Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Netanyahu as Head of Likud

Benjamin Netanyahu, who was the worst prime minister Israel has had since Golda Meir, has won the chairmanship of Likud. He'll be the party's prime ministerial candidate, but his chances are slim - polls indicate Likud will win only around 13 seats (compared to 30+ for Kadima and 20+ for Labor). Sharon, despite his minor stroke and old age, will definitely head the next government.

Bibi's victory is not such a bad thing. He now vows he'll clean up the party and get rid of shady, criminal elements. He's no saint himself, but I believe he isn't corrupt, and definitely less corrupt than Ariel Sharon, Zahi Hanegbi and Amir Peretz. If he'll succeed, the 13 or so people who enter the next Knesset from Likud will be of higher quality. I'd rather have more right wing Knesset members than corrupt and stupid ones.

I'm almost certain the next Knesset will be better than the current one, which has an alarmingly high percentage of idiots and corrupt members.

Bibi isn't the right man to lead the country. Hopefully, though, he is the right man to clean up Likud, and thus, to some extent, the Knesset.

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Backwards Kadima

Ariel Sharon's new party, Kadima (Hebrew for "forward"), is turning out to be nothing but the Likud, with minor changes. It's just as corrupt (Sharon and his son Omri, and new recruit Zahi Hanegbi, among others), has the same political, economic and social agenda, and the most opportunistic former members of the Likud. A few opportunists from other parties, as well as very few good people (like Zipi Livni) were also added to the mix to make it look better.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz joined Kadima too, at the height of his bid for chairmanship of Likud (the party's candidate for Prime Minister). Not only was he lagging behind front-runner Bibi Netanyahu, a new poll even showed he was behind the right-wing radical Moshe Feiglin. So he decided he'd better join Sharon, even though he viciously attacked Sharon for leaving Likud . Ironically, some analysts say that the Feiglin data was false, and though he lagged behind Netanyahu in the first round by a huge margin, he had a good chance of defeating Netanyahu in a one-on-one second round. So Mofaz wasn't only opportunistic - he was also stupid.

Polls are showing Kadima will win around 40 of 120 seats in the Knesset. That seems horrible to me. Kadima is the party of corruption and stalemate with the Palestinians. Can't others see that? Why are Israelis so enchanted by Sharon? Hopefully, by March 28 voters will see this new party for what it is. I'm sure Sharon will win re-election and have the largest party in the Knesset, but I hope the margin isn't as huge as it is now. There needs to be a strong counterbalance both within the next coalition and in the opposition.

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