsiveness’ and ‘accountability.’
Kadima’s taking part in the opposition will do more to aggravate Israeli-Palestinian relations. If the party had become part of the government they could have played a moderating role. In addition, in order to bring some of these smaller right-wing parties on board, Likud may end up turning a blind eye to increased settlement construction if not outright encouraging it. Oh and did I mention that Lieberman is vying for the post of Foreign Minister?!
Moreover I fear that this government will enact domestic policies which fly in the face of my ideals. More money allocated for families having more children, more authority and legitimacy granted to right-wing religious streams and further delegitimization of alternative religious streams of Judaism.
People who don’t live here tend to think of Israel in one dimension–the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Well I have news for you. The domestic problems (particularly government accountability, corruption, governance) are JUST as important as the conflict. So yes, I do think about the peace process, but I also have to worry about these unpalatable domestic issues which we will now face because we are dealing with a very narrow-interest oriented government. Furthermore if the domestic problems are not addressed, they will hinder solving the Israeli Palestinian crisis.
This country needs to go through some serious changes. If we are to survive we have to create a new vision for what this place should be, a vision that is devoid of personal politics and instead addresses long-term and collective interests