It appears that perhaps the controversy surrounding the fortified emergency room at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital may provide the required ammunition for the launch of a renewed secularist party, one that may mimic the now-defunct Shinui Party, which earned the party 15 seats in the 16th Knesset based on its anti-religious platform.
Avraham Poraz, a former MK and cabinet minister affiliated with Shinui is already calling for the revival of the party to combat “religious and chareidi coercion”. Poraz explains that the government is simply not functioning properly, and the opposition leader, Kadima, lacks influence to compel change. Poraz acknowledges the influence of the secularists in the media, but states the secularist camp lacks influence in Knesset.
Another former Shinui MK, Ehud Rassabi agrees with Poraz regarding the need to renew the party, but he feels it doesn’t necessarily have to be defined as “secular”, but perhaps “liberal”.
Yet another Shinui veteran, Meli Polishook-Bloch has come out of the woodwork as well, calling the cabinet decision on Barzilai “the last straw” for secularists, unwilling to continue accepting the growing chareidi influence in government.
And yet another former Shinui MK, Ilan Leibovitch agrees as well, and it appears the core of the new Shinui party is already working towards reviving the party established by the late Tommy Lapid.
The four concur, that the chareidim have grown too powerful, and are no longer accustomed to real opposition, citing the chareidi influence in decisions concerning “parking lots, education, and eating chametz on Pesach”, confident that a renewed, albeit modified Shinui Party will emerge on the political scene before the next general election.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)