Eitam: ´Public is Tensely Quiet, Waiting to Act´

MK Effie Eitam is calling for a merger of sorts between the Likud and the National Union/National Religious Party, with the goal of toppling the Olmert government.

Contact Editor
Hillel Fendel, | updated: 12:03

Speaking at a Likud gathering in a Tel Aviv hotel Thursday night, MK Eitam bemoaned the fact that "there is currently no opposition." He called upon the Likud members to agree to unite in one large opposition party - or at least to work together.

"Now that Avigdor Lieberman has left the right-wing camp and joined the government," Eitam told Arutz-7's Yedidya HaCohen, "we must unite all the forces to topple the Olmert government. Just today, Olmert said that Abu Mazen doesn't realize how far he [Olmert] is willing to go politically. Therefore, in light of the challenges that face us, and after the war in Lebanon, the most important thing to do now is to cooperate."

Prime Minister Olmert, speaking at a Kadima Party gathering on Thursday, called upon PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to meet with him and conduct peace negotiations. "When he sits with me, he will be surprised to see how far we are willing to go," Olmert said.

Eitam's Background
MK Eitam retired from the army at the rank of Brig.Gen. when - it was widely agreed - his religious and right-wing views led his superiors not to promote him. He entered politics as the head of the National Religious Party in April 2002, resigned from the Sharon government in protest of the Disengagement plan, and later joined the National Union party - which merged with the NRP in time for this year's elections. He has long championed the cause of a large and united right-wing party.

Currently, his goal is simply to have the parties work together both inside and outside the Knesset. "An actual merger is not on the agenda at the moment," Eitam said, "but people feel the need to strengthen themselves and find channels by which to recover from the depression brought on by Gush Katif and the war in Lebanon.
Right now, the public is quiet, despite the revulsion they feel for this government; they feel there is nothing they can do in the current political constellation."

Calm Before the Storm
"There is great anger and disgust," Eitam continued, "but it is not being manifest. The sense is that the public is like a coiled spring, ready to burst and act - but they need a leadership that will guide and encourage it. Today, the heart of the people is with the national camp, and our opinions and those of the Likud are in the center of the consensus."

Eitam, who has met with Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu recently, said that some contacts have been underway between the parties. "We're not yet under the marriage canopy, but just in the dating stage," he said. "These things take time. The Likud people know that the energies are found in the religious-Zionist camp, and they are happy about cooperating with us in joint activities in the field."

In short: "With Lieberman having joined the government, we once again have a situation of a hated leftist government taking over, and we have to topple it."