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Political Party Or Empty Shell?

Is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s politically “brilliant move” just the opening shot? Will his next move be an attempt to inject the Kadima Knesset members into the Likud? Or is the prime minister planning another Sharon-style bombshell, such as enticing Likud MKs to join him, Kadima and Ehud Barak’s party in forming a new balloon party?

We in Manhigut Yehudit all hope that these are not Netanyahu’s plans. We cannot, however, ignore the worrisome signs and the great temptation that threatens to push him to make such a move.

The simple and logical solution for the Ulpana Hill neighborhood in Beit El is to enact legislation to legalize the construction there. But Netanyahu is torpedoing that solution. This means that his grand coalition has not afforded him enough power to stand up to the pressure of the media and the Left. From our past experiences we know that in situations like this, the Likud’s leaders usually turn sharply left.

“Perhaps your power is your downfall?” Avri Gilad asked me in a Channel 2 interview. “Maybe Netanyahu will leave the Likud because of you, establish a new party, and leave you with the empty shell?”

“That is exactly what Sharon did to Netanyahu,” I answered. “Everyone talked about the empty shell that Sharon left for Netanyahu. But now it is plain to see that the Likud is actually the party that rebounded, while Sharon’s Kadima is the empty shell.”

Nothing can last long without meaning, and certainly not a political party that is supposed to be predicated on an ideology. That is why a party like Kadima, founded on opportunism and essential corruption, or a party based on hatred of the haredi public cannot survive for long.

What gives the Likud its surprising vitality and resilience? Its members. The Likud is a traditional, popular party that faithfully represents the nation of Israel and takes responsibility to lead it.

Sometimes a leader can become confused and think that it is not the party that carries him – but just the opposite. A person who rules on the basis of that erroneous presumption can certainly succeed at first. But in no time it will turn out that he is not equipped with the roots of a real party that will keep him strong in the stormy wind.

How can we prevent these predictions from coming true? At this point we are talking about no more than concern. As long as nothing comes of it, we will strengthen and assist the Likud government and its head in all of their positive undertakings.

However, we must make our concern public. Let our Knesset representatives know that we are attentively watching and waiting to hear what they plan to do if the above scenario plays itself out. The more that this potential move is publicly discussed and the more the ministers and MKs publicize their positions, the less chance that a new “big bang” will actually take place in Israeli politics.

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