Saving the right-wing camp

Polls are only polls, but we cannot close our eyes to them. Without a drastic change, the right-wing may face devastation. Opinion.

Uzi Baruch,

Leaders of the right-wing parties
Leaders of the right-wing parties
Flash 90

We must not believe the polls, but we must not ignore them, either. Certainly we cannot ignore them when they show that the situation is difficult and requires us to rethink our political strategy. Anyone who ignores it today cannot claim tomorrow that they "did not know."

A Channel 12 News poll Sunday night, as well as the previous polls, imply a single and very clear conclusion: The two political bodies to the right of the Likud, among the Religious Zionists and the ideological right, are, very simply, in danger of extinction.

We'll start with the United Right: The poll asked about a party which includes the Jewish Home, National Union, and Otzma Yehudit, despite the fact that it doesn't really exist. As it turns out, together with the National Union, the entire "bloc" is worth four Knesset seats. Meaning, it is very much teetering on the edge of the electoral threshold.

Let's move to the New Right: Here we need to use our experience with the party. It's not that great but it exists. When the party lists were submitted prior to April's elections, the New Right was polling at an average of eight Knesset seats. How it ended, we all know. The significance of this is that if the New Right is polling at five Knesset seats today, it may end up below the electoral threshold after the elections.

In short: The situation is difficult, even very difficult. The chance that both of these parties will cross the electoral threshold is negligible. The chance that both of these parties will remain below the electoral threshold is enormous.

In this situation, the right-wing has only three options:

The first option is the best one in this situation, and that is to completely join forces while creating a system for deciding the party list based on how popular the candidates are with the public, but which will not allow bias by organized bodies. The only way to do this right now, in the very short time left until party lists must be submitted (which is just two weeks and two days) is an enormous survey which will be conducted by the Survey Institute and which will examine the popularity of each of the leaders, MKs, and candidates on the lists. The results of the survey, which would be conducted in a way which allows this, will be what creates a single united list of all the parties to the right of the Likud. It's not simple but it's possible. It's not perfect but it will provide all the political bodies on the hard right with a chance of survival, even after the tsunami of the upcoming 2020 elections.

It's true, in this survey none of the leaders can be sure of himself, not [New Right leader, Defense Minister Naftali] Bennett and not [Jewish Home Chairman, Education Minister] Rabbi [Rafi] Peretz, not [Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar] Ben Gvir, and not [National Union Chairman, Transportation Minister Bezalel] Smotrich. That's why true greatness will be required of the leaders of all these political bodies in order for them to agree to this process. But since the other option is to be completely erased, perhaps there is room to expect this greatness of spirit will be found. This process also requires Rabbi Peretz and Ben Gvir to give up on the agreement they signed between themselves, but due to the fact that the agreement did not yet bring them definitely above the electoral threshold, it's not really certain that this is such a great sacrifice.

The second option is not as good an option, in all honesty, but it could be that there will be no way out of it. If the survey does not become reality, it could be that the solution which will prevent the right-wing from being completely erased is to redistribute the cards, and have the National Union, led by Smotrich, join together with the New Right.

The assumption until now has always been that this kind of union will significantly harm the New Right, due to Smotrich's facade of extremism, and even daydreaming. But anyone who has read the Transportation Minister's recent articles in Haaretz, and anyone who has seen his behavior in the past few months, understands that this concern, which was certainly justified previously, is in large part a thing of the past.

The Smotrich of today can definitely be the element which ensures that at least one of the parties to the right of the Likud - the union between the New Right and the National Union - will pass the electoral threshold. And what will be with Rabbi Peretz and Ben Gvir? What they wanted to be, will be. Someone who signs an agreement for a joint run when he has no ability to create a list that will pass the electoral threshold, will have no one to complain about but himself.

The third option is a grand collapse, as we described above. The problem is that this collapse won't just be the collapse of Religious Zionism in politics. We could probably live with that. This collapse may be the end of the right-wing government and mark the rise of the left, with the most right-wing party in the Knesset being the Likud. Are we even beginning to understand the significance of such a reality? That's not at all certain.

These are the three options. None of them are perfect. None of them are promising, by the way, a right-wing victory in the upcoming elections. But when the choice is between bad and horrible, we need to use logic and not give in to personal aspirations and wishes which lead all of us to devastation.