Dear Mr. Barak,
As one of those who voted Mr. Netanyahu into office, and has now voted him out, I would
like to have a word with you before you make your coalition decisions. I accepted your
invitation to join you in building a different future for Israel for one reason: Because I
couldnt accept Mr. Netanyahus coalition partners - Shas and the haredim. So
before you listen to Haim Ramon and Yossi Beilins cynical, corrupt arguments of why
it is not only acceptable but also desirable for you to get into bed with Aryeh Deri and
Menachem Porush the morning after, let me explain why it would be a mistake of
Despite the cynical political wisdom that goes that Shass 400,000 voters
cant be ignored, let me explain why they must be. This election was not only about
the peace process; it was about the vision of a society we want to build. The changes we
want to make. If a party composed of members who view democracy and the rule of law as
obstacles in their path is allowed to become one of the foundation stones of your new
government, then everything you try to build will collapse in time from the rot within.
If you take Shas in after one of the the most shockingly corrupt campaigns in
Israel s history; if you give them political power and public funding to pay off all
their campaign promises; if you give legitimacy to their vision of religion as
incantations, grave-visiting and magic amulets; if you continue to support their school
system which teaches these values to thousands of vulnerable children, then in the next
election, we can expect to see a million Shas voters, and 32 Knesset members.
The only way to prevent the growth of the dangerous policies Shas represents, is to cut
off their food supply, i.e. the public funding, which, let us not forget, comes from the
pockets of the other three and a half million voters in this country that didnt vote
And lets not kid ourselves. It doesnt matter if Deri resigns or not. Shas
without Deri has the same platform. And many other leaders just like him to take his
The Haredim also have had their say. They had their demonstration against the High
Court of Justice. They flexed their power muscles in squeezing money from Netanyahus
government. To let them join in with Shas in becoming another building block in your
coalition, is to seal our countrys fate on the road to Khomenism.
And if that happens, the peace process wont matter. Nothing will.
So, Mr. Barak, Ive given you my vote, the chance to become one of Israels
greatest leaders. Its an opportunity, a moment in our countrys history which
can seal our fate for generations to come. You have a social mandate, not just a political
Make the right decision. Dont be a politician. Be a leader.