Toward the end of history – Haaretz

Posted By on March 9, 2020

When the television channels presented the results of their exit polls, there was much joy at Yamina headquarters: The right won. In Ofra, residents were invited to celebrate. But Yamina only won six seats you call that victory? Yes, victory, wrote the organizer from Ofra the right beat the left.

Yamina is the successor of Hapoel Hamizrahi, Hamizrahi and the National Religious Party. The latter joined the Zionist socialist camp that included Mapai, Mapam and the various incarnations of Ahdut Haavoda, and under its leadership made a modest contribution to the founding and establishment of the state. Over the years, especially after the advent of Gush Emunim and the revolutionary spirit it infused into religious Zionism, this contribution became more significant. In classic Zionist spheres, such as settlement and military service, it even became the leader.

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But while the number and status of religious Zionists grew, the institutions that represented them on the political level contracted. In the 2009 election for the 18th Knesset, this representation fell to an all-time low of just three seats. Professor Asher Cohen, an expert on voting patterns in this camp, believes that religious Zionist voters now typically account for four or five seats for Likud, two or three for Shas, one or two for the center-left, and, lately, some measure of support for United Torah Judaism.

The electoral blow suffered by Labor-Gesher-Meretz, the party that is the successor of the socialist Zionist camp, was even worse. This camp, which once enjoyed lengthy periods of hegemonic rule, has ended up on the edge of the abyss.

Presumably, in the kibbutzim and moshavim of Labor and Meretz, no one was calling for celebrations. There, unlike in some of the denial-bound Judea and Samaria communities, they admit the truth. However, one thing will happen to both of them: Their continuing decline will put an end to the age of the ideological parties from the time of the Yishuv and the first three decades of independence. The end of history, to borrow a phrase.

The ideology of the last election was a mishmash of personal impulses, vengefulness, spite and bruised feelings of discrimination. More than any solidly formed worldview, this is what affected the question of which slip to place in the ballot box.

These voters belong to four main camps: The first temperamental, idolatrous and, mainly, ecstatic is the Just Bibi camp. Opposite it we have at first energetic, now beaten and battered the Just Not Bibi camp. It turns out that negating Netanyahu wasnt enough to bring this camp to power, and, being an ad hoc assemblage, it may now cease to exist.

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The third camp, the union of the Haredim, is a stable one in terms of its institutions and has been growing moderately in strength from one election to the next. Internal Haredi interests, and not a fight against post-Zionist (or anti-Zionist) trends are what keep it in the right-wing camp.

And in this election, we also saw the birth of the fourth significant camp: the Just Not Bibi, Just Not Benny (Gantz), Just Not Zionist Jews camp the Joint List.

If not for Netanyahus errors, Kahol Lavan would not have come into existence. If not for his provocations, masses of Arabs and Jews would not have gone in droves to the polls to give 15 Knesset seats to a party that has some members who openly support terror and other members who are good at hiding this and only deny Israels right to exist as a Jewish state. If Netanyahu hadnt fulfilled nearly all of their wishes, from budgets for yeshivas to the effective exemption from military service, the Haredim would not have permanently anchored themselves in the right. And Avigdor Lieberman would be somewhere else today. The credit for all of these upsetting developments, and many more like them, belongs to one man alone Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Toward the end of history - Haaretz

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