the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at: www.shoshanakordova.com.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Strange bedfellows

This blog was first posted in June 2005, on Haaretz Underground (in the old days, before Peretz was Labor chairman, not to mention defense minister, and when Kadima was still a Sharon-led Likud). Slight changes have been made to the original post.

What if the Senate minority leader, Democratic National Committee chairman and head of the AFL-CIO were one and the same person?

The myriad conflicts of interest inherent in such an absurd arrangement combine to make the situation seem too odd to seriously consider. But in Israel (read: Tammany Hall), the guy with his finger on the strike button, the man who controls every union in the country – in a place where garbage disposal, health care and bank service are only some of the areas within the unions' reach – is not only a Knesset member representing one of Israel's two longest-standing parties, but is also a contender for chairman of that party.

That's right, I'm talking about that mustachioed Sderotnik from a bygone socialist era, Amir Peretz: Histadrut labor federation overlord, Labor Party chairman candidate and MK. Probably also student council president ("Vote for me and I'll make sure the teachers go on strike during midterms AND finals!").

Granted, you wouldn't think anyone in their right mind would actually vote for Peretz to represent the Labor Party - which recently completed its merger with One Nation (previously headed by... well, I'm sure you've guessed by now), thereby paving the way for you-know-who to make his takeover bid.

Come to think of it, Amir, why don't you just scrap Labor and go for the Likud chairmanship? Okay, so it couldn't work while Arik is still heading the country, but he's pretty old and under a lot of stress. Anyway, the way things have been going lately, that party is so split you just might win. And there are two advantages: You get to go tooth and nail with Bibi, the finance minister you love to hate, and we all know those Likud Central Committee members will do just about anything – even vote for you – to get that juicy government job they've always wanted.

Pundits like to say that politics makes for strange bedfellows. But here, politicians just get in bed with themselves. The problem is that the only ones who get screwed in this union are the people whom power-hungry leaders like Peretz purport to represent.

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