Without the Arab citizens there is no ‘left-wing bloc’ in Israeli politics. The only problem? The inclusion of Arabs was what led the Right to violently bring down the Left in the first place.
By Lev Grinberg
Since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, there have been no political blocs in Israel. No Left and no Right — only survival combinations. Therefore, all the talk of the “size of blocs” only distorts the depressing reality in Israeli politics, wherein the real issues are barely discussed.
The reason there have been no blocs since 1995 is simple: the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin was an attack on the very existence of a “left-wing bloc” consisting of Labor, Meretz and the Arab parties. The message was well understood, and no such cooperation exists any longer. Since the assassination, all the Jewish parties have had little problem sitting alongside one another in the coalition: Meretz sat with the National Religious Party in 1999; and the other coalitions included Yesh Atid, Kadima and Labor sitting with Likud, Liberman and the Jewish Home. Labor not only sat alongside Likud in Ariel Sharon’s government (in 2001 and in 2004), but also under Netanyahu’s in 2009. The truth is that Livni and Herzog sat in Netanyahu’s government until they were kicked out, Herzog by Ehud Barak, and Livni by Netanyahu himself. Instead of an ideological split between the Right and the Left, the main gaps today are between the parties that are willing to sit in any government.
The “right and left” blocs are the ones that, in the past, allowed for the biggest changes in Israeli politics, such as Likud’s ascension to power in 1977, or Labor’s victory in 1992. Likud and Labor continue to speak of blocs today in order to preserve their status as a “cartel” whose leaders are the only candidates to become prime minister. This, despite the fact that the two have been downgraded to “third party” status in recent years (in 2006, when Likud received 12 Knesset seats, and in 2009 and 2013 when Labor received 13 and 15, respectively).
In the absence of ideological blocs, no major changes should be expected. Rather, we should expect new “survival combinations.” Instead of changes in foreign or domestic policy, the new government will present a new facade for external consumption. Significant changes take place only in the wake of serious ideological shifts that define...Read More