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Likud: A View From the Border

by Sharon Kahn Arutz Sheva March 26, 2006

Borders are interesting places to be. From the border, one needs to turn his back on the rest of the world to see the interior, while to focus on the outside world requires facing away from the interior. It induces a certain clarity of thought that sometimes is lacking in more muddled locales.

Borders, of course, are more than geographical locations. There exist social, political and economic borders, as well. For example, consider the religious border: where is it? A popular truism inspires rueful laughter: I am the border. Anyone less religious than I is an apostate and anyone more religious than I is a fanatic. Stated this way, in its absurd extreme, the narrowness of such a view is painfully apparent. A more reasonable and inclusive religious border might be drawn various ways, resulting in a larger, though more diverse, interior.

Now consider our political borders, and remember that politics is the art of the possible, not the ideal. Where do we really want to draw our borders? If our views place us in a minority position, we must assume that we will need to negotiate cooperation with others in order to be even minimally effective. Are we better off negotiating that cooperation before or after the election? Does it matter to a minority party? Emphatically, yes.

Who will form the next government? Either Kadima or Likud. So, despite the nausea it entails, anyone who shudders to think of Ehud Olmert leading us against Hamas, Al-Qaida, Iran and Hizbullah needs to seriously weigh his voting strategy. Does Likud deserve our support? That is the wrong question to be asking. The relevant question is: will supporting Likud help us to achieve progress on matters that concern us?

The formation of Kadima has opened new opportunities. The Likud cannot carry a majority without appealing to more voters, and the only voters it can appeal to are us – the block of the right. So, what can we do? If we say we only want to stop retreating from our settlements, we will get no promises and Likud will owe us nothing. But there are a host of other issues with greater public support. I would even argue that only by making progress on these can we hope to restore Israel’s stability and strength, and continue to develop our Zionist state.

What can we demand in return for our votes? Here are some suggestions for issues that would receive massive public support:

1. Equal enforcement of the law. We need the laws against treason, incitement, bribery and corruption – even illegal construction — to be applied equally to all Israelis, including Arabs and members of government.

2. Restoration of the power of the Knesset (not the Supreme Court) to make laws.

3. Empowerment of the Knesset to subpoena anyone necessary for a commission of inquiry, backed up by contempt and anti-perjury penalties.

4. Establishment of checks and balances between the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government.

5. Jewish civil rights protected, including the right to protest.

6. Licensing of a radio station that will serve our communities (Arutz Sheva).

7. Commitment to actively resist the delegitimization of any segment of the public.

8. Continued efforts to restore a competitive economy.

I know many people who feel so demoralized by what has occurred that they intend to make a protest vote or not participate in the election at all. There is no way to do this, though, without helping to elect Kadima. So, it doesn’t matter if Likud betrayed us, or if we can’t trust Binyamin Netanyahu, or if no candidate is saying exactly what we want to hear. The choice is either Likud with most of the Right behind it, or Kadima plus the Left and the Arabs. Take your pick.

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