Dear Yitzhak Herzog, Please just shut up and go away already. In case you haven’t heard the news yet, you lost the elections that were held two months ago – badly.
Why is it that you are so loud and angry now, 2 months later? Where was all of this passion during the elections? Where were all of these promises and declarations of support for more social welfare for the poor and downtrodden of Israel?
All we heard for three months was “Netanyahu sucks!” Great campaign slogan Yitz. Or should I call you Bougie? (Don’t confuse his nickname with “Bogy” as in Humphrey Bogart.)
You aren’t fooling anyone, you know. Everybody in Israel knows that you are only going out there and screaming as loud as you can because you are just trying to convince your own people – as well as yourself – that you are actually qualified to lead the opposition.
As I have written before, you are going to be deposed as Labor Party leader sooner or later. Just like your 4 predecessors in that role who all led it to a defeat at the polls, you will be gone before the next elections. In addition to losing, you gave far too much away to Tzipi Livni when you formed this Zionist Union thing, God knows why. Certainly no one in Israel does.
She had a lousy 6 seats in the last Knesset and was not likely to pass the new minimum threshold of 4 seats in the latest elections. Neither Yair Lapid nor Moshe Kahlon wanted to run a joint list with her, but you for some reason did. She formed her party, whatever it’s called, after she got thrown out as leader of the Kadima because she had failed miserably in that role.
You only got 24 seats in these elections. That was three more than the last time under Shely Yachimovich, but still a net loss for the Labor because 5 went to Livni’s people. And why did you feel a need to promise to split the premiership with her in a rotation anyway? Obviously you both realized how dumb that was – and how unpopular she was – when she agreed to forgo it just days before the March elections.
I won’t bother going over most of what Herzog has been saying lately about Netanyahu. I’ll just deal with the major complaint.
Herzog has been most critical of Netanyahu for giving in to the Haredi parties’ extortionist demands. These include undoing religious reforms and the drafting of the ultra-orthodox which were achieved in his last government as well as paying out billions to their institutions. Netanyahu also did away with the cap of only 18 cabinet ministers. This will cost Israeli taxpayers millions a year in the extra costs for those ministries including the ministers’ salaries and staffs.
This is the biggest complaint since Herzog keeps on pointing out that the money could have gone to better use helping the poor.
Let’s get something straight here Bougie: You would have done exactly what Netanyahu did to form a government. Even if the polls had gotten it right and your Zionist Union amalgam had gotten 30 seats and the Likud only 24 (the reverse of what happened) you too would have needed the Haredim to form a government.
You would have agreed to make the same changes on religious issues as Netanyahu has, to giving the ultra-orthodox all that money, to expanding the cabinet size and everything else just to form a government. You know that you would have Bougie.
But then you would have turned to the Israeli public and said that it was worth it because you had to do it to have a “peace” government. You would have brought in the Meretz Party which once again would have reneged on its promises and its commitment to a secularist agenda because – as they said the last time – the peace process is what is most important.
That’s what you and your people always say. It is what Ehud Barak said in 1999, after clobbering Netanyahu at the polls, when the reality of the political situation set in. He brought in the Haredim to his government and went back on his promise to draft them because, as we all know, all that matters is the peace process.
That is also what Yosi Sarid – then the leader of the left wing Meretz Party – said when he went back on his pledge not to join any government with the ultra-orthodox in it. A pledge that he made numerous times in the run up to the elections of 1999.
So Bougie, just who in the hell are you trying to kid here? Yourself?
On one other point, Yitzhak, stop ripping the new government for only having a one seat majority of 61. Rabin formed a government of only 62 seats in 1992, but that was OK because he was going to make peace. He gave into the blackmail of the Haredi Sephardic Shas Party, but that was OK because he stood for peace.
Well 61 seats is still a majority, which is more than can be said of the last year that Rabin was the prime minister before his assassination. He lost his majority and had to bribe several Knesset members to get their support, otherwise Oslo B would not have passed and his government would have fallen by the summer of 1995.
Rabin also changed the rules of government midterm when he agreed to a new law which allowed one of those MKs from a right wing party to become a cabinet minister without his party’s permission. This law, which is still on the books, allows at least one third of a party’s members in the Knesset to break away from it and form a new party.
This shenanigan was worse than anything Netanyahu ever did and it still has not been repealed. But the movement for quality in government filed no appeal to the Supreme Court against it and Rabin was still sanctified.
Why, you may ask. Because he did for peace. It seems that anything in Israeli politics will be excused when committed by the left.
But let’s hope that Labor pulls the big cane that they used to use in Vaudville to get someone off the stage on Herzog sooner rather than later.