by Ari Shavit, Ha’aretz, October 11, 2012
But Netanyahu’s government failed to deal with Israel’s basic problems. It did not take advantage of the peaceful years in the West Bank to make progress dividing the land. It did not leverage the broad unity government to change the system of government and regulate relations with the ultra-Orthodox. It did not rebuild the state apparatus or give the people a sense of solidarity and hope. It ground Israel’s international legitimacy and internal enlightenment to dust. Netanyahu’s government wasted three and a half precious years on maneuvers, survival and foot-dragging without progressing toward some better future.
…In these conditions, a serious center-left bloc should have mobilized all forces at hand. It should have dropped the baggage and hostility from the past, settled arguments, limited its ego and joined hands. It should have brought to politics the best people and best ideas Israel can provide. It should have brought a new vision, new work plans, new political alignments. It should have launched a broad movement toward that future Netanyahu could not move toward.
But the center-left bloc did not do this. It entered the previous elections with three parties (Kadima, Labor and Meretz ) that theoretically could have united. It is heading for the current elections with six or seven parties (Labor, Kadima, Yesh Atid, Atzmaut, Meretz, a Tzipi Livni/Haim Ramon configuration, Ehud Olmert? ) with the parties wrestling furiously. It entered the previous elections with what the public considered two reasonable candidates for prime minister (Livni and Ehud Barak ). It is heading for the current elections with no such candidate.
New vision? There isn’t any. New work plans? None. New ideas? Only Shelly Yacimovich has any. New people? Here and there, a handful, average plus. The bloc claiming to be fighting for the state’s soul did not act as though it was. So it is heading for the moment of truth of the 2013 elections split, weakened, flaccid and petty.