Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Likud primary: a reality check and a candidate’s failure

Likud members who are eligible to vote in the upcoming Likud primary will step into the voting booth in less than ten days.  These voters will decide who will be next head-of-Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu (the present Likud leader) or Moshe Feiglin, the single challenger to Mr Netanyahu. Both men are known to Likud members. Both have identifiable philosophies. Both understand power—Mr Netanyahu as prime Minister, Mr Feiglin as head of Manhigut Yehudit, the largest faction in Israel’s most powerful political party .

Today, we offer Likud voters a candidate’s  ‘reality checklist’ for their January 31 vote. It is a list of ten questions, to help identify which candidate best represents Likud beliefs; the concepts embedded in these questions appear as both explicit--and implicit—ideals within the Party Platform. Since many in Israel believe that the new Likud head could also become Israel’s Prime Minister in the next national elections, we present this checklist as a tool to help you decide whom you want as Israel’s next Prime Minister.

We call this, “Ten Questions for Israel’s Future”.  A simple scoring methodology is suggested below.

1.     Do you want a Prime Minister who supports an Israeli High Court that is both aggressively Left and activist against the Likud Platform?

2.     Do you want a Prime Minister who does not assert Israel’s eternal right to the Land of Israel when he faces those who would delegitimize the world’s only Jewish State?

3.     Do you want a Prime Minister who does not appoint a Defense Minister who supports the Likud Platform?

4.     Do you want a Prime Minister who works against the Party Platform by authorizing the demolition of Jewish homes on ancestral Jewish land?

5.     Do you want a Prime Minister who allows IDF battle readiness to diminish because he says nothing when secularists in the IDF openly subvert government policy to discriminate against religious personnel in the military?

6.     Do you want a Prime Minister who allows Israel’s internal security to be reduced because he does not stand up to Leftists who use foreign funding to promote domestic anti-Israel policies?

7.     Do you want a Prime Minister who will say, ‘I think this land is yours, not ours’?

8.     Do you want a Prime Minister who, on a daily basis, appears to embrace positions that reject Likud beliefs?

9.     Do you want a prime Minister who agrees to a building freeze—and pre-1967 borders--as a pre-condition for talks with Israel’s enemies—when the Likud Platform rejects such decisions?

10.                        Do you want a Prime Minister who will neglect his Jewish identity when he stands on the international stage?

These ten questions are simple. They are practical. They are not complicated. They focus on the real world. They also clarify what a voter should expect from a Likud Prime Minister.  They clarify ‘Likud’. If recent polls are correct, many in Likud are in near-revolt over Netanyahu’s anti-Likud behaviour. He seems not to understand what Likud stands for. Reports circulate that if Mr Netanyahu receives better than 80 per cent of the primary vote, he will take that as a sign that Likud voters give him permission to pursue any course he pleases, no matter what the Likud Platform says. Likud voters, on the other hand, are not so certain that they want to endorse a head-of-Likud who will reject Likud in order to choose ‘Left’. They do not believe that Netanyahu should have such carte blanche.

So how do you score the reality check? If you are Likud and you answer ‘No’ to most of these questions, your vote cannot go to Mr Netanyahu. You vote goes instead to Moshe Feiglin. It’s that simple. Of the two candidates, only Feiglin passes the reality check. Netanyahu fails.

Netanyahu fans will not like that. But even ardent Netanyahu supporters within Likud understand politics: a candidate who fails to support the home team should not own the team; when you fail, you should not be rewarded.

Perhaps this is why, despite Netanyahu’s fame, he is favoured to win while at the same time he loses ground rapidly to Feiglin. What will the final tally be on January 31? We don't know.

It appears that Likud members have a painful decision to make. Many like Netanyahu. But he betrays them. Others like Feiglin. But he represents change: he will actually be loyal to Likud ideals.

Here is the question for the primary:  how will Likud members vote? Will they vote their political pro-Israel conscience and choose a true Likudnik-- or will they vote to create another Left-leaning Party which will betray everything Likud believes in?

We will find out soon enough.


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