|A MAJORITY OF ONE?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces his most serious crisis to date.
January 22, 1998
in this forum:
Was Foreign Minister Levy's resignation political posturing? How much can the U.S. actually achieve in the peace process? What are the chances that the prime minister will use the divisiveness of redeployment to dissolve the Knesset and call for new elections himself? Are the Members of Knesset willing to dissolve the government altogether and run for re-election themselves? Isn't it possible that Mr. Netanyahu will survive this crisis as well? Viewer Comments
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Adam Rosenberg of Arlington Heights, IL, asks:
With regards to Foreign Minister Levy's resignation, how much of it was political posturing and how much of it was based on legitimate concerns for the economically underprivileged, most notably the Sephardim? Was not Mr. Levy's Gesher Party losing support amongst the Sephardim to the National Religious Party?
Dr. Ehud Sprinzak, professor of political science at Hebrew University and visiting scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, answers:Levy's resignation had to mostly do with the personal distrust between him and Netanyahu, and Levy's conviction that Netanyahu had been lying to him constantly. I am not sure of Levy's real concern for the economically underprivileged, but this had really been his major stock in trade.
After having been repeatedly let down on these matters by Netanyahu, including no consultation with him on budget cuts, Levy had almost no alternative but to resign. His repeated resignation treats, in the past, would have made him the laughing stock of Israeli politics if he did not made good on his word this time. Levy's disagreement with netanyahu on the peace process, and his anger at making Sharon a major foreign and security player, also played a role in this resignation.
Dr. Amos Perlmutter, professor of politics at American University, answers:
Concerning Foreign Minister Levy. All of it was political posturing. The argument concerning the economically underprivileged was disproved in a piece published by Ha'aretz, a liberal paper, a week ago interviewing people of Levy's constituency in the city of Bet Shemech. Several individuals told the reporter, "we are no longer eating humus." We are now well-to-do, live in good housing, and above all we support Netanyahu because he is dedicated to the state, to complete Eretz Israel, to smashing Palestinian terrorism, and we don't care about Levy who pretends to be the champion of the underprivileged. We the Jews of Morocco are no longer underprivileged.