Forwarded from the Other Front

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Jun 13 07:30:13 MDT 2000

This week's edition of The Other Front is on line, with articles

*The Death of Assad: Golan Syrians in Mourning
*Barak's Ruling Crisis (see below)
*The Akel Family: Home near Hebrew University to be Demolished
*Latest in Settlement Expansion
*The Histadrut Calls Off General Strike
*Refugees: Area Camps Celebrate Opening of Cultural Center
*Refugees: Another Petition Affirms the Right of Return
*News Briefs
*AIC Publication: Facts on the Golan Heights

We are located on the Alternative Information Center's website at

by Sergio Yahni

The victory achieved by organized labor on Sunday is part of
a general ruling crisis that the Barak government is facing.

Last Wednesday the government lost the vote in a bill by the
opposition that calls for new elections. Forty-eight MKs
supported the government (including Hadash, Tajamu', and
Ra'am, Arab parties that are part of the opposition). Sixty-one
MKs voted against the government, including the National
Religious Party (Mafdal), Shas and Israel Ba'aliah, all of
whom are still members of the coalition. The absurd situation
is then created where in the government sit ministers that
practically voted no confidence in themselves by calling for
new elections.

Shas' 17 MKs voted with the opposition as a warning to the
Prime Minister in his apathy in the fight against Meretz's
Minister of Education, who is in constant opposition to Shas'
educational system "El HaMa'ayan". Mafdal and Israel
Ba'aliah voted with the opposition in protest to the Israeli
"concessions" in Abu Dis and other developments in the
political process with the Palestinians.

Despite the large majority achieved by the opposition, none of
the political parties represented in parliament are interested
in immediate elections, rather are interested in showing the
weakness of the Barak government. This weakness is part of a
ruling crisis, where none of the three major politicaL parties
are able today to establish a stable coalition.

Despite the high number of votes that Barak received in the 1999
elections, his government cannot achieve a popular basis outside
the parliament due to its anti-popular economic policy which
attacks the social rights of the most impoverished: the
unemployed, women, and organized labor. If he attempts to
create a government coalition with the openly neo-liberal and
anti-religious party of Shinui together with the Arab parties,
he opens the doors to a populist coalition of  Shas and the
settlers, which will be able to mobilize huge masses in the

There exists a street fight for the same constituency in this
zero sum game: votes that go to Shas come from the Likud and
vice versa. Neither Shas, nor the Likud are yet ready to test
who will win. At the same time, Shas knows that today, towards
the new elections, the Likud is in a better position – they are
an active opposition while Shas has stayed in the government
without achievements. The same situation is true between Meretz
and Shinui. So, if Barak gives-in to Shas' demands Meretz
immediately becomes a factor of instability because of its
political war with Shinui, but if he doesn't give-in, then Shas
becomes a factor of instability.

With such a situation, Barak couldn't let the organized labor
movement become one more subversive factor. Paradoxically,
despite their oppositionist rhetoric, the only political parties
represented in the parliament that do not attempt to become a
destabilizing factor for the Barak government are the communist-
led Hadash, the Palestinian nationalist Tajamu', and the
Islamic-led Ra'am. None of these political forces attempt today
to combine parliamentary instability with popular unrest.

Louis Proyect

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