Arnon Grunberg



On elections once again – Pfeffer in Haaretz:

‘Netanyahu’s predecessor as Likud leader, Yitzhak Shamir – a man of staunch nationalist ideals – regularly led the party out of the Knesset auditorium whenever Kahane got up to speak in his lone term as a lawmaker between 1984 and 1988. Likud then ensured, together with nearly all the other parties, that Kahane’s Kach party would no longer be allowed to run in another election. Netanyahu has no such scruples.
Ben-Gvir is essential to Netanyahu in his mission to eke out the far-right vote, which could ensure his return to power. Polling shows that a third of Otzma Yehudit’s potential voters are those who have barely, if ever, voted in the past. Bringing out those who habitually stay home on Election Day is a rare political achievement and could be the key to Netanyahu reaching the 61 lawmakers that would give him the majority that has been so elusive in the past four elections. But all this was true in the last election as well.’


‘In the elections where it had run separately, Otzma Yehudit never crossed the 3.25-percent electoral threshold and its votes were wasted. In the round of polling carried out last week, after Ben-Gvir had announced that he had failed to reach an agreement with Smotrich and Otzma Yehudit was therefore running alone, the party easily passed the threshold. In fact, in all of the polls, on the right it received the second-highest number of seats after Likud, either equaling or surpassing Shas.
This of course could have been a blip. Ben-Gvir is certainly cautious enough to think this may be the case, which is why, despite dwarfing Smotrich’s party in the polls, he agreed on Friday to merge the tickets on the basis of a 50-50 split of the top-10 spots – with Otzma Yehudit’s candidates getting lower spots on the slate. (Ben-Gvir himself is second on the ticket to Smotrich and his next candidate is placed at number five.) Now, though, there is no question about him being a doubtful candidate who risks dropping below the threshold. Instead, he is a major power broker in a possible Netanyahu governing coalition. He has banked those polls.’


‘The 46-year-old Ben-Gvir was the head of Kach’s youth department back in 1994 when, in the wake of the Hebron massacre carried out by Kach veteran Baruch Goldstein – whose picture until recently hung in the Ben-Gvir family’s living room – the movement was proscribed as a terror organization. He was arrested dozens of times and forbidden to join the Israeli army as a result.
Ben-Gvir’s life mission is to succeed where Kahane failed and make the movement, which was renamed Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) and changed parts of its platform so it could run again for the Knesset, as a legitimate, mainstream political party. That’s why he ostensibly accepted the rules and became a lawyer, and it’s why he admonishes his young admirers when they cry “Death to the Arabs!” Every time Ben-Gvir is interviewed as a legitimate politician, as he is nowadays daily, he is another step closer to his goal.
He could quite likely have won more Knesset seats in this election if Otzma Yehudit had done it alone. But he craves the little bit of establishment respectability that Smotrich has within the religious Zionist community that once shunned Kahane. And, more than anything, he wants to be openly acknowledged by Israel’s great leader Netanyahu.’


‘Ben-Gvir is perfectly aware of such an outcome. But for now, he is on an equal footing with the other party leaders in a potential Likud government, a senior partner to Netanyahu. This is a feat that was unimaginable back in the days when he and his fellow Kahanists were outcasts on the furthest margins of Israeli politics.’

Read the article here.

The eighties were in hindsight innocent.

Compared to what nowadays are considered rightwing political parties or rightwing politicians, the right in the eighties, not only in Israel, was so civilized.

Most countries have their own brand of Kahanism.

And not only N. but too many politicians in general are willing to cover themselves in dirt in order to win elections.

Sometimes they are indistinguishable from the dirt they think they need to win.

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