I've spent a week trying to make sense of what happened in last Tuesday's elections. Objectively, I subscribe to what Ben Chorin had to say on the subject (since he's my expert in these matters). I am, however, grappling with the deeper significance both of the elections and the subsequent behavior of the various parties.
1) Livni and Lieberman have provided further proof of the adage of my much revered, and sorely missed, rabbinic mentor, Rabbi Louis Bernstein ז"ל. Louie, who certainly knew his way around Israeli and American politics, used to say that Israeli politicians have the morals of alleycats. The country be damned, as long as they get their ego and drives fueled, who cares what the people say or the country needs. It needs, it would appear, whatever the media and the pundits say it needs.(Ironically, the only one to prima facie take his defeat like a man was Ehud Barak.)
2) The phenomenon of Avigdor Lieberman puzzles me.
On the one hand, I understand why people voted for him. They want a 'tough guy' to stand up to the Arabs. They are sick and scared of the open sedition and irredentism of an ever growing proportion Israeli Arabs, and the growing awareness that key elements thereof really are a fifth column within the country. (These guys don't get it.)
Furthermore, I really sympathize with the impossible situation of non-Jewish Russian 'Jews' who can't get married and can't reasonably convert because of the obstructionism and impossibly high standards of key elements within the rabbinate. Thus, Lieberman's popularity based upon his advocacy of a form of narrowly conceived civil union is eminently understandable. [I am afraid that the courts will throw out any legislated restrictions on these and would open the door for widespread intermarriage. The leftist, post-Jewish courts and 'intelligentsia' would inevitably applaud such a suicidal step. I plan to address this issue in a separate posting.]
What I can't figure out is whether Lieberman is a democrat, or really is out to set himself up as a government strong man. IOW, part of me understands his agenda. Part of me is afraid of his success.
3) One thing that I've learned is to listen to my children, who grew up here. Nothing, they assure me, will happen if Livni becomes Prime Minister, or if Bibi is forced into a rotation agreement. No self-respecting Arab will make a deal with a Leftist. He will know that it's not worth the paper it's written on. If Netanyahu, though, breaks under pressure then things will get hairy.
Food for thought.