If you believe in making Israel’s economy more socialist, and that negotiating with the Palestinians is crucial for Israel’s survival – then go with Labor and Shelly Yachimovtch. Shelly doesn’t advocate the same hatred towards the right or towards settlers as her predecessors, and routinely attempts to paint Labor as a centrist party, despite radical leftist and radical feminist, party-colleague Meirav Michaeli who has called on people not to serve in the IDF. If you are a left-leaning centrist or socialist, then vote Labor!
If you are Chareidi and are compelled to for a Chareidi party, please vote for Aguda/Degel HaTorah and NOT SHAS. Shas is rabid now, and they are calling the Bayit Yehudi, “Goyim”, “Kofrim” [infidels] and “Resha’im” [wicked]. We have enough hatred in the country already – besides, Shas leads the country in convicted MKs from a political party (Peretz, Levy, Deri and Pinchasi) – even more than Kadima (though there is still a chance that Olmert will finally be convicted and even up the score…) so don’t vote Shas. Please, don’t vote for Shas. For the sake of a more ethical Knesset.
And now….for the center to right wing voters.
Likud Beitinui and Bayit Yehudi.
For the sake of honesty, I will preface my remarks by saying that I am a member of Likud’s Central Committee for the past 12 years. I don’t take pride in many of the Likud’s actions over that period and the Disengagement from Gaza was the lowest point in the Likud’s history – when Sharon promised that a membership referendum would determine if he would push the Disengagement policy or not. Sharon lost, the Disengagement lost by over 70 of the membership vote, and Sharon spat in our faces and did it anyway. Eight years later, many of the Jewish refugees from Gaza still have no permanent housing or jobs. Netanyahu has gone on record about a “2 state solution” which is in direct contradiction to the Likud party platform and the against the majority of candidates on the Likud MK list.
However, the Likud the current government (i.e. Likud) has been one of the best governments for the settlement movement in many years. The Likud has enacted many laws, including the two high profile ones: “The Embargo law” and “The Referendum law” making it harder to uproot settlements. The Ariel College has been upgraded to a University and owing to our Likud Minister of education 10’s of thousands of school aged children have visited Hevron, as part of their school trips for the first time.
Investment in Settlement infrastructure, roads, culture is at its highest in over a decade – despite crazy international pressure, and we are finally seeing new housing projects as well. The Likud has kept our country’s finances in order, and Israel is a relative island of calm in a sea of international financial turmoil. Yes, it’s not easy to make ends meet, yet the global recession has demolished other countries such as Greece and Spain where unemployment is soaring. The majority of Israelis are living in homes, with food on their tables and their children are getting a decent education. Life isn’t perfect, but no other party is capable of steering Israel through these challenging financial times – without causing hyper-inflation, excess taxation, and reducing our start-up nation status to that of the previous Soviet bloc collapsed communist society.
A larger Likud enables more high profile positions to remain within the party. As foreign ministry is going to Lieberman (or his replacement), and I don’t see interior or finance ministries leaving the Likud, the chances of Defense (i.e. Boogie) remaining in the Likud are slim with a smaller Likud party. So ask yourself the question – do you prefer Boogie as Defense Minister (think housing permits and defending Israel from Iran) or Nisan Slominiansky (Bayit Yehudi) as Science Minister?
A smaller Likud always incurs the possibility of the President tasking some left wing amalgamation with the formation of the government. Arab and Non-Zionistic parties have no qualms with such a move and owing to the ideology of our current president – this is unfortunately quite possible.
On the flip side, Naftali Bennett has revolutionized the Bayit Yehudi [Jewish home] party – eradicated the vile “Mizrachi/Mafdal old boys network” and infused it with a young, dynamic and democratic spirit — proud of the religious Zionist ethos, proud of outstanding contributions to the IDF, and not being afraid to call Jerusalem and the entire land of Israel, OURS. The Bayit Yehudi party competes with Lapid’s party as the #1 choice for first time voters, even among NON RELIGIOUS voters! Bennet is to be seriously commended for having turned the party around and it is poised to make history with the most seats ever for the Mizrachi/Mafdal religious Zionist party.