Monday, October 22, 2012

Why I'll be Voting "Likud"

Elections are coming up and it's time for Israelis to make up their minds as far as whom they'll be voting for. I've been back and forth: first with Herut (Michael Kleiner didn't get any mandates the year I voted for him), then the Moledet (a far-right party that joined the NU a few years ago), and now, I'm planning on voting for the Likud. I hope Moshe Feiglin moves up to a realistic position on the party list, but even if he doesn't, I believe Netanyahu has done a great job over the past four years.

In general, I believe that unless the Prime Minister completely fails in his responsibility to provide security for the citizens of Israel and maintain a stable economy, he should be given the opportunity to continue on to a second term. Netanyahu would have been granted this opportunity in 2000 had it not for Clinton's interference in Israel's internal affairs, and his reneging on promises made at Wye.

There has been an interesting development in the past few days. The NU, Mafdal, and Ha'bayit Ha'yehudi (The Jewish Home) have formed a unity party that appears poised to gain at least 8-9 Knesset seats. I won't be surprised if they "overachieve" and amass 10-11 seats.

I like the fact that Michael Ben-Ari was left on the outside looking in, but it seems regretful that Arye Eldad has been left behind as well. The two hard-liners were prevented from joining the new party in order to maintain a bit of sanity, but I feel that Eldad would have added a secular Zionist presence that may be missed. I'd consider voting for the new party if it weren't for the Likud and the need for a strong government. I believe it will be an integral player in the next coalition.

Netanyahu has been great as far as preventing another war. His recent Facebook update correctly eluded to the fact that Bibi has been strong-handed in preventing terror, thus giving the Arab world a strong incentive to "stay away" from Israel. The army has continued air raids in Gaza in response to pretty much every rocket attack on Israeli soil, thus not allowing Hamas to gain a strong footing.

Hamas, who unoficially won the elections in the West Bank some-two years ago, appears stronger than Fatah and its medly of corrupt "leaders" (these "leaders" have led their people from one crisis to another while trying to undermine Israeli authority), but has been yet unable to muster up the international support it needs to take over as the major player in the West Bank.

The internal discord amongst Palestinian terrorist factions is, to a large degree, the product of Israeli foreign policy. We've been able to avert a major war and limit Palestinian terrorism thanks to a strong government. I hope the Likud gains more seats in the Knesset in the upcoming elections. Bibi's got my vote! Maybe we can even avoid including Kadima and/or Labor in the coalition.

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