Monday, November 21, 2005

Thoughts on Sharon's surprise political move

At first I was shocked to learn that Ariel Sharon was leaving the Likud to create a centrist party. But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense and seems less surprising.

Sharon is a pragmatist. The Likud, or at least significant parts of it, are extremely ideological. Every time Sharon tried to make what he believed were pragmatic—perhaps tactical—political moves vis-à-vis the Palestinians, he ran into objections from his own party. He was somewhat constrained.

I think Sharon is also gambling on the middle Israel dream of finally creating a powerful centrist block or political party that will not be beholden to special interests from the right or left. Most Israelis are generally in the middle, but for numerous reasons the typical centrist Israeli voter has had to choose between Labor (center-left) or Likud (center-right), the two largest and most influential parties. Whether Likud or Labor was dominant in the Knesset, both had to often rely on smaller ideological parties in order to maintain a Knesset majority. The result was that the smaller parties were able to exert far too much influence, because they could always threaten to pullout of the government and screw everything up if their demands were not met.

I’m hoping that Sharon’s gamble will work. I have been wishing for years for a pragmatic centrist Israeli government that could act freely with very little constraints from radical fringe parties or the ultra-orthodox. Small parties that represent the interests of the settlers should not be able to determine final status negotiations or tactics regarding the Palestinians, especially because they represent a small segment of the Israeli population. Likewise, starry-eyed leftist parties shouldn’t be able drag Israel headlong into ill-thought out peace agreements.

Let pragmatic middle Israel—the majority of the population by far—enjoy the political influence they deserve. Mazal tov, Sharon!


Blogger A Christian Prophet said...

Over on The Christian Prophet blog the Holy Spirit says Likud will still be a strong influence, but overall the situation will be weaker. Strangely, maybe as a teaching device, it is said that Jews might someday prefer living in Iraq.

6:02 PM  
Blogger semite1973 said...


5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, mate, but as you know I think Sharon has disgraced Israel by treating it like his own personal banana republic. His behaviour re: Gaza would be unthinkable from the leader of any mature democracy, eg a US President or UK Prime Minister.

Sharon sold out his own supporters bigstyle, winning the last election on an anti-withdrawal platform, then adopting the Left's agenda and kissing Condi's ass.



6:41 AM  

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