Nobody to Vote For

In the past couple of elections I had a hard time choosing who to vote for. A hard time, but not an impossible one. Eventually, I made my choice. This time around, with the elections less than two months away, I feel as if I have nobody to vote for.

Demographics are playing a crucial role in the Israeli electorate, just as they are in the American one. In the US, it gets harder and harder for Republicans to win elections because of the growth in the “minority” (Blacks, Hispanics) percentage of the population. In Israel it gets harder and harder for the left to win elections. The growth of the Jewish religious population in Israel almost guarantees that the right-religious block will be in power for the foreseeable future, unless they totally screw up. The politically clever move by Bibi and Lieberman of uniting their lists for the election (“Likud Beitenu”) adds to the general feeling of a strong, ruling uncontested party that many can vote for.

There is no such alternative on the other side of the political map, where the landscape is dismally disappointing. Instead of rallying around the biggest party (Kadima in the last elections, Labour today) the center-left has opted for political suicide, driven by unimaginable personal egos. Mofaz, Livni and Lapid all prefer to lead rather than become part of a leadership team. The same can be said of smaller parties such as Am Shalem. The result is a plethora of small to medium parties that don’t come close to offering a credible opposition, let alone a governing alternative.

I have long thought that the Israeli political system is broken. The reality of multiple political parties, each pulling in its own direction, is a recipe for disaster and for continuous caving in to sectarian interest groups. The bar to enter the Knesset should set much higher, forcing political alliances and resulting in a 3-4 party system, with two leading “supermarket” parties where most of the electorate will be forced to find a place. In the absence of such a system, many resort to voting for small parties, some of which never make it past the post.

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