Shas opts for benefits: Selling out for the time being

Key Word: “Business” as usual

Vulnerable PM Olmert is getting moral support from an unlikely place..

(JPOST) With only a day left before the publication of the final Winograd report on the Second Lebanon War, Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and assured him that Shas would back him. Rabbi Yosef, however, reiterated that Shas would not remain in the government if the unity of Jerusalem became an issue in peace talks with the Palestinians.

“Fear not, and do not be dismayed, for I am with you,” Rabbi Yosef told the prime minister, in an allusion to Deuteronomy that may have also been a wry hint at Shas’s red lines. In the beginning of the verse, Moses tells the Israelites: “Behold, the Lord thy God has set the land before you; go up, take possession.” [...]

Shas, the in theory right wing religious party has apparently opted to go for the full benefits package, Chief Rabbi included. This little game everyone is playing about how Jerusalem is the final core issue that is not being discussed or on the table in negotiations is richer than whipped cream. I certainly hope Shas isn’t planning on spinning this as a ‘we saved Jerusalem’ moment, seeing as their bowing to Olmert in return for the religious ministry’s fresh new revival under Shas’ authority is no victory for a unified Jerusalem by any stretch.

If anything, the inability of Shas to align with the greater right in general at halting the Kadima mandate, at the critical time of the Winograd Report yet.. Is a stunning example of many peoples unfortunate distrust of the religious parties in Israel. It seems cold hard cash or some political power as collateral is often more than enough to buy the priesthood and access to the altar in Jerusalem, just like troubled days of old..

Left wing proponents have reacted with nearly incoherent glee..

Peace Now Director-General Yariv Oppenheimer expressed strong disapproval of voices calling for the dismantlement of the coalition and voiced hope that Olmert would remain in power and further the peace process.

“Israel’s security is of no less importance than personal responsibility, the diplomatic process is no less important than personal responsibility and the rehabilitation of the military is no small thing,” Oppenheimer was quoted by Army Radio as saying. “Must we do away with the entire package and send Israel into an election frenzy?

Huh? In any case who needs a democracy anyhow. Funny how those on the left are always seemingly willing to sacrifice almost anything when it furthers another goal, why on earth would we concern ourselves with the hassle of hearing the Israeli electorate’s clearly unhappy will when we can just salvage this disaster government and keep my Peace Now bank accounts plump & full and the peace train running at full steam ahead? A real man of the people!

LINK UPDATE: More flattering Peace Now talk at SoccerDad’s