Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Responsibility to Vote

With less than 24 hours before the voting booths open around the country, I think it is important to point out that the United States has some good lessons to teach other democracies. In the States, there are two large parties - the Democrats and the Republicans - with a smattering of small independent parties that rarely get notice. Neither of the big parties necessarily represent everything for which you stand, but there is normally a clear side or candidate that works for you.

By having two large parties, the chances of bickering are slim to none, as the majority rules in the House and in the Senate.

Israel, a so-called Parliamentary Democracy, has up to 40 parties large and small each election. The negotiating and bargaining are inevitable, and everyone loses, as the larger parites do not get enough votes to have a clear majority of 61 in the Knesset. Shas gets to exort money for its seminaries, other parties lobby for various Ministerial positions for which they are not qualified; and the country, instead of being able to start clean and fresh, gets stuck in the same old garbage.

The three to four big parties running in this election are: Likud (Central-Right), Kadima (Central-Left), Labour (running out of steam) and the dark horse Yisrael Beiteinu (the Fascist Lieberman party). Many potential Likud voters are planning on voting for Lieberman because they subscribe to his extreme right positions, and make the assumption that Netanyahu of the Likud will get enough seats to become Prime Minister.

Do the math! If all you people don't vote for Likud and instead vote for the Russian, Netanyahu will lose the ever shrinking advantage with which he started, and then we get stuck with Kadima, again. I encourage all those who lean to the right to cast their vote for Likud, so we can see real change in this country.

If I had my way, I would have four parties in the system: Central-Right, Central-Left, Far Right and Far Left. This would force natural allies to unite, and would significantly cut down on the destructive post-election bargaining.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Terrorist are like Children

When disciplining children, the key is CONSISTENCY. When you say a child will receive a certain punishment if they misbehave, that consequence must appear every time there is an infraction, until they learn to associate the action with the result.

Once upon a time there was an Operation, Cast Lead, a very belated response to eight years of bombing of Israeli citizens by Hamas terrorists. Then, so that President Barack Hussein Obama's Inauguration would be headline free, Israel agreed to a ridiculous unilateral cease fire. The day Israel had cleared out from most of Azza, the bombings continued, and yet we ignored it, to keep the Americans happy.

The bombing has resumed once again, another soldier has been killed, so far in spits and spats; but as many of the Israeli leadership - across the political spectrum - have pointed out, little attacks become larger attacks, and before long we will again have to engage in a full-scale operation. The time to show our resolve is here and now, as the attacks are Hamas' way of testing us and seeing how much we will let them get away with.

Like manipulative children who need a firm hand of guidance, we must respond immediately, missile for missle, until they learn that we will no longer roll over and play dead.

Even President Shimon Peres, a man with whom I never thought I would agree on anything, said at Davos, "What other country would sit back while ten missiles [if not more] attacked its citizens on a daily basis?" Did the Turkish representative walk out because his brain kicked in and went into overload, when he realized that even Israel has a right to defend itself?