Monday August 31, 2015
Israel Hayom
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Dr. Haim Shine

Israel's two-state election

The election results proved that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vision of a two-state solution for two peoples has materialized faster than expected. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' stubbornness in rejecting negotiations for a Palestinian state alongside Israel, thereby de-escalating a tense security condition, the fruit of Likud's foreign policy, led Israeli voters to realize the vision — with and among themselves.

Israeli citizens proved in this election what many have already known for a while: Two states exist simultaneously within Israeli society: The state located in Gush Dan (central Israel), and the state that exists in the periphery and religious neighborhoods (with Jerusalem as its capital). The cultural, social and heritage ties between these two are becoming increasingly undone, and if this process continues, it's possible that in the future, separate embassies will be opened to handle their foreign and domestic affairs. Suffice it to say that this isn't the first time in the history of the Jewish people that the Jewish kingdom was split in two.

An examination of the election results shows that voters for Yesh Atid's Yair Lapid, Labor's Shelly Yachimovich, Hatnuah's Tzipi Livni and Meretz's Zahava Gal-On reside primarily in the more affluent cities of Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Raanana, Hod Hasharon and Ramat Hasharon; and that voters for Likud-Beytenu and Habayit Hayehudi received most of their votes from the periphery and Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

If the social justice protests were the real story behind this election, the distribution of voters would have been exactly the opposite: Those with less should have voted, theoretically, for the center-left parties.

There is a large group of satisfied people in Israel who live the good life. The liberal individualism fits them like a glove. They live comfortably in their own bubble without empathy for their brothers on the front and in the periphery. These are the same citizens who wait for months to get new cars, struggle to get plane tickets abroad, and mostly just ask for affordable housing in a fancy northern Tel Aviv suburb near their parents. They have no interest in ideology; their whole desire is to live in the moment, be in the now. These voters are the eternal proof of Francis Fukuyama's thesis about the end of history, the victory of liberalism and the end of ideology.

The election result also signifies the realization of author Amos Oz's vision in his book "Here and There in the Land of Israel", written in 1982. In this vision, the dream to return to Zion is realized in the form of a town built along the Mediterranean shore, without the need to carry the annoying burden of the Jewish people's history. The city isn't Paris, but it isn't Jerusalem either.

One can understand the desire for a "normal life." There is only one problem: Those who try being normal in an abnormal regional reality come to discover rather quickly that they've essentially gambled with their own existence. I pray that when they awaken from the dream that we should live it up now since "after us, comes the Flood," it won't be too painful.

When the Yesh Atid trend passes, Likud will continue to exist. Only trees with deep roots can survive the winds of time. The Likud must fundamentally examine itself and internalize that, in the face of a hostile media, the only way to succeed is by going out into the field, strengthening ideological foundations, tending to those who reside in the economic and social periphery, and reinforcing Jewish heritage. Ultimately this is the only strong foundation at the base of our existence in this tiny land we call home. My friends who spend their time learning karate and judo and hanging out in pubs will understand quickly that the future cannot be mortgaged for the hedonism of today.

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