Ari Shavit
Haaretz (Opinion)
December 6, 2012 - 1:00am

Let's set aside values. Are we indeed prepared to reinforce our status as an occupying state that controls another people for a prolonged period? Let's set aside justice and morals. Are we indeed prepared to turn Zionism into an apartheid movement that denies millions of residents their basic rights? Let's set aside identity. Are we indeed prepared to exchange a Jewish democratic state for a state of ultra-nationalist zealotry that tramples on its minorities?

Let's set aside universal values, and Jewish values, and what Israel once aspired to be. In terms of national security, the political map that seems to be shaping up arouses aversion. The sharp right turn that the ruling party and its partners have taken is endangering the Jewish state's diplomatic, security and economic interests. It is likely to lead to a situation in which, very soon, Israel loses the last few bases of support it has left in the West and becomes a state that weakens itself to death.

Iran? Iran. The government that Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Zeev Elkin can set up will have the most limited ability to deal with the Iranian nuclear challenge. Since it will be conceived of in the West as an irrational government, no one will want to listen to its rational claims on the irrationality of Tehran. Since it will be conceived of as an illegitimate government of a country that is gradually becoming illegitimate, it will not have the necessary legitimacy to curb Iran, either diplomatically or militarily. An Israel that is controlled by "ultra-nationalism-is-our-home" parties will be an Israel that is isolated and weakened, whose ability to prevent the nuclearization of Iran is slim.

Deterrence? Deterrence. A government whose values are those of Likud MK Yariv Levin will be conceived of in the international community as if it were a government of Afrikaners. The Afrikaners do not have the right to self-determination and self-defense. Since they do not recognize the natural rights of others, their natural rights too are undermined. That being the case, the ability of the Israeli Afrikaners to use force against Hamas and Hezbollah will be close to nil. Any justifiable act of defense on their part will be seen as a war crime. Any wild settlement project will take them to the international court in The Hague. A Netanyahu painted in the hues of Levin will not enjoy the same umbrella of sympathy and forgiveness that Shimon Peres enjoyed with the Oslo Accords, or Ariel Sharon with the "road map," or Ehud Olmert with the Annapolis talks. With a backward kind of logic, precisely this ultra-nationalist leadership that strives to be strong will be the weak leadership of a weak country whose strategic situation is in dire straits.

Economics? Economics. The bitter herbs that the European Union is dishing out to us this week are merely the first course. Let's not get things wrong: Everything was planned in advance and known in advance. While the prime minister and foreign minister were busy celebrating the fact that they had prevented the diplomatic tsunami of 2011, the Palestinians, Europeans and Americans were working diligently to prepare the diplomatic tsunami of 2012 and 2013. All they were waiting for was the reelection of Barack Obama as America's president. Now, when the Democratic regime in the United States is stable and sure, there is no Sheldon Adelson in the world who can hold back a coalition of progressive forces in the West with zero tolerance for a continuation of the occupation and settlements.

If the wild construction in the territories continues, the diplomatic protest gestures will soon become legal and commercial protest gestures that will badly harm the Israeli economy. Supporters of the Likud will learn the hard way that there is a price tag to electing Moshe Feiglin, and the citizens of Israel will learn the hard way that there is a price tag to electing Feiglin's devoted supporters.

Thin out your stock portfolio, dear readers. The Israel of Likud Beitenu is an Israel that is going to crash into the wall. In another month and a half, Israelis will go to the polls. To our great regret, they won't find in the voting booths a worthy and high-quality alternative in the center-left bloc. But whoever votes for the extremist slates of the new right-wing bloc must know exactly what he is voting for - a weak Israel. An Israel that insists on national pride but that is harming national security and eroding national fortitude in a dangerous way.


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