Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The problem with the decision to disengage from a non-religious point of view

While clearly religious views play a big role in the oppostion to the disengagement, I would like to lay out the problems with the way the decision was made, from a non-religious point of view.

Israel is a list based party system. You do not elect a Prime Minister, you vote for a party list. The Likud party, which Ariel Sharon leads, platform in the last election was NO to unilateral disengagement from Gaza. The Labor party, led by Mitzna, platform was unilateral disengagement from Gaza. The results of the election were clear, Labor was trounced (40-19 in terms of seats). In other words the will of the people as expressed in the last election was NO to disengagment.

Furthermore, Sharon put the question to a referendum in his party, he lost. Given that there are no direct elections, the honorable thing to do would have been to resign. The party rejected his vision, therefore he should have bowed to the wishes of the party, after all, it was the party that was elected not Sharon. He refused to do that and he did not honor the results of the referendum.

In the Israeli system the Prime Minister is not sovereign, the government is (unlike in the US where the President has clearly delineated powers). The government would have voted against disengagement, Sharon had to fire ministers to pass the plan in the government. While that may have been strictly legal, it was certainly against the spirit of the system.

To top it all off, a number of left wing journalist published a book whose thesis is that Sharon cooked up disengagemnt to save himself from being indicted. The former Chief of Staff of teh Army testified in the knesset that he found about the plan from the press. This raises very troubling questions.

All in all, what Sharon did was stricly legal, but was certainly not democratic in the broader meaning of the word. Anyone with a shred of dignity and honor would have called new elections and said, I am running on the platform of disenagement. If as he and the left claims that a majority supports disengagement then he would have been re-elected with a clear mandate. This would have been much much healthier for the country. The right wing would understand that they lost a democratic election and the level of protest would be much lower. No one would be able to claim that the decision was illegitimate. Now, the right wing has a feeling that the decision was stolen and is illegitimate.

Disengagement is not a regular everyday government decision. It is a decision that affects everyone who lives in Israel, affects our right to the land, affects everyones future. It is only fair to give the people the right to decide on such a critical issue either with a referendum or even better, with new elections.

9 comments:

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Bluke; As a Likud Central Committee member, I salute you!

Thanks for an excellent post.

Anonymous said...

An excellent post.

Anonymous said...

Well said. I also note that while the polls say that a majority of Israelis may support disengagement, these polls include Israeli Arabs (nearly 20% of the population). The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews are against disengagement--not because of religious reasons, but because they believe that retreat in the face of fire will encourage future terrorism.

David Eisen said...

Why is the Disengagement Plan more existential to Israeli society than its position on overcrowded hospitals and what medication is included in the Sal Habriut ("Health Basket")? Why were the budgets of the yeshivot hesder and g'vohot radically cut? Why is my marignal income tax rate so high? I propose calling for a referendum to implement a flat income tax of 18%; I have no doubts what the outcome of that referendum will be - but there are certain decisions that require resolute leadership, especially when they are not popular.

David Eisen said...

BTW - my prior comments should in no way whatsoever be interpreted as minimizing the terrible trauma and suffering that the residents of Gush Katif will endure. My heart goes to them though I sincerely believe that their sacrifice will, b'ezrat Hashem, serve Israel's vital interests.

bluke said...

David,

I think that the difference is that thtis is something that truly affects all of the Jewish people both in terms of security and in terms of our right s to the land.

In addition, I am not sold on a referendum, I would prefer new elections. Again, it is only honorable to ask for a new mandate when you make a 180 degree switch in your platform.

Agala said...

Some points:
1. Their is a known facts that Sharon is not the most honest guy in the block, if you vote for him please blame yourself.
2. I agree that you voted for the Likud party, but you knew that Sharon was the Likud candidate, and as an Israeli citizen you should know the system, i.e. the prime-minister (and not the party) has the real power. Sometime the prime minister can change his mind (in Sharon words: “it seems different from here”)

bluke said...

There is a difference between changing your mind on some issues and changing your whole outlook 180 degrees. This is the same Sharon who said 2 years ago that "din netzarim k'din Tel Aviv".

This is not changing your mind, this adopting the left wing agenda, I guarantee you that 2+ years ago no one would have dreamed that Sharon would unilaterally pull out of Gaza.

agala said...

Dear bluke
I am happy that you agreed with my first point… You vote for Sharon you got Sharon.
I agree that Sharon adopt the left wing agenda, but most of the Israeli vote for Sharon personally and not for the Likud, please look again on the election propaganda they emphasis Sharon vs. Mizna and not Likud vs. Avoda.