The Labor Party’s historic role is now drawing to a close. Word of its demise has already been broadcast by the media.
Founded in 1930, the party has reached the end of the road. Its predecessor, Mapai, led practical Zionism and the tremendous settlement enterprise and guided the pre-1948 Jewish community in Israel ahead of the state’s establishment. But Labor has now been relegated to the margins of Israeli political history. From Zionist activism and security supremacy, all that remains now for Labor is a union with Meretz.
The Blue and White Party is in essence comprised of nothing but air. A political vanguard, consisting of three parties and four party heads hastily thrown together ahead of Israel’s April 9 election, which lacks vision and has no path to speak of. It is a sort of pot luck, in which every member adds to the stew as they see fit—or in simpler terms, a centrist political party.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Morgensztern of Kotzk taught that people walk on either the left or the right side of the road, with the center being reserved for carts drawn by horses.
Blue and White’s relative success in the election was due to the old elites having rallied together under the slogan “Anyone but [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” Frustrated “has-beens,” fake commentators, pompous academics and indoctrinated jurists, under the auspices of new and old funds, made every effort to convince the people that a Likud government led by Netanyahu would bring about the end of democracy, the rise of fascism and the destruction of Israeli society.
From morning until night they dripped this poison, which was aimed at taking a bite out of the healthy foundations of society. The mission did not succeed; the failure now echoes. Any reasonable person knows one cannot repeat the same campaign.
We have seen the most blatant expression of this sense of failure and frustration from former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit, who had so hoped the regime would change ahead of his 80th birthday.
He took out his anger on Likud voters, explaining in an interview that they were ignorant people with “zero understanding” and low moral standards. Such were the disgusting, condescending remarks by a senior member of the old and disappearing elite. Anyone who doesn’t think like them is a primitive, grave-worshipping mezuzah-kisser and member of the riffraff.
All those who speak incessantly of democracy and equality are the greatest hypocrites of all. They are arrogance and condescension personified. I have no doubt that Shavit’s remarks will contribute much to the Likud’s success in the coming election. Likud party members will prove that they are smarter and more responsible than those who humiliate and despise them.
In that same interview, Shavit said he would “not remain one minute in [United Right party leader Bezalel] Smotrich’s land of Israel.” It was in this manner that Shavit joined those “patriotic” spokespeople on the Left who propose immigrating to Berlin, Australia or the United States. Berlin is full of tens of thousands of young Israelis who have chosen the alternative offered by Shavit.
But I hereby declare that my friends and I on the right will remain in Israel even if Shavit and Ta’al party head Ahmad Tibi head the government. Those who are in their homeland conditionally are not deserving of it in the first place.
I believe Blue and White leader Moshe Ya’alon when he says fellow party leader Yair Lapid’s hatred of haredim, or ultra-Orthodox Jews, is doing damage to the party. It is well known that anyone who sows hatred reaps a storm. Lapid’s hatred of haredim is reminiscent of old anti-Semitic tropes.
I also believe Lapid’s assertion that had Ya’alon run at the head of his Telem party list he wouldn’t have passed the electoral threshold.
Nor is there any doubt in my mind that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz is convinced the rotation deal with Lapid is doing serious damage to Blue and White’s chances. Gabi Ashkenazi likely believes the polls that say that if he had headed Blue and White’s list, the party would have done even better. With four such affirmed believers, Blue and White doesn’t stand a chance. The party is over, disintegration awaits.
In the face of challenges, a right that is united will win the upcoming election.
This column first appeared in Israel Hayom.