Those Who Wanted to Punish Bibi Ended Up Punishing Themselves

After a few days to cool down, I will try to explain why I  am angry at those who voted for the small religious parties.

In my opinion, those voting for the small religious parties have basically shot themselves in the foot. Instead of looking at the whole picture and using their heads, they wanted not only to “punish” Bibi Netanyahu, but also to vote for their small “boutique” parties, where everyone looks just like them and has exactly the same idealogy. Now these voters are happy because they have representatives who agree with them about everything, but it is a hollow victory, for one very simple reason – these representatives  don’t have enough power to do what they want done. And the people who DO have the power, don’t care about these issues.

Who has the power now? Avigdor Leiberman. (Granted, Tzipi Livni theoretically has the right to try to form a government, since she won more seats than  Bibi, but most people agree that her chances are very slim). The real power broker now is Leiberman, since he knows that both sides are desperate for his seats.

Let’s take a look at Avigdor. His voters are right wing, but they don’t really care about the specifics of settlements. What they really want is to separate themselves as much as possible from the Arabs. Leiberman has said in the past that he is willing to do a “land swap” – whereas Israel would annex certain areas and give up other areas to the Palestinians, including uprooting Jews from their homes. This attitude is a lot more left-wing than the Likud’s stance, and is anathema to those who voted Ichud HaLeumi/HaBayit HaYehudi.

Religious issues: Avigdor Leiberman is in favor of loosening the laws governing civil marriages in Israel. For those of us who are Orthodox Jews, this is a serious problem, and it will open a Pandora’s box of issues in relation to the future status of children born to these couples. The Likud party’s stance regarding these issues is much more traditional, and is closer to what Ichud HaLeumi/Habayit HaYehudi voters want.

Avigdor Leiberman believes that citizens of Israel must either serve in the army or do some sort of National service in order to receive Bituach Leumi (social security) benefits. This attitude is directed at both the Arab population and the Charedim (Ultra-Orthodox), who neither serve in the army or do national service, but do receive Bituach Leumi benefits. Granted, most of those in the National Religious camp do the army or national service, but by no means all. At this point, due to the move to the right (both because of the disengagement and because of the trend toward more stricter observance by some of our youth), there are many Dati Leumi young men who are putting off their army service indefinitely in order to learn. The Likud party has no desire to change the status quo regarding this issue, and is closer to the attitude held by those who voted Ichud HaLeumi and HaBayit HaYehudi.

Nu? What did you gain by voting for Katzeleh and What’s his name?

Not much.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Comrade Tovya
    Feb 15, 2009 @ 15:18:20

    Right, but I wouldn’t be too confident in the vote for Likud yet either. Bibi is just as likely to get rid of the settlements too, and if it’s true that he’s planning on a national unity government with Kadima, and hands them as many ministries as they desire, then the votes for Likud may still end up being wasted as well.

  2. Lena
    Feb 15, 2009 @ 15:22:03

    “Religious issues: Avigdor Leiberman is in favor of loosening the laws governing civil marriages in Israel. For those of us who are Orthodox Jews, this is a serious problem, and it will open a Pandora’s box of issues in relation to the future status of children born to these couples.”

    So you’re telling me that, as an American born to a mother who converted with a Conservative rabbi, I should not be able to get married in Israel because my blood is not pure enough?

    Just checking.

  3. Bruce Epstein
    Feb 16, 2009 @ 07:03:18

    So, let’s see. It’s all the fault of those who voted for Ichud Leumi (IL) and HaBayit HaYehudi (HH), becuase we didn’t follow your advice and vote Bibi. Let’s analyze this:

    1. If all 7 seats that went to IL and HH had gone to the Likud, Bibi would still be in the same position – either a coalition with Lieberman, Shas, and Yahadut HaTorah, or a “national unity” government with Kadima.

    2. In the last election, IL and HH received 9 seats running together. This time they received two less seats. Where did they go? Either to Likud or Lieberman.

    3. Most of Lieberman’s increased support from the last election came from natural Likud supporters who were unhappy with Bibi’s campaign. Bibi was the one who wanted a coalition with Kadima, who pushed leftists like Meridor, Dayan, and Peled, and who went after Feiglin and the other rightists. This is what turned people off from the Likud and towards Lieberman.

    Once again, Bibi is the one to blame for his party’s poor showing. Do not blame people who did not approve of Bibi’s words or actions. We were not trying to “punish” Bibi, nor are we so insular that we can only vote for those who look or think as we do. We evaluated the parties’ positions and found that Bibi was leading the Likud in the wrong direction, and voted accordingly. Perhaps after a few more days of cooling down, you will realize that our votes are made for legitimate reasons, and that i is Bibi, not us, who caused Lieberman’s strong showing.

  4. westbankmama
    Feb 16, 2009 @ 10:59:40

    Tovya – “just as likely to give up settlements” – first of all, this is a big assumption. Two, when Arik Sharon wanted to push through the disengagement plan, he had a much harder time dealing with his own party members than he did with the small parties outside of the Likud (since all he had to do was ignore them.) That is why he needed to form Kadima in the first place – he was forced out by his own Likud members. Three, the reason why Bibi is even thinking of a unity government with Kadima is because he didn’t receive enough seats in order to reject it out of hand.

    Lena – the non-Orthodox conversion issue is a very sensitive one, and this small comment section is really not the place for a discussion. That said, I can understand your pain at the situation. The Orthodox Jews in Israel want to prevent other people from experiencing this same pain. If a woman undergoes a conversion not by an Orthodox Rabbi, she is not considered Jewish by Halacha, and her children are not considered Jewish. This is a fact that will not change, despite how painful it is to some people. When the Conservative and Reform movements relaxed their conversion standards, they created this situation, not the Orthodox. The Jews who fight to keep the Halacha as the standard in Israel are trying to prevent this situation from happening here.

    Bruce – 1. If the seven votes went to the Likud, Bibi wouldn’t have to give Kadima the time of day, and Leiberman’s bargaining power would be much less than now.

    2. Yes, some votes by the Dati Leumi camp went to Likud. I am complaining because not enough did.

    3. You do not know where Leiberman got his votes. Bibi’s “pushing off Feiglin” may have angered some in the Dati Leumi camp – but you are just strengthening my point. Childish anger at Bibi made voters not think practically. In addition there are many Dati Leumi voters who can’t stand Feiglin, and Bibi’s pushing him down the list was not a factor for them.

    In addition, if you are so afraid of Bibi’s positions, than voting for the Likud should have been the way to go – in order to strengthen the right wingers at the bottom of the list who could possibly have challenged him.

  5. Comrade Tovya
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 02:13:45

    I certainly understand where you are coming from, but I’m still not convinced that Bibi isn’t taking the nationalist camp for a ride either. Yes, the Likud of today is certainly more “right wing” than it was under Arik, but Bibi is too quick to buckle under pressure. He’s an American-lackey at heart. He wants America to blow him kisses, and he’ll never get that unless he’s willing to concede Judea and Samaria.

    The only way that we’ll ever get a pro-settlement leader is to vote in an observant G-d fearing Jew. Any leader who does not reserve his fear for Hashem alone cannot be trusted. And yes, I know that there are not enough votes to get such a man (like Feiglin or Katzeleh) in there at the helm… I’m just saying that we are selling ourselves short if we actually put any faith in anyone other than a nationalist observant Jew.

    The problem with the nationalist camp is not lack of faith, it’s the lack of unity.

    You’ve got Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit groveling at the bottom of the Likud (and getting kicked around at that)… and then there is Ichud Leumi whose votes were lost to the iffy Likud (ran by a secular appeaser)… the Shas is technically Zionist, but they are more concerned with funding for their yeshivos than they are about keeping the State of Israel whole.

    The problem is that there are plenty of nationalists, but everyone is splintered in their own seperate parties. There’s no TRUE unity within the nationalist camp.

    It’s almost as if we always settle for “good enough” instead of actually coming together and putting the will of Hashem first. He wants us to have all the things that each of the nationalist parties want, but for some reason we just refuse to get on the same page.

    I know that’s quite a rant, but I just think we’ve been selling ourselves short for too long. If we come together and vote as one (and for the actualy Zionist G-d fearing leaders) and we lose anyway, I know that G-d will not fail us because we did what was expected of us. But when we vote for Likud and get shafted yet again, who are we going to blame? Are we going to cry out to Hashem and lament over another expulsion? I mean afterall, we voted for the party that will potentially expel more Jews, so what right do we have to cry out to G-d?

    We cannot force the secular-left or the appeasement-centrists to fear G-d. But we who actually do fear Hashem have no excuse but to make the proper choices that show our reverence for Hashem. If we on the right actually do cast a vote with the humility of a G-d fearing people, then we’ll win out in the end because we’ve got the one thing that they’ll never have… the mighty arm of Hashem.

  6. Bruce Epstein
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 06:23:31

    To respond to your points:

    1. Why? Even with the 7 votes, Bibi would still need Lieberman to form a “right-wing” coalition, or Kadima for a “national unity” government.

    3. I am not talking about Dati Leumi voters, I am speaking about old time Likudniks – traditional, conservative voters.

    Also, it is wrong to think that more seats for Likud means the rightists farther down the list would have been strengthened. This is Bibi’s party, and he is in charge. Who do you think he will put in his cabinet, regardless of how many seats he has – Limnor Livnat, Silvan Shalom, Dan Meridor, and so on.

    As for your response to Tovya – Sharon formed Kadima after the disengagement. He had enough of the Likud and no longer wanted to deal with the rightists. He was not forced out. Also, Bibi said from the start of the campaign he wanted a unity government, no matter how many seats he got. Again, the shift of 7 seats from IL and HH to Likud does not change the overall math.

  7. Yankev
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 22:02:37

    West Bank Mama — you touched on this in connection with civil marriage, but there’s an even bigger problem. Lieberman wants the government to force the rabbis to water down the standards for conversion. There are two inevitable results, bot bad: 1. More and more families will RH”L experience pain similar to Lena’s, and 2) it will reinforce the misconception that Torah standards can be adjusted, ignored or distorted whenever convenient — and it is the goverment who will decide what is convenient.

    Granted that disagreements between dati le’umi and chareidi over conversion have reached new highs (or lows, if you prefer). But putting the standards in the hands of those who do not believe that Torah is mi Sinai is guaranteed to make the situtation deteriorate even further. No good can come from letting the government try to dictate halacha.

  8. Comrade Tovya
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 23:20:39

    I didn’t say anything about Arik being “forced out”, that statement didn’t come from me. Sharon left because he was an appeaser at heart, and the Likud continued to try and roadblock his attempts at surrender…

    That’s all I will say about the Sharon ordeal, because he died, and I do my best an try to be to critical of someone who’s no longer around to defend himself.

    As for Bibi, don’t throw him at me as if I am a supporter of his, because I’ve been against him since the late 90s when played the coward… he won’t get back my respect unless he proves otherwise.

    I have been endorsing Ichud Leumi since 2005, and I’ve never changed my stance since then. So just so that we are clear in any future discussions, I am NOT a Likud supporter, I am an observant, nationalist Jew… so I put my support behind the parties that display such principals.

  9. Batya
    Feb 19, 2009 @ 20:29:02

    First, Lena, it has nothing to do with “blood.” Don’t confuse the issue. If you converted to Conservative Judaism, that’s what you are. You’re a Conservative Jew, but you’re not a pure unmodified no adjective Jew. You joined a “sect” more than a religion. I have friends who started that way but since they wanted to be true Jews, they converted to Judaism, Torah loyal Judaism.

    now for mamma and the politics
    To make a government/coalition 61 MKs are needed. simple math
    Bibi is playing center, and he lost votes to Lieberman, since Lieberman played for the right.

    Bibi has made no promises for Judea and Samaria. He will do his best to make the US happy. That’s why I could never vote for him.

  10. Bruce Epstein
    Feb 24, 2009 @ 07:01:52


    My comments were in reply to West Bank Mama, and were not directed at you. I apologize for not being clearer on that. I am with you on this, especially as we watch Bibi run after Livni and Barak like a spurned suitor. Why doesn’t he stand up to the media pressure and say that Labor and Kadima have failed us and it is time for a new direction (which is what the election results show)? He can then form a right-wing government and truly begin to undo the damage of the last 15 years. That is what a true leader would do – not a weakling like Bibi.

  11. comradetovya
    Feb 25, 2009 @ 02:38:39

    My apologies Bruce–glad to know we are on the same page! 🙂

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