Friday, July 20, 2012

The Occupation Issue

Gershom Gorenberg makes an interesting case that the occupation was actually what led to the split between Netanyahu and Kadima:
"Ostensibly, the problem was conscription. Kadima wanted to impose financial penalties on ultra-Orthodox men who defer the draft for religious studies past age 22. The two ultra-Orthodox parties in parliament utterly rejected the plan, and Netanyahu's Likud proposed a much-softened version of the reform. Kadima's view is politically popular, and Kadima has nearly twice as many Knesset members as the ultra Orthodox parties combined. Sticking with Kadima would seem the obvious choice.
"But Kadima is a party of reconstructed rightists. It consists mainly of ex-members of Netanyahu's Likud who have concluded that Israel will have to give up most of the West Bank. The ultra-Orthodox parties, on the other hand, have consistently supported the Likud's policies as long as they receive the concessions they want, including the draft exemption. Netanyahu could count on them now to be disinterested in peacemaking. As long as he did not break the decades-old deal with them, he can count on them to line up with him in parliament after the next election, too."
I actually think this is right. I can't picture Netanyahu as that wedded to the idea that Torah study is the Haredi's form of service, and that would suggest this was about maintaining his preferred political alliance for the reasons suggested.

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