The Zionist Union is just the latest incarnation of Mapai, a party that has come to the end of its political viability in today’s landscape. What’s needed is something new.

There are soldiers, now and in the past, who would be willing to swear that they saw Palestinian territory residents holding large, symbolic, wooden keys during protests. These were held by children who weren’t born yet during the days of the second intifada, and who only herd of the first intifada from their grandparents’ stories. The stories of the key from the house on Bustros Street in Jaffa sound to them like our stories about Matityahu HaChashmonai (of the Hanukkah story -ed) or Ahasuerus (of the Purim story – ed) and their like.

What am I trying to say here? That the private and collective memory is probably not comprised of what is collected in a person’s grey matter, but of what’s jammed into people’s heads day and night. Benjamin Netanyahu imported this way of thinking from the US, and some of his people learned the art as well. They repeat the same words and phrases again and again, until they penetrate the heads of their potential voters. And they don’t underestimate the small stuff either. Those who make fun of these tricks is unlikely to go with their political camp anyway.

Trump. He may just have the last laugh. (Photo: AP)
Trump. He may just have the last laugh. (Photo: AP)


In today’s world, someone like Donald Trump could actually get elected president of the United States. The other side of the political isle will still tell jokes about him, but he may just get the last laugh. The reason for that is that many voters don’t care about ideologies, policy, and positions anymore. They determine their vote, for example in the US, by the atmosphere around them, the national and personal mood, and the candidates’ slogans. We like acting as the Americans do, and ideologies have fallen out of favor here as well.

We, like the Palestinians, pass our memories on to the next generations, mostly by way of small-scale stories rather than the large-scale agendas of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Berl Katznelson, and David Ben-Gurion. Did Jabotinsky really say that a Jewish Prime Minister in Israel would have an Arab deputy? You don’t say. Who is this Jabotinsky anyway? Was he even Jewish? When was he a member of the Likud party?

To be specific, I mean to say here that Mapai (the Israel workers’ party led by Ben-Gurion during the country’s early days, which turned into the Israeli Labor party, now the Zionist Union) in all its forms has come to the end of its political life. Nearly all of its leaders have changed its name in order to not remind people of the past, even though it was the party that made history and founded the state. People remember Mapai in its various forms as the root of all evil, and they pass that story down to their descendants.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky. When was he a Likud member? (Photo courtesy of the Jabotinsky Institute)
Ze’ev Jabotinsky. When was he a Likud member? (Photo courtesy of the Jabotinsky Institute)


Of this we might say that the mind is short, but memory is long. The current government took the leadership reigns, and it will do anything it can to extend the still-stinging memories of the DDT, the discrimination against Sephardic Jews, and everything else that the left considers to be side stories to the grand act of founding the country.

At the end of the ideology age, it’s time for the jugglers and magicians. Think about it: What do the Likud and Netanyahu really want? What was written in the Likud’s official platform for the last elections? No need to rack your brains on this one: It didn’t have one. And what was written in the Zionist Union’s platform? Here, too, no great work is needed to find out. This means that the two largest political forces in Israel have given up on ideas, visions, and hope. It’s just that one of these political forces is more well-liked by the public than the other.

PM Netanyahu. His Likud party didn't even have a platform for the last elections. (Photo: Knesset spokesperson)
PM Netanyahu. His Likud party didn’t even have a platform for the last elections. (Photo: Knesset spokesperson)


The meaning of this for those who do not favor our current government is this: build up, or look for, a new political force. In order to do this, a new political body needs to arise, which will reject the aura of the social-economic left. And will depart on a new stately-security-related way – much like the more moderate parties of today do with their ideologies.

In its current makeup, the Zionist Union seems more like a niche party. Niche parties are not serious contenders for leadership. MK Tzipi Livni of the Zionist Union likes to tell people in private conversations that she and her party are the hyphen that connects the words “Jewish” and “democratic” in the famous description of the State of Israel. She won’t be able to ride that hyphen much longer. It, too, will break.

As reported by Ynetnews