Saturday, February 2, 2013

I voted Labour in Israel's 2013 election and felt like a fool.

I voted Labour in the last Israeli elections, but I did so with a certain amount of dread. In 2009 I voted Labour and half the 13 members of Knesset subsequently decamped to a new party and sat in Netanyahu's government. You might say that half my ballot went to the Likud and half to Labour.  Not what I intended.
Most outrageously, the group that left included the party chairman, Ehud Barak.
I no longer remember who I voted for in 2006, but it may well have been Labour.  The party took 19 seats, led by the Sephardi union organizer Amir Peretz, who inspired hope that Labour would focus on social issues. Unfortunately he was offered the Defence Ministry by Olmert and his greed for power led him to take an office for which he was manifestly unsuited, followed by entry into a war for which he lacked appropriate experience. That and a photo of him looking through binoculars which still had their lens covers on, finished his career. Peretz also chose to leave the party, joining (former Kadimah leader) Tzippi Livni's new party, which got six seats.
Peretz won the leadership after a contest with temporary party leader Shimon Peres, who is notorious in Israel for losing elections which he should have won. Following his defeat, Peres left the party, along with a number of other MKs, joining Ariel Sharon's new party Kadima.
In 2003 I was out of the country.  Labour was led by Amram Mitzna who won 19 seats.  Mitzna also joined Livni's party last year. So two former Labour leaders are now in the Knesset with Livni.
Before Mitzna, the party leader was Binyamin Ben Eliezer, who is still in the party.  In other words, none of the last four leaders of the labour party  (before the current leader, Shelli Yehimovitz) are still members of the  party. Not only that, if you voted labour in the last 3 elections, some percentage of the MKs you helped elect ended up in different, more right-wing parties.
Under the circumstances I felt like a chump voting for Labour.

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