Friday, January 30, 2009

A Message from Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Dear Voters:

You have been urged by Benjamin Netanyahu not to vote for small parties.

How typical of this non-heroic politician, who thinks primarily in quantitative terms.

But know well, it is not the quantity but the quality of MKs a party gets into the Knesset that will be decisive on the all-important issue of a Palestinian state to which Netanyahu is committed, but obscures by saying he is opposed to the division of Jerusalem.

The question facing voters is not simply the size of a party but the quality of its leaders especially their political courage and fidelity to the Land of Israel. Polder Likud leaders like Netanyahu, who voted for withdrawal from Gaza when he was a minister in the Sharon Government, and General Moshe Ya'alon, who implemented that decision even though he had previously warned the Knesset against it.

Can such men be trusted to stand tall and withstand American and world pressure to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, hence to expel more than 100,000 Jews from their homes—even though this would demoralize and bankrupt the country, encourage many to leave, and of course discourage aliya? Their past deeds, not their present words in an election campaign, should guide you.

Give me a few courageous Jews in the Knesset to oppose another expulsion, which Professor Benzion Netanyahu called a "crime" when the Sharon Government betrayed the Jews of Gush Katif. Give me a few courageous Jews like Yonatan Netanyahu to stand tall and rally the people across the country to rise up against the betrayal of our country, and there will be no expulsion and no Palestinian state, that would herald the extinction of the one and only Jewish homeland.

We have such Jews in the National Union Party, and you can swell their ranks by voting for this party on February 10.

Do not be deceived by Benjamin Netanyahu's propaganda. Back in 1977, a small party called Shinui astounded the county by winning 15 Knesset seats. No one predicted such a thing. Israel's geo-strategic situation at that time was not ominous, far, far removed from the existential threaten now confronting us. Disillusioned with the Labor Party, there were hundreds of thousands of floating votes that went to Shinui.

Today there are hundreds of thousands of floating votes of people who remember how they were betrayed by the Likud Party when its leader, Ariel Sharon, adopted Labor's policy of "unilateral disengagement" from Gaza. That policy was rejected by 75 percent of the Jews who voted in the January 2003 election. These Jews, faithful to the Land of Israel, will be voting in the February 10 election. Very few trust Benjamin Netanyahu, but see his alternatives as worse—Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and Labor leader Ehud Barak a worse.

If hundreds of thousands of voters opposed to a Palestinian state vote for National Union, then quantity will bolster quality. More courageous and more faithful men and women will enter the Knesset, and they will prevent the betrayal of this country.

Yes, give me one good man or woman in the Knesset and he or she will do more than 10 wish-washy politicians. This is the Jewish teaching, the teaching that enabled Jews to withstand the world.

Professor Paul Eidelberg teaches at Bar Illan University in Israel and is the director of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy.

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