Apr 8, 2008

Quote of the Day (qotd)

Shas was not established; not for the outposts and not for the settlements. Shas was established to renew the glory to the crown [of the Sephardic community]. The dismantling of illegal outposts will not be a reason for us to leave the coalition.

----Communications Minister Ariel Attias (Shas)

The joke is that Shas was not established for the settlements.... but was only established for taking money. As long as Olmert keeps giving large payouts to Shas, they will find no reason to leave the coalition. As soon as Olmert refuses to give them some money, they will abandon the coalition.

Seriously though, I agree with Attias that Shas is not the settlement party, and their agenda never was the settlements, even if they, at times, supported settlement activity. The NRP, the Ichud Leumi, and others wave the flag of creating settlements. Shas does not, and therefore does not need to leave the government just because Olmert decides to cleanse a few mountains from Jews.

The question really is how much breathing room is Shas giving Olmert. Shas believes, or at least they say so publicly, that there are no serious negotiations taking place between Israel and the PA. It is all just a show. Therefore they feel comfortable staying in the coalition. As soon as it gets serious and Jerusalem, or other items that are beyond the Shas red line, are put on the table, in a serious fashion, they will jump ship.

Can they really know when Olmert is talking seriously with the PA and when he is just talking to make people think there are negotiations happening? I don't know, but I doubt it.

But even if they are able to know when the talks are serious and when they are not, it is clear that what will happen is that Olmert will come to an agreement on Jerusalem and call for new elections. He will run the elections declaring it a referendum on his peace initiative. By then, even with Shas leaving the government and elections being scheduled, it will be too late because what good leftist will vote against an imminent peace deal, even if it goes beyond what he would normally accept and agree to. We are at the edge of peace and you are going to reject it! So even if they would normally disapprove of talking about jerusalem, they would easily be swayed to support it once a deal had been reached. And Shas is letting those talks happen regularly and is just waiting for Olmert to finish the talks and call for new elections before they wake up.

As a side note, stickers were supposedly passed around the country, with a hig concentration being placed near the homes of the ministers of Shas, saying "Jerusalem for Gold", playing on the common expression "Jerusalem of Gold"


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