Sharon’s political legacy: Livni and Lapid are in his debt

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Pulling Israel out of Gaza, Sharon created a new constituency of Israeli voters looking for peace but without compromising on security. Its impact is felt even today

His military prowess made him famous, his disregard for the rules infamous and his decision to pull Israel out of Gaza a legend, but few outside of Israel remember him as the unlikely father of the Israeli political center.

Kadima election poster (Photo: Gilad Kollorchik)
Kadima election poster (Photo: Gilad Kollorchik)

Following his overwhelming defeat in the 1999 elections,Benjamin Netanyahu resigned the Likud leadership, and Sharon was elected as his successor in Israel’s right-wing party.

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In 2001, with the Likud under his control, General Sharon ran against Ehud Barak in a special election for prime minister, and won by a landslide. Sharon was still the epitome of the Israeli rightwing: Militant, headstrong and unabashedly opposed to the land-for-peace formula.

But after two years of a brutal and bloody intifada, which left more than 4,000 Palestinians and Israelis dead, Sharon began to promote his plan for unilateral Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

The plan swayed neither to the left nor right: On the one hand it called for the uprooting of Israeli settlements, settlements Sharon himself had built as housing minister, yet it wasn’t leftist: its underlying rationale was not one of dialogue and peace, but rather a unilateral “disengagement” from the Palestinian people – a severing of a rotting umbilical cord, not an end to the occupation.

More importantly, the plan was primarily concerned with Gaza, and not with the West Bank.

Against all odds, and despite a severe internal crisis within the Likud, the Disengagement Plan took place in August of 2005; eight thousand settlers were removed from Gaza, and their homes demolished. In the aftermath and the not unexpected political fallout, Sharon announced his departure from the Likud to establish a new party – Kadima , or Forward.

The rationale behind the party’s formation was both ideological and political: Sharon had come to understand that he would not be able to realize his vision for the region through the Likud – yet it was obvious that he had no viable home in the Labor party that he despised, and which despised him just as much.

Pulling moderates from the Likud and disgruntled Labor MKs – among them current President Shimon Peres – Arik created ex nihilo a centrist party based around the premise of unilateral disengagement from Palestinians, a vaguely liberal ideology and a capitalistic agenda.

While it was far from being Israel’s first centrist party, Kadima succeeded where others had failed, overcoming classic political and ethnic fault lines and consolidating a constituency underrepresented on either the right or the left; both in terms of economy and security.

Unlike its political predecessors Shinui (Change) and before that Dash, which ran on a strong liberal and anti-religious agenda and failed to step beyond the niche of wealthy Ashkenazi voters, Kadima managed to pull in right-wing Sephardic votes – at the expense of the Likud – as well pragmatic and free-market oriented Labor voters.

Riding on Sharon’s political and military clout, Kadima managed to present a viable alternative to the classic left-right (Likud-Labor) divide. It allowed the middle class to vote for a two-state solution, without compromising on security. It was a peace-oriented jingoism of sorts.

Thus, Sharon, the man who always got his way, cashed in on a crisis of representation and facilitated a new type of politics in Israel – one unbound by international demands or messianic land-grabs.

Kadima’s impressive success in the elections after Sharon’s collapse consolidated the center as a long-term presence in the Israeli political scene; not so much as any specific party, but as a political force to be reckoned with.

And although Kadima failed to follow up on its 2006 victory, and its power seemed to slowly ebb away, the modest success ofTzipi Livni ‘s Hatnua and the massive win by Yair Lapid‘s Yesh Atidgive weight to the belief that there is a large number of Israelis still in search of a political home.

Lapid managed to pick up the votes that Livni and her Kadima successorShaul Mofaz lost, but the pool of voters over which they’re fighting is Sharon’s doing. Thanks to Sharon, a new constituency has been born in Israel.

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Startup Nation Critical Canvas

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English: rabinsky house in tel aviv עברית: בית...

English: rabinsky house in tel aviv עברית: בית רבינסקי בצל אביב, Original Image Name:בית רבינסקי בתל אביב, Location:רח’ גלבוע פינת שינקין (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cover of "Start-up Nation: The Story of I...

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Startup Nation Critical Canvas

Stephen Darori

Darori Capital with the Darori Foundation have committed have committed time and money to canvass the Israeli Government to open the doors to job opportunities in the Start Up nation of skilled High Tech Head Count who are not Jewish. The Shimon Peres Peace Center in Jaffa have also thrown their brand name in to this canvassing. Unfortunately the Center has new management and are still sorting out the gross mismanagement of the previous 4-5 years and we are niggling at Shimon Peres to make pubic  his support.. he definitely does but also where the cap of the “who is a Jew” issue and the extensive use of “Jew ” and “Jewish” in the Declaration of Independence ( and this is Netanyahu problems as well)  . We are not saying that they should be able in the long run to become citizens ( like Marc Zukerman is pushing in the US)  but rather they should be given long terms opportunities  to work in the Start Up Nation. We realize we are up and at the Concrete Barrier of Precedent and one of the most embedded principles from the Declaration of Independence but  the Innovative Start Up nation are adding startups  in threshold technologies like the Cloud and Bid Data far, far, far faster that the Academia in Israel can possible supply Israel Cloud and Big Data Specialist and capita . We already have Naftali  Bennet in our corner and most of the people that Yair Lapid relies on.   We haven’t got to Lapid yet but that is a no brainer ( sorry about the double pun)  but Lapid is getting an education experience  and while getting hammered in public ratings  is not inhibiting him introducing radical  change or shying away from painful decision making. You have to give him some kudos.. The two most influential Ministers in our corner but not publically as they certainly must wear other caps as well , are  Gideon Sa’ar and Binyamin Netanyahu . Neither of them can say Yay until we have a lot more support but one of the other sponsors  has had multiple conversations with Yaacov Neeman who says that the legislation to allow 10,000 even 100,000 high tech Indian and Berkley and Stanford Grads to come and work in Zion , is relatively easy but the real problem is ironically accommodation in the Mercaz . It is apparently incredibly difficult finding a flat for rental in Tel Aviv now and very expensive..

Until now we have been canvassing in stealth mode but have starting  going to the market  and opening the issue  but walking on egg shells .I expect to have punches thrown at me but not to be kicked in the hmmm

If you really want to understand how severe this problem is . Open a new Facebook account and join all the Israeli Job pages , plus things like Israel Lovers ( very active  and Tel Aviv Secrets etc)  and then watch what happens  especially at its peak on a Saturday night. People  ( very, very many unique Facebookers) post job vacancies in Israel ( largely in the White City of Tel Aviv) at a rate that is so fast , I can’t even read the postings. What happens if you define privacy levels as “avaible to everyone “, every time someone posts , it will with 2 other messages, appear on your screen,. When the 4th message is posted, the oldest of the 3 disappears and it happens so quickly, that no one can possibly read the messages on the screen before they dissappear. Obviously you can on the Facebook page read the message it was posted to. So in this respect , Facebook is now a great disruptive technology in the Recruitment Sector in Zion ( Israel)   .Startups are now recruiting directly through Facebook and 2500 ( personally think  the number is closer to 5000) independent recruiting personnel have effectively been cut out of the picture and quite frankly posting to Facebook is far more efficient and cuts out all the bullshit  of  independent recruiting personnel  “due diligence” screening. The startup themselves are the best  at deciding whether an applicant is a possible match or not. You can’t for, example , theoretically walk into a Big Data position , you will have to go through a learning experience in the beginning and given the high techies shortage in Zion, Big Data companies , are giving recent graduates that learning experience ..

I probably will be at the Cuikerman- Catalyst. I think their position really “sucks” in advocating and recommendation that the resources of Zionist Zion be diverted to the non=Jewish Diaspora  . If for example India, Russia , France even Lithuania ( 17 starts pitched at the DLD Innovation Tel Aviv Summit on the 16th October 2013) have an interesting technology, don’t finance it abroad, displace it to the White City Na Startup Nation and nail the development of the technology in Zion which brings me back to the “Startup Nation Critical Canvas”