And We’re Talking… And We’re Stopping

Israel’s leftish Labor party consented to talks with Ariel Sharon’s right-wing Likud party earlier this week, regarding the formation of a coalition government. The coaltion is apparently aimed at strengthening Sharon’s support for a Gaza withdrawl.

The very suggestion sent the Israeli political establishment into another infuriated tizzy, with Shinnui party leader Yossi Lapid stating that “Labor is betraying the secular population,” because of their willingness to cooperate with Hareidim in a coalition government. In addition to Labor, Sharon has invited ultra-orthodox parties like Shas and United Torah Judaism to join his coalition, though it appears response like Lapid’s may have him reevaluating his position.

While some folks are questioning Likud’s interest in Labor, including hardline Likudniks themselves who are opposed to the Gaza pullout, most are questioning Labor’s willingness to support Sharon, their embodied nemesis.

“They say we’re being used,” Labor’s Shimon Peres told a press conference. “What are they using us for? To bring peace? Should we be embarrassed by that?”

While the idea of Jews of diverse opinion coming together to work with one another on a difficult issue is truly inspiring, you have to be astounded by the potential of money to fuck everything up. This coalition could work, and it would be amazing to see a unified government in which the population is more thoroughly represented, and thus, one which is more democratic. But the economic interests of each group keep getting in the way.

Can’t everyone just bend a bit towards semi-consensus on the financials instead of being such economic hardliners? Can’t we, erm, defy monetary-related stereotypes and, um, just get along?

4 thoughts on “And We’re Talking… And We’re Stopping

  1. The monetary division is not nearly as strong as the religious one. One side wants to give away our land based on broken promises of peace and the other side would do ANYTHING to prevent that from happening.

  2. It’s safe to say that Peres and Sharon are destroying their parties for some reason I still do not understand. Sharon by taking the Likud hostage and alienating traditional Likudniks by adopting left-wing policies and Peres for wanting to become Sharon’s ‘poodle’ and eliminate whatever respect Labour voters still had in their party.

  3. Can’t everyone just bend a bit towards semi-consensus on the financials instead of being such economic hardliners? Can’t we, erm, defy monetary-related stereotypes and, um, just get along?
    Mobius, most of your argument seems to be buried in the two links in the second-last paragraph, so I’m not sure I have it right. But the two stories talk about differences in approach to economic policy.
    If that’s what you’re talking about, then let’s be fair. This isn’t about greed, or avarice, or other money-related issues that Christians have stereotyped Jews as being all about. Economic policy is a very different issue — it’s about how to distribute and increase access to society’s resources. (I suppose that puts me in a particular economic policy camp. But so be it.)
    It’s interesting: the situation is quite similar to here in Quebec, where one way of slicing politics up is along the nationalist vs federalist axis, and the other is along the welfare state v market-based approaches — economic policy. Here the federalist parties have tended to be market-oriented (right wing), and the nationalist parties have tended to be more state-oriented (left wing). But there’s no necessary correspondence between these axes. So that’s posed a problem for many ethnic minority members who are more left wing, but less nationalist.
    Israel seems to have the same problem, only worse. Here, I’d always hoped we could confinen the nationalist portion to referenda, agree to accept whatever the referendum outcome is, and the rest of the time worry about day-to-day (and far more important) issues of how to govern — in large part, economic policy. In Israel, it’s different. But the challenge might be similar. How do you decouple peace-and-security matters from economic policy matters? If they can reach a unity government around this issue of withdrawal, then they will have to some extent managed it.
    That, in turn, can only increase the possible constituencies of both Labour and Likud. So, while I quibble with the reasoning, I do think Mobius ends up at the right conclusion. A unity government could be very good for left-wing politics, because it would focus party politics more narrowly on the issue of left vs right economic policy.

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