2 Months Same as Cash*
be easy to reverse," Mr. Tsur
The blame is falling on
Meretz. With a centrist leader-
ship arising in Labor, led
by outgoing Foreign Minister
Ehud Barak, the call is going
out to distance Labor from Shu-
lamit Aloni, Yossi Sarid and
Meretz's other outspoken pro-
But Meretz is not about to
step aside. "Labor leaders have
this long-standing habit of blam-
ing others for their own failures,
instead of accepting the blame
themselves and stepping down,"
said Sarid. He accused Mr. Peres
and Labor of losing the election
"because they didn't put up a
fight. We were the only ones to
put up a fight."
The virtually unanimous
haredi vote for Mr. Netanyahu
also demands a cultural expla-
nation. Of all Labor politicians,
none was so close to the hared-
im as Mr. Peres. He protected
their interests — fighting
against moves to draft yeshiva
students, and ensuring funding
for Torah institutions. He kept
up excellent ties with powerful
rabbis, and was respected by
them as a politician who kept his
In addition, Mr. Peres' wife,
Sonia, is a pious woman who
consults with rabbis and tire-
lessly does mitzvot for the sick
and needy. By comparison, Mr.
Netanyahu is thrice married,
and an admitted adulterer. No
matter — the haredim did every-
thing in their power to bring Mr.
The Sephardim, most of
whom are "traditional" Jews but
not strictly observant, along with
the more formally religious, felt
alienated from the left's idealis-
tic vision of a Middle East where
Jews would no longer be sur-
rounded by enemies.
"The!-New Middle East' and
the 'Song of Peace' — these sym-
bols are very foreign to religious
and traditional Israelis on the
right," said Tel Aviv University
Professor Shlomo Dashan.
"These people are prepared to
support dovish policies if they
are portrayed as serving Israel's
and their own personal interests.
But this secular messianic no-
tion of peace and harmony in the
future was completely rejected
by the religious. For them, there
is only one Messiah."
Before the 1992 election,
Yossi Sarid promised that Rabin
would be "Meretz-ized." He
was right. And it went over
wonderfully with the Israeli left,
and in the Arab and Western
But not with hundreds of
thousands of other Israelis.
Even if there hadn't been a
single terror attack since the
Oslo Accords, they still likely
would have voted against Mr.
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