Follow ysgotlieb on Twitter
by RSS
Issues of the Day Ending Our Political Servitude

Now that Prime Minister Netanyahu has decided that early elections are expedient, Israel will gear up for a short election season. The winner, according to the surveys and pundits, will be the prime minister himself.

Under the circumstances, the elections seem more ritual than a portal for change. The prime minister’s calling card is the stability that has characterized the country during his tenure. However, given the Netanyahu government’s absence of achievements on the country’s most pressing fronts – the nearly five decade –long occupation of the West Bank, the growing economic inequalities in the country, Israel’s increasing isolation internationally, and social intolerance – stability will prove to be another name for decay and crisis.

Israeli citizens face a kind of political servitude: In the absence of prudent, far-seeing leaders we are subject to the calculations of a class of professional politicians whose foremost preoccupation is the preservation of power and advancing an agenda that serves that aim.

In order to balance the interests of  the prime minister’s “natural allies,” the public suffers policies that elevate market economics to religion, permit clerical and parochial concerns to rule the public arena, promote a technocratically-oriented educational system that stifles learning while all the while ignoring the pressing issues of the day, an accommodation with the Palestinians and social justice at home.


The rise of an effective opposition that may someday steer Israeli society toward a more desirous course is forestalled by a political malaise: Too  many would-be “chiefs” who employ tactics aimed to flirt with the current political and economic establishment.  This, too, reinforces the public’s political servitude.


The only way for the progressive forces of Israeli society to stop the rightist bloc from consolidating its hold on Israel (and, to my thinking, endangering through its shortsightedness the future of the State as a normative, democratic Jewish homeland) is to combine our strength into a focused electoral front aimed at blunting the prime minister and his allies and their disastrous agenda.


Those interested in breaking the rightist hold on the country must convey to the leaders of the center-left parties that they must choose the welfare of the country over their partisan and personal rivalries, unite their efforts, and build a sustained challenge to the country’s present leadership.


Now is the time for Israeli progressives to demand of our nominal representatives that they earn our votes by raising a single voice on behalf of the common good.     

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved