Thursday, October 31, 2002
Binyamin Ben Eliezer and the Israeli Labour Party must be living in one. The opinion polls demonstrate that Ben Eliezer is going to lose the leadership fight, probably to Mitznah. However, they also indicate that in the next election the Labour Party's share of the Knesset is going to plummet while the Likud will regain ground and overtake them. The demography of the Jewish sector - which is in practise the first port of call for all coaltion negotiations - is constantly favouring the right (Haredi, National Religious), so the other right-wing parties in the Knesset will probably also gain more support. Moreover, the total break-down in faith in the messianic visions of Oslo and two years of violence, along with the Left's arrogant refusal to admit their mistakes, have led to a large swing to the right amongst the "middle ground" of voters, who were willing to "give peace a chance" but found that the result was more terror and more terror (people have not forgotten the Passover Massacre).
All of this means that for the Labour ministers to pull out of the government now just to save Ben Eliezer from Miznah was a terrible political mistake. Perhaps Labour want to be in opposition for years to come? Who knows? If Sharon is wise, he'll go for the earliest possible election.
Certainly, nobody here believes that this crisis was based upon genuine opposition to the budget.
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