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Voting My Conscience in Israel: Tet, The Least Offensive of All the Choices

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Today the country goes to the polls and is voting for parliament, the Knesset, and to encourage voting, it is a public holiday.

There is a Dutch website called Electoral Compass IL that allows the average Joe to place his own views with respect to those political parties running in the election here. I took it just for the heck of it — I know which party I'm voting for. But I wanted to see if my views tallied with those of the political party I chose.

It would be an interesting experience for anyone who does not live here who feels he has opinions as to how this country should run. Your views will sit in a circle (or oval) within a square compass with the left wing on the left, the right wing on the right, the hawkish view on the top and the dovish view on the bottom. I'm at the top, a hawk, with left-centrist views economically. At least so says this compass. I suspect that the majority of you, if you decide to take the survey attached to the Electoral Compass, will find yourselves near the bottom, probably near the center economically, with a lot of you towards the right.

In any event, the symbols for the political parties are all there with their own position on this compass. If you click on the parties, you'll get a description of their views lined up against the survey questions asked, and how they look at the survey question and, if you took the survey yourself, how you looked at it.

In Israel, when you vote for parliament, you vote only for a party. Each party has a Hebrew letter – or series of Hebrew letters – on a small sheet of paper, a pétek, that is deposited in an envelope which is then deposited in a box. The number of seats the party gets is determined by the percentage of the vote it receives in toto. A political party, in order to be seated in parliament, has to receive at least 2½% of the votes cast. I'm voting for ha'iHúd ha'leumí, the National Union Party, whose symbol is the Hebrew letter ט – "tet". For me, it is the least offensive of all the choices.

The National Union describes itself as being "strong on Zionism." Well, you've seen me write this here before. I believe that Zionism is a dead letter in Israel. But these guys are a bit behind the learning curve in terms of phraseology. That's okay. It is the substance of what they believe in that is getting my vote. They believe, as do I, in a single Jewish state stretching from the Jordan to the sea, including Gaza. They believe in a Jewish leadership for the nation, and that publicly the Sabbath and Jewish Law should be observed. For example, if someone wants to blast his TV during the Sabbath in his own home, for example, that's his own business — this is not a theocracy being advocated.

The National Union represents that portion of this country's population that was against the Oslo Accords, and who warned of the disasters that would follow in the wake of withdrawal from south Lebanon and from expelling fellow Jews who lived in Gush Qatif in Gaza. We were right and the traitors who inflicted all these things upon us were wrong — and they do not have the either the guts or integrity to admit it.

For this reason, I will not vote for Labor, or Méretz (which is the party closest to my economic orientation), or any of the religious parties. When the hour of testing came, all the religious parties failed the test, preferring money or power over a path of righteousness.

The polls opened at 07:00 this morning (opening at 08:00 where I live) and will close at 22:00 this evening (21:00 out where I live). The soldiers on duty have already voted.

It is likely that Binyamin Netanyahu's Likúd Party will get the most seats and that he will be invited to form a government. He keeps talking of a national unity government, as well of a second Arab state in what was Mandate Palestine and all of the political parties mentioned below, Labor (Ehud Barak), Kadíma (Tzipora Livni) and Yisraél Beiténu (Avigdor Lieberman), fundamentally agree on this. All of them disgust me. So, I'll vote my conscience and thank G-d there is someone I can vote for. I'll be putting the pétek marked "ט" in the envelope and I'll pray that many of my fellow Jews here will do the same when they vote.

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About Ruvy

Hi!! Thanks for coming to my article! I was raised in Brooklyn, was graduated from the City University of New York in 1978 with a BA in political science and public administration there. I lived in Minnesota for a number of years. There I managed restaurants and wrote stories. We moved with our children family to Israel where we now reside. My work can be found at Ruvy's Roost, Jewish Indy,, and on Facebook under my full name, Reuven Kossover
  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    “…and that publicly the Sabbath and Jewish Law should be observed. For example, if someone wants to blast his TV during the Sabbath in his own home, for example, that’s his own business.”

    Except that he wouldn’t be able to, because presumably public observance of the Sabbath would mean TV stations would be closed… n’est-ce pas?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Yeah, do enlighten us, Ruvy, on that inconvenient little fact.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Except that he wouldn’t be able to, because presumably public observance of the Sabbath would mean TV stations would be closed… n’est-ce pas?

    In Israel, you can pick up TV from around the world. Under Sabbath closing laws, Israel Broadcasting and other Israeli outlets would shut down (or run a silent station that would come to life in the case of war) – but the BBC, Sky News, CNN, Faux News, al-Jazeera and other foreign stations would still be broadcasting.

    In essence, the foreigners with strong ties to outside of the country – or immigrants who understand foreign languages like English, Russian or French, could continue to blast their TV’s away on G-d’s Sabbath. Those who were primarily Hebrew speakers would acually have less choice in the matter.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ah, I was forgetting about cable and satellite. But surely even there the cable companies would have to be closed? So unless you have your own decoder, you still wouldn’t be able to view the satellite signal.

    I guess I just thought you’d picked a bad example. Your point, I suppose, was that if someone wants to use the Sabbath to put up shelves and fit baseboards, the religious police isn’t going to barge in and confiscate his Black & Decker…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    You know, of course, the line in the major Western papers (BBC et al) – that the result of these elections will prove detrimental to “the peace process.”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    It may not be Netanyahu after all. The BBC is picking up a vibe that the heavy rain today is helping Kadima. Not sure how they translate that into a victory for Livni – unless it’s the grouchy, conservative, Likud-supporting pensioners who can’t get out to vote because of the bad weather? Ah well, we’ll know in a few hours if they’re right.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “the grouchy, conservative, Likud-supporting pensioners”

    The equivalent of our AARP’s illustrious membership?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Don’t you have absentee ballots for the old farts?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Here is one, positive take on today’s events, but you’ll have to read it to the end:

    Israel Election: Politics of Paralysis.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD,

    Your point, I suppose, was that if someone wants to use the Sabbath to put up shelves and fit baseboards, the religious police isn’t going to barge in and confiscate his Black & Decker…

    What religious police? This is not Iran or Saudi Arabia. I said public observance of Jewish law, not private observance. Public observance of the Sabbath means no restaurants (or bars), cinemas or theaters open on the Sabbath, no soccer matches, no public entertainment that requires the exchange of money. Enforcing all that would be quite enough. There is no need to go bursting into an apartment to fine someone for what he does privately.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    the result of these elections will prove detrimental to “the peace process.”

    What “peace process”? They “process” peace around here the way Armour Foods processes pork into Spam (thanks, Uncle Jay).

    In under an hour, the news stations here will start to release the results of exit polls. Then we’ll see what the numbers show. In the mean time, I can wait.

    Just for the record, the Likúd is as much a right-wing political party as Madonna is a virgin and a lot of the pensioners that I know will be voting National Union.

    In fact, if you go to that compass thingy I referred you all to in the article and fill in the survey, you’ll see that Kadíma is more right-wing socioeconomically than Likúd is.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    It wasn’t so when I was there in the sixties. Likud, if I remember correctly, was being compared to a Fascist party.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Golda Meir scored an incalculable strategic victory by defeating Arab armies and occupying Arab territories in the 1967 war.

    The idiots at TIME Magazine were always somewhat anti-Israel in their coverage and with this fuzzy knowledge of history – it was Levi Eshkol at the head of the regime in 1967, not Golda Meir – I’d be hesitant to rely on anything they predict.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    They even had a Communist party back then.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Ben Gurion was at the helm then; forgot the name of the one who headed Likud.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Did they forget Moshe Dayan?

  • Baronius

    I took the survey, as best as I understood it. Translating the subtleties of politics can be a nightmare, even when political parties do what they claim to stand for, and don’t shift over time. On the economic and defense graph, I’m a match for Likud. With the graphs representing religion, I was at the midpoint between Likud and National Unity.

    Considering that Ruvy and I don’t agree on anything economic, it’s telling that we would maybe have voted the same if I were an Israeli. Whatever happens, Ruvy, I hope you end up with enough hawks.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    It wasn’t so when I was there in the sixties. Likud, if I remember correctly, was being compared to a Fascist party.

    Roger, there was no Likud in the 1960’s. What there was was called Ma’arákh Herút v’Liberalím a coalition of the Herút and Liberal Parties in Israel. At the time, this coalition was far to the right of the various Labor parties, all of which followed one variety of socialism or another.

    But a lot of this has changed in the last forty years. The Likúd attempts to be a centrist party and was responsible for the expulsion of Jews from Gush Qatif – an act which led to the recent military campaign in Gaza, as well as the daily Qassam bombardment which we are forced to bear up under. There is only one Labor party now – and it has rejected socialism and syndicalism entirely. Israel is a wild-west capitalist state with a heavy overlay of socialist-minded bureaucracy – and none of the benefits.

    And for the record, no political party in Israel ever espoused anything like Fascism, Roger.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Right, it was Herut. But it was being compared in the popular mind (by some) to it. Forgot the name of the figurehead of that party, Major something.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Baronius,

    I’m glad you took the survey. It gives you a taste of the kinds of questions Israelis face. They are very different from the ones that Americans do. If you were magically transmuted into an Israeli context, you probably would be more conservative than I in terms of economics, and just as hawkish.

    There is a nasty electrical storm going on right now. I suspect that Kadíma has done well and we are getting a Divine Opinion on the matter. But in either event, I need to disconnect my modem for a bit to make sure that none of the lighting kills this computer. So it’s ta-ta for now.

  • Baronius

    Yeah, Ruvy, context is important. My views on the U.S. Supreme Court don’t really guide me to a specific answer about the Israeli court system. It’s like when one of our British BC writers talks about the welfare state, I can only speculate about what he means. (Not to complain about overseas articles. I love’em. I love women too, and I don’t really understand them either.)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Ruvy @ #10: I got your point, and I was speaking hypothetically.

    Nice pun in the title, BTW. No-one else seems to have picked up on it so far.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Here’s my position, Ruvy, but I admit I don’t know some issues, in particular – the strategic importance of some of the areas/neighborhoods included in the survey. A very neat thing, by the way, not the profile of those running for office, except Mr. Hawk himself:

    survey.

  • Cannonshop

    Really sick thing, Ruvy, I took your survey. I’m not AS far to the right as I thought I’d be.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I tried to take the survey, but it keeps crashing my browser. I’ll have another go tonight when I get home.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    You should definitely try it. It’s fun. But the result won’t be most accurate unless you’re totally familiar with the strategic significance of some of the Israeli territories/neighborhoods, or the politicians running for office. Otherwise, it’s very clever.

  • zingzing

    and i’m not as far to the left as i thought i’d be. only the meretz party shows up in my field, but they are still very dove/left of me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    same here, zing.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger, the kind editor who got this article out as fast as she did warned me on how that chart might or might not work. It didn’t show your position. If you could just sorta describe where on the chart you were, I’ll be able to figure it out.

    To all the rest of you who took this survey, thank you. I wanted you to see the world as it is presented to me…. As Baronius pointed out, context is very important. In the Israeli political system, the Knesset is the sovereign and the other branches of government are inferior to it. So, when I answered the questions on the High Court of Justice, my answers reflected the way the system is supposed to work – and the way it doesn’t. The executive powers in the Israeli government are based on the British system of royal prerogatives (which DD or Stan Denham can explain better than I ever could) rather than any American system of enumerated powers, and there is no constitution here. So the context is very different from what the Joe Sixpack from Hoboken is used to. My nest post will deal with election results.

    By the way, Moshe Dayan was the Defense Minister (or was it IDF Chief of Staff?) in the national unity government of Levi Eshkol who decided to allow the Waqf to control the Temple Mount, and who blew up the bridges on the Jordan River, preventing Arabs from leaving Judea and Samaria. IN 1973, he didn’t want Sharon to attack Egyptian lines over the Suez (the move that effectively defeated the Egyptians). The less he is remembered the better.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    This chart from Arutz Sheva tracks Israel’s Channel 2 exit poll. As you can see, the parties are grouped in two large groups – Nationalist/Religious and Leftist. The chart I’m looking at shows the Nationalist/Religious parties with a total of 64 seats and the Left-wing Bloc with 56 seats.

    The Channel One (Voice of Israel) exit poll divides up the parties differently. They have a large group that is for “territorial compromise”. In this group is Kadima (30), Likud (28), Yisrael Beitenu (14), Labor (13), Meretz (5) and three Arab parties (9). Then there is the group I support, the “pro-Land of Israel” with two parties, National Union (3), and Jewish Home (4). Finally there are two (Jewish) religious parties, SHAS (S’faradí Jews)(9), and United Torah Judaism (Hareidi) (5).

    These numbers are probably outdated, but go to the site (linked to above), for up-to-date numbers of mandates in parliament.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    At this site you can pick up live results from Arutz Sheva TV with Yishai Fleisher. I’ll look up other sites as the night goes on….

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Here it is, Ruvy (remember the qualifications):

    Labor
    You have a substantive agreement of 76%
    Security: 78%
    Socioeconomic: 75%
    Religion: 75%
    Meretz
    You have a substantive agreement of 73%
    Security: 78%
    Socioeconomic: 67%
    Religion: 85%
    Ra’am-Ta’al
    You have a substantive agreement of 73%
    Security: 72%
    Socioeconomic: 73%
    Religion: 75%
    Hadash
    You have a substantive agreement of 73%
    Security: 78%
    Socioeconomic: 67%
    Religion: 85%
    Kadima
    You have a substantive agreement of 69%
    Security: 69%
    Socioeconomic: 65%
    Religion: 80%
    Balad
    You have a substantive agreement of 65%
    Security: 75%
    Socioeconomic: 62%
    Religion: 55%
    Likud
    You have a substantive agreement of 62%
    Security: 56%
    Socioeconomic: 67%
    Religion: 60%
    The Green Movement – Meimad
    You have a substantive agreement of 61%
    Security: 50%
    Socioeconomic: 72%
    Religion: 50%
    Gil (Pensioners)
    You have a substantive agreement of 60%
    Security: 61%
    Socioeconomic: 72%
    Religion: 25%
    Torah Judaism
    You have a substantive agreement of 55%
    Security: 69%
    Socioeconomic: 62%
    Religion: 10%
    Israel Beiteinu
    You have a substantive agreement of 54%
    Security: 53%
    Socioeconomic: 50%
    Religion: 70%
    Habait Hayehudi – Mafdal
    You have a substantive agreement of 53%
    Security: 39%
    Socioeconomic: 73%
    Religion: 15%
    Greens
    You have a substantive agreement of 52%
    Security: 42%
    Socioeconomic: 52%
    Religion: 70%
    Shas
    You have a substantive agreement of 47%
    Security: 42%
    Socioeconomic: 63%
    Religion: 10%
    Haichud Haleumi (National Unity)
    You have a substantive agreement of 46%
    Security: 36%
    Socioeconomic: 58%
    Religion: 25%

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Ruvy,

    I don’t know about the election results, but here’s something else to cheer about – an Israeli supermodel just made Sports Illustrated. She’s gorgeous enough to go there and face suicide bombers.

    Bar Refaeli.

    I hope you’re not offended.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Most of the news as it appears to have broken out, was clear by the time I went to bed last night, again disconnecting the modem in the face of a nasty electric storm.

    With 99% of the vote cast yesterday counted, Kadima got 28 mandates in the eighteenth Knesset, Likud, 27, Yisrael Beitenu, 14, Labor, 13, SHAS, 11, United Torah Judaism, 5, National Union, 4, Jewish Home, 3, Meretz, 3, and the various Arab parties got a combined total of 12.

    But the full vote isn’t really counted yet. The soldiers’ vote may tilt the results towards Likud. From the story in Arutz Sheva:

    Voters gave Kadima 28 mandates in the next Knesset, one more than Likud, with almost all of Tuesday’s ballots counted but not including votes of diplomats and soldiers, whose votes will be counted on Wednesday and Thursday. Their ballots are equal to five mandates……The votes of the armed forces usually tilt to the nationalist and religious parties, and are likely to create at least a tie and may even put Likud in the lead. The votes of diplomats overseas and soldiers changed the results in the last election by taking one Knesset seat away from Kadima. The number of Arab MKs also will likely be reduced after the soldiers’ ballots are counted.

    So the real result will not be clear until Thursday or Friday. In order to form a “national unity” government such as originally proposed by Binyamin Netanyahu, one would need the mandates of the top four parties combined, or 82 mandates, as presently counted. This number is likely to increase by Friday, but it seems unlikely that Netanyahu will sit happily in a cabinet where Tzipi Livni has nearly equal power. So, the criminal, Ehud Olmert, will remain “crime minister” until a government is formed. This may take a while….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger,

    I enjoyed the swimsuits and the girls. Bar Rafaeli can strut her stuff all she wants. She won’t be struttin’ it for me, so it’s not much of a concern.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD,

    Nice pun in the title, BTW. No-one else seems to have picked up on it so far.

    Thanks! I’m surprised Cannonshop didn’t catch it, or if he did, at least mention it. Did you ever get to take that survey when you got home, by the way? I’m curious to see where on the chart you would wind up. Dave, who I appeared to have scooped on this story, has been awful quiet here….

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Alas, Ruvy, it’s going to have to be tonight. Last evening was a bit frantic, with Mrs Dreadful becoming an aunt for the first time.

    I’m curious to see my results too. Hopefully the site won’t have taken the survey down already.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD, As of now, (08:45 PST) the Electoral Compass site is still up and running. I can’t say what the case will be in 10 hours or so….

  • The Obnoxious American

    As info, I landed in the upper right quad, right in the middle of likud, national unity and Beitienu. What does that mean?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    It means you think like me on security, OA. You should be here, not in the States, figuring out how to use those guns of yours to protect your fellow Jews against the traitorous regime in J-lem. We disagree on economics some, but where is it written in the Torah that Jews should agree with each other?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Well, Ruvy, the test worked on my home computer without any bad things happening. The results probably tell you more than they tell me, but here they are.

    Here’s how my ‘views’ aligned with those of the various parties:

    Labor
    You have a substantive agreement of 75%
    Security: 73%
    Socioeconomic: 75%
    Religion: 80%
    Meretz
    You have a substantive agreement of 71%
    Security: 55%
    Socioeconomic: 79%
    Religion: 80%
    Hadash
    You have a substantive agreement of 69%
    Security: 55%
    Socioeconomic: 75%
    Religion: 80%
    Ra’am-Ta’al
    You have a substantive agreement of 67%
    Security: 50%
    Socioeconomic: 79%
    Religion: 70%
    Kadima
    You have a substantive agreement of 66%
    Security: 75%
    Socioeconomic: 57%
    Religion: 75%
    Balad
    You have a substantive agreement of 64%
    Security: 53%
    Socioeconomic: 70%
    Religion: 70%
    Likud
    You have a substantive agreement of 63%
    Security: 73%
    Socioeconomic: 52%
    Religion: 75%
    Israel Beiteinu
    You have a substantive agreement of 60%
    Security: 70%
    Socioeconomic: 45%
    Religion: 85%
    The Green Movement – Meimad
    You have a substantive agreement of 58%
    Security: 38%
    Socioeconomic: 70%
    Religion: 65%
    Gil (Pensioners)
    You have a substantive agreement of 53%
    Security: 63%
    Socioeconomic: 54%
    Religion: 30%
    Shas
    You have a substantive agreement of 52%
    Security: 58%
    Socioeconomic: 57%
    Religion: 25%
    Haichud Haleumi (National Unity)
    You have a substantive agreement of 50%
    Security: 58%
    Socioeconomic: 48%
    Religion: 40%
    Torah Judaism
    You have a substantive agreement of 50%
    Security: 55%
    Socioeconomic: 55%
    Religion: 25%
    Habait Hayehudi – Mafdal
    You have a substantive agreement of 48%
    Security: 50%
    Socioeconomic: 54%
    Religion: 30%
    Greens
    You have a substantive agreement of 47%
    Security: 35%
    Socioeconomic: 45%
    Religion: 75%

    I was surprised that I ended up idealistically furthest from the Greens. On most other ‘political compass’ quizzes I’ve taken, I end up pretty close to them. Is the Israeli Green Party really so different from those in other countries – or is Israel’s special situation skewing my results here? Hmm…

    On the specific issues, on ‘security-socioeconomic’ I landed in the upper left quadrant, about halfway across and very close to the center line. The nearest party logo was that of Gil (The Pensioners’ Party). Lovely…!

    On ‘religion-socioeconomic’ I was smack in the middle of the bottom left quadrant, with Labor my closest party match, ever so slightly more so than Gil.

    And on ‘religion-security’ I was in the bottom right quadrant, about halfway down and close to the center line again. Party match: Gil again (are they trying to tell me something?).

    I don’t know how they figure these things out because Gil is nowhere near the top of my ‘substantive agreement’ list!

    Interested to see your analysis, Ruve…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Hey, Doc. Check mine too – up the thread. It’s almost identical.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Great… now we’ll have H&C accusing us of being the same person again!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    What else is new. But then again, H&C at least is straightforward. He doesn’t mince words. I prefer that to being sneaky.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD, Roger,

    Interested to see your analysis, Ruve…

    It’s been thirty years since I’ve done this kind of analysis (since I was in college) but I’ll give it a shot. Please do not be offended by what I say here. I don’t mince words either. But, it is not my intent to offend at all, merely to be clear and to enlighten if I can.

    First, some background for the two of you. Tis background is important to understand.

    There are two fundamental identities among Jews in Israel – Jewish and Israeli. The Jewish identity was molded in exile, and the Israeli identity is an artificial construct, kind of like what the “new Soviet man” was supposed to be seven decades ago. The disagreements between the two identities form the basis for the Kulturkampf that afflicts this nation.

    The Jewish identity is linked to the nationalists here. The Israeli identity is linked more to Labor and Méretz, which is really the descendant of Mapá”m, the far left socialists of the pre-state and early state years.

    The nationalists want a Jewish state. The best way for you to understand what this really means is to understand what America and Britain were seven to nine decades ago – Christian countries with fundamentally Christian norms. If you look back you’ll remember that Sunday was a day off, and the work week ran from Monday through Saturday. So a Jewish state is one where Jewish law is publicly kept and where Jewish norms – a work week running from Sunday through early Friday – is the norm. Eight or nine decades ago, Christmas and Easter were public holidays (with Good Friday being off in Catholic countries) in Christian countries. Similarly, in a Jewish state, Jewish holidays are public holidays.

    The Israeli identity seeks a European state which is anti-clerical – like Italy or the Netherlands. The Israeli identity de-links Judaism from being Israeli – and seeks a kind of Canaanite identity that is a throwback to the days before the Children of Israel conquered this country. So, for these folks, being Israeli is being a Hebrew-speaking European, and no more. Indeed, Uri Avneri, in his 1970 book “Israel Without Zionism” (yes, I do read what the opposition proposes!) advocated just such a concept by name. Thus, did he seek to get acceptance for Israel in the Middle East. In spite of the adoption of many of his ideas by Israel’s ruling elites, Arabs still scream mawt ‘al yahúd! – death to the Jews! So, in reality, whether I like it or not, it is still “us or them” with respect to the Arabs. Avneri and his fans seek a peace based on the delusion of Arab acceptance of Jews. So, in my eyes, they are no better than ghetto Jews begging their neighbors to like them.

    Now, let’s see where time factors into all this. Forty years ago, the socialists and the nationalists in Israel had the same fundamental views on security – when they looked at the Arabs, they said it was a matter of “us or them”. Sometime in the 1980’s the socialists ditched socialism – hence retaining the “Israeli” construct identity without the left-wing ideological slant – and they decided to try to build a vote base with the Arabs and sue for peace, hoping to get some kind of a deal. This meant stabbing the settlement movement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in the back. And they were happy to do this, and still are. For them, separation from the Arabs – not having to deal with them at all – is the ideological goal.

    The problem is that greed and a sense of entitlement makes them hire cheap Arab labor to do the shit work they would rather not do. Foreign labor from Africa and Eastern Europe has replaced Arab labor to some degree, but the idea of “Arab work” – cleaning stairs, floors and toilets and other hard demanding tasks that generally pay little – remains. When a man demands NIS 6,000 a month from an employer, often the response is “I can get three Arabs for that kind of money!”

    This attitude is rampant in both the Jewish and Israeli sectors, but in Judea and Samaria, Arabs are generally no longer hired (except in cities like Ariel) – they pose too much of a real security risk.

    Now, keeping the above in mind, let’s look at your attitudes and how they fit on the spectrum of things. Both of you are basically anti-clerical, de-linking any religious belief from national identity. So you agree with Labor, Meretz and Kadima on religious issues. That may be appropriate to a European country, but it is the opposite of what a Jewish identity for Israel seeks. Also note, you agree with Yisrael Beitenu on religion. The Russian immigrants who support this party are usually anti-clerical, with a number of the Russian speaking youngsters joining Israeli neo-Nazi (no, that is not a typing error) groups who beat up Jews.

    Both of you are dovish, so you tend to agree with Labor on security issues. Likud is also a dovish party these days, in spite of the growling pseudo-nationalism of Binyamin Netanyahu. This is why you both tend to agree with Likud on security. The poll tells you the truth gentlemen, and backs me up. The mass media lies to you. The reason you find yourself in agreement with the Pensioners Party, DD, is that they are basically a spinoff of Labor. So, you are not suffering from senior moments or early old age.

    The environmental issues may require a more thorough understanding of Israeli politics and how they work, and the level of importance of environmental issues here (low). There were two environmental questions, if I remember correctly, both dealing with Jerusalem.

    Roger, looking at your results, you tend to agree a lot with some of the Arab parties that ran. Neither you nor DD are Jews and neither of you really identify with the basic Zionist concept of the ingathering of Jews to Israel. So, the Arab point of view is one you find yourself in sympathy with to a degree. Neither of you really agree with Balad, an Arab party that hates Israel.

    That appears to wrap my analysis up, gentlemen. I hope it has been of some help to the two of you. And thank you again for taking the survey. Again, the point of taking it was to give you an idea of how the world is presented to me as an Israeli, not to convince you of anything in particular. On the other hand, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is often very enlightening.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    That was very thorough, Ruvy. I’m going to have to analyze your account in order to respond more intelligently. So we’ll talk later.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Ruvy.

    That’s the digest of the discussion I told you of earlier on Coast-to-Coast:

    Prophecy scholar John Hogue discussed predictions for 2009, the future of the economy, the Obama administration, al-Qaeda threats, and the works of Nostradamus. In looking at the economy, we have to redefine depression— what we’re experiencing is “an ulcer from within”– a value system based on speculation that doesn’t work. And the new administration is looking at depression like it’s the 1930s, creating jobs for a blue collar work force that’s to some extent no longer even here, he explained.

    Like Lincoln, Obama will be reeling from one crisis to the next, possibly all the way into his fourth year in office, Hogue predicted. Further, Treasury Sec. Geithner may not remain in the cabinet, and treasury secretaries could come and go, until Obama finds the right fit. However, Obama & Clinton will make quite a team, drawing comparisons to past Pres. & Sec. of State combos such as Nixon and Kissinger, he offered. The two most dangerous situations of 2009 relate all the way back to land partitions made in 1947– India/Pakistan and Israel/Palestine. Israel in particular could move into a direct confrontation with Iran this year, he detailed.

    This is also the year that al-Qaeda will try another attack on the US, as Obama is a big threat to them, he said, adding that the date of the attack will likely have a 9 or 11 in it. In regards to what has been dubbed the Lost Books of Nostradamus, Hogue doubted that Nostradamus was actually their creator. Nostradamus had crippling arthritis and it’s more likely his son, a talented artist, made the illustrations in the book, he suggested.

    Roger

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Prophecy scholar? PROPHECY SCHOLAR? That’s one of them there oxymorons, innit?

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Well, just to entertain Ruvy, I took the compass test too and found myself at a point also occupied by Labor, The Greens and Torah Judaism.

    Labor
    You are 5% more economic left
    You are 8% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 80%
    Security: 88%
    Socioeconomic: 75%
    Religion: 80%

    Meretz
    You are 23% more economic right
    You are 17% more progressive
    You have a substantive agreement of 77%
    Security: 70%
    Socioeconomic: 73%
    Religion: 100%

    Kadima
    You are 25% more economic left
    You are 15% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 77%
    Security: 85%
    Socioeconomic: 72%
    Religion: 75%

    Ra’am-Ta’al
    You are 27% more economic right
    You are 17% more progressive
    You have a substantive agreement of 73%
    Security: 70%
    Socioeconomic: 73%
    Religion: 80%

    Hadash
    You are 27% more economic right
    You are 17% more progressive
    You have a substantive agreement of 72%
    Security: 65%
    Socioeconomic: 67%
    Religion: 100%

    Balad
    You are 22% more economic right
    You are 13% more progressive
    You have a substantive agreement of 67%
    Security: 68%
    Socioeconomic: 65%
    Religion: 70%

    Likud
    You are 23% more economic left
    You are 40% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 65%
    Security: 63%
    Socioeconomic: 70%
    Religion: 55%

    The Green Movement – Meimad
    You are 20% more economic right
    You are 12% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 64%
    Security: 63%
    Socioeconomic: 72%
    Religion: 45%

    Torah Judaism
    You are 2% more economic right
    You are 33% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 62%
    Security: 85%
    Socioeconomic: 65%
    Religion: 5%

    Greens
    You are 10% more economic left
    You are 13% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 62%
    Security: 65%
    Socioeconomic: 55%
    Religion: 75%

    Israel Beiteinu
    You are 43% more economic left
    You are 38% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 59%
    Security: 60%
    Socioeconomic: 57%
    Religion: 65%

    Gil (Pensioners)
    You are 5% more economic left
    You are 30% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 57%
    Security: 68%
    Socioeconomic: 62%
    Religion: 20%

    Shas
    You are 7% more economic right
    You are 60% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 48%
    Security: 53%
    Socioeconomic: 60%
    Religion: 5%

    Haichud Haleumi (National Unity)
    You are 23% more economic left
    You are 68% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 47%
    Security: 38%
    Socioeconomic: 62%
    Religion: 20%

    Habait Hayehudi – Mafdal
    You are 7% more economic right
    You are 63% more traditional
    You have a substantive agreement of 47%
    Security: 50%
    Socioeconomic: 57%
    Religion: 10%

    What do you make of that then?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Chris,

    Thank you for taking the survey….

    Apparently, you fell in the lower left hand quadrant of the compass sitting comfortably with Labor (Israeli), Meretz and the Arab parties. By Israeli standards, (at least according to the way this compass thingy was designed) you are a left leaning dove – a stance that is generally reflected in your opinions on the region in comments here. If you look carefully, you are in full agreement with the Israeli Communist Party (Hadash) on religion (100%). You would be very comfortable doing business in Tel Aviv, and would fit comfortably (were you born a Jew) with an Israeli identity that de-linked you from any Jewish observance. Probably, you would get on very well with a Scottish-born fellow I know who helped us make aliya here who takes pro-Arab positions in his politics.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    But Ruvy,

    When I was there, the idea of Israeli identity was predominant – not the other way around. I know you speak to this change somewhere, but could you reiterate it briefly. Since when and why the change?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    @ #48:

    The minute he mentioned Nostradamus my eyes glazed over. I mean, the man has such a good track record…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Well, that’s neither here nor there. Everyone, it seems, has got to have a gimmick these days – a prerequisite to “success.” But what I found interesting in the interview is his diagnosis of the present economic situation.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    It’s an interesting diagnosis, but it’s hardly necessary to rummage around in books of old gibberish poetry in order to make it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I agree. But there is significant market composed of prophesy nuts. So they all do whatever they think it will take.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger,

    Even back in the sixties, one could see the beginning of the fraying of the national consensus in Israel between the “Israeli” identity and the Jewish identity. But, so long as both sides held essentially the same view on security, an “us or them” point of view on the Arabs, religious Jews would buy into the Israeli identity to the degree that they felt they could.

    All that ended when the ruling secular elites in Labor dropped the idea of a Labor Federation that was designed to guarantee Jewish jobs. This was the original purpose of the Histadrut The Histadrut and other socialist institutions came under tremendous pressure as the Begin government printed money to get the country out of its economic difficulties, and finally in the mid-eighties, after Begin had resigned, Labor dropped socialism like a smelly rotten potato, castrated the Histadrut, spun off its institutions from the organization either to government control (Bank haPoalim) or to private control (Solel Boneh). It was at this point (or shortly after) that the “us or them” point of view on the Arabs was dropped, and the institutions controlled by or loyal to Labor started to stab the settlement movement in the back, doing everything they could to smear them and make them hated.

    The thing that ignited all this was the First Lebanon War, the result of the “Peace in Galilee” campaign initiated by MenaHem Begin. Begin’s plan was to go to the Litani River and stay there. But Security Minister Ariel Sharon betrayed his boss and pushed north to Beirut. It was this push to Beirut from the Litani that violated a social contract in Israel – the idea that the IDF was a defense force, not just a bunch of soldiers sent out to kill any old enemy the government didn’t like.

    Israeli soldiers had always viewed themselves as the “reluctant warriors” who went to war because they had to. Sharon’s actions destroyed this self image, and it was the destruction of this self image that was the first real defeat the IDF suffered. Holding Sharon guilty for the Christians killing Moslem “Palestinian” Arabs at Sabra and Shatila refugee camp was the excuse to punish Sharon, an arrogant man who refused to resign in the face of disgrace, for doing this to the IDF.

    It was in the First Lebanon War that we first see the hatred of the secular Jews for religious Jews manifesting itself. As Barry Chamish documented, Amram Mitzna and Ehud Barak, both affiliated with Labor, sent religious soldiers into an ambush at Sultan Yukub, knowing that they would be killed. Twenty-three soldiers lost their lives due to this.

    I hope these brief couple of paragraphs helps you to understand the dynamics of the change in this country’s society.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    My goodness, Ruvy. There’s more drama here than one could possibly imagine. And all that in one small little country.
    Speaks to “the individuality” aspect of the Jewish community, doesn’t ? No wonder no one gets along.

    Roger

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger, every country has this much drama in their history. The tremendous amount of drama in Poland is old hat for you, and the tremendous amount of drama in America is something you are living through. You’re just not used to seeing Israeli history or reality up close and personal, that’s all.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    You’re right there. When I left (in 1961), it was hard to conceive the multitude of problems about to erupt.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Hey, Ruvy,

    I need your help. So if and when the Sabbath is over, get back to me, please!

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Roger, I hope you do not regret having asked for my help….

    David is like me, a proud Jew. And, like me, he puts that Jewishness first and foremost.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Not at all, Ruvy. Believe you me, I’m not short on pride, either. It’s just that collectivist thinking that’s my greatest stumbling block – and in his particular case, I termed it (unjustly perhaps, as victim’s mentality).

    I don’t know whether you had a chance to look through that thread for our exchanges, but some of his views appeared to me totally anti-humanistic and verging on misanthropy. So I just wondered – is he a representative or just an odd ball.

    And I do thank you for jumping in. It sorts of relieves the pressure to have to deal with him as he keeps on coming for more, like he’d like to be disproved. Not that I mind it – actually, I feel sorry for the guy – but a little division of labor would go a long way here, I figure.

    Roger

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    ELECTION UPDATE…..ELECTION UPDATE…..ELECTION UPDATE…..ELECTION UPDATE…..ELECTION UPDATE…..

    Looks like the fix is in. Netanyahu cannot form a “right-wing” government without Lieberman – he only has 50 seats; Lieberman demands that Livni’s ” Kadima” be included in any government (proving that he is nothing but a cat’s paw for Kadima, as has been speculated before); Kadima wants only to be prime minister in any government. So, if Netanyahu wants in, he has to provide her with the
    mustache ride while she sits on top.

    The “maideleh”, Tzippi Livni has learned a thing or two about the “old daunce”, it seems…..

    Look for President Peres to “hesitate” while he decides finally to invite Livni to form a government while suggesting that Netanyahu be deputy prime minister. This story from Arutz Sheva seems to suggest otherwise, but the more cynical Samson Blinded Blog implies my conclusions without stating them as such.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “So, if Netanyahu wants in, he has to provide her with the mustache ride while she sits on top.”

    I love this description. It conjures up images in my head. I think I’ll have a wet dream.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It conjures up images in my head too. The result is quite different: intense nausea.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    It’s women power! I’m all for it.
    Ciao.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    ELECTION UPDATE…..ELECTION UPDATE…..ELECTION UPDATE…..ELECTION UPDATE…..ELECTION UPDATE…..

    I guess I was wrong. According to Arutz Sheva It’s Final: Peres Entrusts Netanyahu with Forming a Government. As of 14:15 (a little over an hour ago) this afternoon, State President Shim’on Peres asked MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) to form the executive committee of the nation’s parliament, the Knesset. According to the ‘Basic Law’ covering this issue, Netanyahu has 28 days to present a cabinet (this is the executive committee) to the Knesset for a vote of confidence, and can receive an additional two weeks if he needs them, if he has not succeeded after 28 days.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Shucks. I was rooting for Livni. A good looker, too.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    You might still be right, Ruvy. If Netanyahu manages to piss off enough MKs over the next month that no-one wants to work with him, then Livni might in the end be more palatable to the Knesset.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    But I don’t think Ruvy would like that result.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    BTW, I haven’t seen your comment yet on the other thread.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Come to think, there are few if any comments from the usual crowd.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Ruvy,

    According to Arutz Sheva, Chas W. Freeman, Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, is strongly rumored as likely to become Chairman of President Obama’s National Intelligence Council. Based on his various statements excerpted in the article, he does not appear to be a friend of Israel.

    Thoughts?

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Dan,

    My assertions have been that over time the strong anti-Israel bent of this man would become obvious, and this probable appointment is just proving me right.

    Obama, from my perspective, is just what the doctor ordered. Even an alleged “nationalist” like Netanyahu will look like a sniveling Uncle Tom if he obeys this scum, and that will bring about the violent overthrow of the “Israeli” regime here, which is my ultimate goal.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Thanks, Ruvy

    I assumed that would be your reaction to Ambassador Freeman, and it is mine as well. I was wondering whether you had any insights into the good ambassador beyond what was provided in the linked article.

    My guess is that lots of people there, as well as here, are in for many rude awakenings.

    Dan(Miller)