Thursday, September 29, 2005

Column: A Disgrace and a Disaster

Ariel Sharon’s victory in the Likud Central Committee vote was a national disgrace and a national disaster. Those are the words of Prof. Paul Eidelberg and Prof. Israel Hanukoglu of Yamin Yisrael and may I say that I wholeheartedly agree.

Here is their statement in full:

"The Likud Central Committee vote once again confirms our claim that this
party is so corrupt that there is no hope of salvaging it! Yesterday the Likud extended the mandate of Ariel Sharon despite his corruption; despite his betrayal of the Likud party platform; despite his betrayal of the voters in the January 2003 election;
despite his rejection of the Central Committee vote against his "Disengagement Plan" and despite the deadly and vivid consequences of that Plan—the transformation of Gaza into the largest terrorist base in the world!

With this vote of its Central Committee it is now clear that the Likud is only interested in maintaining its hold on power at any price. The Likud has no attachment to any ideology.

The Likud is no longer a party that respects its own principles, its campaign promises, or even its own decisions—for example, when it decided against bringing the Labor Party into the government. The Likud should no longer be considered a party in the so-called National Camp, since it is pursuing a policy of the extreme left, indeed, of Israel's enemies.

The Likud and Mr. Sharon surely deserve the congratulations of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, al-Qaeda … and the American State Department.

Therefore, anyone within the Likud—including the so-called Jewish Leadership faction, Manhigut Yehudit—that supports this party is doing a great disservice to our nation.”

Ex-minister Avigdor Lieberman, of Yisrael Beiteinu, know for his outspokenness, echoed what the professors had to say when asked to explain how it occurred that the same Likud Central Committee that was 'trampled upon by Sharon several times of late,' voted to keep him in power:

'What interests them is not ideology, not Judea and Samaria, not loyalty to principles, but only power. The delegates come with demands upon the Prime Minister and the ministers, and they apparently get something in return... These delegates were drafted not because of their loyalty to ideology; in this Central Committee, there is no room for a nationalist personality. That chapter in Likud history is now over. What we have to do is convince the right-wing public that they have to make a switch in their minds, realize that the Likud is now Meretz, and vote for a true right-wing party. We stand enforced in our judgment that a National Jewish Party committed to electoral reform and institutional change is essential to return Israel to a path of sanity."

These responses, normal and sensible as they seem to me, were barely audible following the fiasco. I thought to myself, “Better check the pulse of the nation. How can it be that this vote would be accepted so passively following all that has happened?”

I asked Prof Eidelberg what he thought. I said,” I have been searching the internet for sites that posted your Likud Party statement. With the exception of the Freeman Center, and my blog, I found it nowhere. Is everyone so broken that they have stopped caring or are they just too numb to think? What's going on here? Are Likud and Sharon to get off the hook so easily?”

Professor Eidelberg responded, “There is a great deal of spiritual fatigue, and surely the tragedy of Gush Katif has demoralized many Jews. But like some of my colleagues, I thank God that I never learned how to quit. ;Besides, we Jews were born not to live, but to fight.”

The question remains for all of us, whether we are in Israel or New York, as to whether we have the will to fight. I see the dearth of reaction to the vote in the Likud Central Committee as almost a death knell. Without a real change in leadership that will deliver what it promises in terms of security, fighting terrorism and ending territorial rewards for terror, I am not only concerned that Israel will continue on its insane march towards assisted national suicide – a march justified by delusional utopian dreams of a new middle east – but I am concerned that the national spirit that has been so battered will roll over and die.

This is a possibility that should concern all Jews whether they are religious or not and whether they embrace Zionism or not. We need to look back at our history over the last 2,000 years, all the enemies that have risen against us and continue to rise against us and ask ourselves some very serious questions about our future as a people.

I say this not to discourage or to frighten – the situation is discouraging and frightening enough – but to awaken in us heartfelt prayers for salvation during the High Holy Days. As we say in our daily prayers, “Look, please, upon our affliction and defend our cause.”


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