2 thoughts on “Kadima Wins, Not With a Bang But a Whimper – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. To quote Menachem Klein

    “And I don’t care who brings peace”

    IMO, too many underestimate the potential contributions of parties like Shas to the negotiating table. Shas is often pilloried among Israeli intelligentsia as a cabal of unsophisticated Eastern fanatics who are out of touch with Israel’s mainstream. Putting aside the vindictiveness of that view, it could actually be a panacea.

    As you know, Shas’ representatives and constituents are members of the Eda HaMizrach and religious ones. In addition to non-hawkish views regarding Yehuda and Shomron, their background both ethnically and religiously just might create some bonding with the Palestinian leadership that the secular Western-oriented Ashkenasim don’t understand or care to.

    Even prior to the Hamas landslide, the Palestinians have become increasingly religious. I think this mindset (along with cultural ones unique to the Middle East) is better understood by the likes of Shas than Labor/Meretz/Kadima etc who appear completely tone deaf if not hostile to the metaphysical yearnings. Amir Peretz would still have a Labor Party culture to contend with as far a being a player of this type, even if he himself was up to the challenge, which IMO is not.

    Trust is not a word to be thrown around lightly, especially in politics and especially in Mid-East politics. But can a case be made that the Palestinians might feel a shred less threatened by the likes of other Levantine people who view theology as a higher priority than Western culture (sic)? It’s a touchy subject and at the risk of sounding categorical, the groups who speak the loudest about comprehensive peace with the Palestinians tend to also shout in support of other causes which scare and anger the Palestinians. No need to list them explicityly; it should be obvious.

    No concrete answers here, but perhaps an oft overlooked idea to ponder.

  2. Jake: There is much to what you are saying. I do think that Hamas would have much more in common w. a religious Israeli than a secular one. In fact, I read something written by an Orthodox rabbi who’d met w. Hamas leaders who told him that they felt they could make peace w. him right there on the spot because of their shared spiritual perspective.

    I too (like the Israeli elite you criticize) have grave reservations about Shas though, since their party is riddled to the core w. outright corruption. I love the idea of a Mizrachi party that is not intransigent about territorial issues and has deep connections to Arab culture (like Shas). I’m just not sure they’re the ones to pull this off (though I could be wrong).

    As for Peretz, I think you sell him short & prob. shouldn’t as he’s a fierce competitor & tough negotiator (as you’ll see in the upcoming coalition negotiations). He may surprise you. I think he’d be far more ready & able to negotiate a peace w. the Palestinians which most Israelis could live with. But that’s moot because unless he becomes Foreign Minister he won’t get the chance to do this (at least in this government). Yes, he’s secular but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t find common ground w. Fatah OR w. Hamas.

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