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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/15/15

For whom to Vote?

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So there are at least four "center" parties which can decide whether Netanyahu or Herzog will be our next Prime Minister. Lieberman's shrinking party may be the fifth.

Of course I would not dream of voting for any of them.

WHAT IS LEFT? A choice between three: Labor, now called "the Zionist Camp," Meretz and the Joint (Arab) list.

The Arab list is composed of four vastly different parties: communist, Islamist and nationalist. It is a shotgun marriage, with Lieberman holding the gun: it was he who induced the Knesset to raise the minimum election threshold, in order to evict the small Arab parties from the Knesset. In response, the four small parties formed the big united list, which now holds third place in the polls after the two large parties.

The Arabs in Israel are second-class citizens, discriminated against and sometimes persecuted. What would be more humane for a progressive Jewish citizen than to vote for such a list?

For me that would be natural, since I was instrumental in creating in 1984 "The Progressive List for Peace" the Israeli party in which Jews and Arabs were completely integrated even more than in Hadash.

But the Joint List is problematic for me. A few days ago, they upset me with a fateful decision.

It concerns the "leftover" votes. Under our election law, two lists may make an agreement, under which the "leftover" votes of both will be pooled and turned over to one of them. ("Leftover" are votes remaining after the party has been allotted the seats for which it has the full number of votes.)

The Leftist parties devised a plan under which the Joint List was to pool its leftovers with those of Meretz. This might have given to one of them -- and thus to the entire leftist bloc -- one more seat, which may turn out to be crucial.

The Joint List refused, because Meretz is a Zionist party. The decision may have been logical, since many Arab voters could possibly abstain from voting if they feared that their vote might go to a Jewish "Zionist" list. But it showed that faced with any important decision, the Islamists and nationalists of the Joint List might bloc a united decision for peace. I have a problem with that.

So I am left with Meretz and the "Zionist Camp." Meretz is far closer to my views than the larger list. But only the larger list can unseat Netanyahu. The problem would not have existed if my proposal for a joint list including "the Zionist Camp," Meretz, Lapid and more had been set up in time. All the prospective parts refused.

So now I am faced with a choice: either vote ideologically for Meretz or vote pragmatically for the party whose chances of putting an end to Netanyahu's reign will be enhanced if it emerges as the largest party in the next Knesset. But this party has many defects, of which I am painfully aware.

Otto von Bismarck, one of the greatest statesmen of all times, famously described politics as "the art of the possible."

It is now possible to stop the march of the Right and restore some sanity to our country.

So how should I vote?

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

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