Mungkinkah slogan “Satu Malaysia” yang dirujuk sebagai “1Malaysia” dan dilaungkan Perdana Menteri, Najib Razak bagi mengambil hati masyarakat majmuk di Malaysia, ditiru dari pendekatan politik Israel?
Ia berikutan konsep One Israel pertama kali diumum tokoh politik Israel Yitzhak Yitzhaky pada 14 Oktober 1980 dan diperkukuh oleh pemimpin PArti Buruh, ehud barak sebagai strategi politik dalam pilihanraya Israel 1999.
Yang diPertua Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam Universiti Sains Malaysia (MPIUSM), Muhammad Hanif Alias pula berkata persamaan itu mungkin pengaruh gerakan Freemason yang didalangi golongan Yahudi.
“Mereka licik dan pintar serta cuba mengatur pemimpin dunia,” katanya yang tidak menolak kemungkinan Satu malaysia hanya slogan politik berikutan Umno kuat berbau perkauman.
Sasterawan dan aktivis politik, Azizi Abdullah menyifatkan slogan itu jika benar ditiru dari Israel menunjukkan pemimpin Barisan Nasional (BN), khususnya Najib sebagai pemimpin tiada maruah.
“Asyik tiru gaya orang lain, pinjam orang lain buat apa, buatlah sendiri. Saya tidak tahu apa bendanya Satu malaysia. Mengarut saja.” katanya ketika dihubungi Suara Keadilan.
Carian internet mendapati konsep itu menggabungkan tiga parti utama Israel : Labour, Gesher, dan Memad bagi menarik perhatian rakyat dan menjadi gabungan parti terbesar dalam sejarah Israel.
Konsep One Israel berakhir berikutan parti Gesher menarik diri dari gabungan pada 4 Ogos 2000 berikutan pembabitan Barak dalam kem David bersama Yasser Arafat.
Tidak kurang menarik ialah konsep Wawasan 2020 yang diilhamkan oleh mentor Najib, Dr. mahathir Mohamad pada tahun 1991 sebagai dasar, juga seakan-akan dicedok dari konsep Israel 2020.
Dasar itu bertujuan meletakkan Malaysia sebagai negara maju, adalah strategi perancangan yang pertama kali diumumkan dalam ucapan Dr. Mahathir bertajuk ‘Malaysia: The Way Forward“.
Sebenarnya, Israel 2020 adalah satu pelan induk yang dirangka ahli politik dan ekonomi Israel sejak 1948 hungga 1951, diketuai seorang jurutera, ariel Sharon sebelum diganti Prof. Adam Mazor dari pelbagai latar belakang.
(Artikel ini boleh didapati dalam Suara Keadilan edisi cetak, 18-25 Ogos 2009)
Barak’s ‘One Israel’
Israeli Opposition Leader Ehud Barak has had a good couple of weeks. First, on March 4, he managed to put together the “One Israel” bloc, the linchpin of his plans to re-position his Labor party to gain more swing votes and deliver him government in the Israeli elections scheduled for May 17. Then, the results of an inquiry by the Israeli State Comptroller, released on March 15, cleared Barak of any improper conduct during the 1992 Tzeelim training accident, hopefully clearing him of allegations which have dogged his political career since he retired as IDF Chief of Staff to eventually become Foreign Minister under Shimon Peres in 1996. And finally, opinion polls have taken a turn for the better for Barak, moving him from a position where he was at best neck and neck with Prime Minister Netanyahu to a position where he seems to have opened up a lead over Netanyahu of at least five percentage points (although Israeli opinion polling is notoriously inaccurate).
Israeli political analysts have begun to rethink their political wisdom. A few weeks ago, the majority view was that, barring a major scandal or political shake-up, Netanyahu was more likely than not to retain government. Today, the majority view is that election results are at this point too close to call. However, so far Barak is doing everything right.
One Israel is a new electoral coalition of Labor, the Gesher party associated with former Likud Foreign Minister David Levy, and Meimad, a party that marries a religiously observant supporter base and dovish views on the peace process. Under agreements signed between the three, the combined One Israel list will see the Labor party list of candidates, established in party primaries last month, modified to include a number of candidates from the two other parties. Gesher is to get three safe positions for its candidates, including the Number 3 spot (behind Barak and former party leader Shimon Peres) for Levy, and a promise that Levy can have a senior ministerial position in any Barak government. Meimad receives one safe slot, one doubtful slot, and a promise that a Meimad leader who is not a Knesset member will be a cabinet minister. (Changes to Israeli electoral laws in 1992 make it permissible for up to half the Cabinet to non-elected.)
The One Israel concept has been pursued by Barak since last year as a way to make his candidacy more acceptable to the large number of Israelis who would never vote for Labor. For many Israelis, Labor has been seen as elitist, leftist, snobbish and dominated by European secular Jews (Ashkenazi) to the exclusion of both the large number of Israelis who hail from the Middle East and North Africa (Sephardi) and the religiously observant. One Israel has been Barak’s attempt to cure that stigma. It is an idea that is modelled on several forebears; one is Tony Blair’s transformation of the British Labour Party into “New Labour,” another is the “One Jerusalem” coalition developed by the long-serving Labor-aligned Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kolleck, which kept him in power for more than 20 years despite the unpopularity of the Labor party in the city generally.
The specific parties that One Israel brings into the Labor fold theoretically represent precisely those political sectors which have been most suspicious of Labor, and which Labor most needs to reach out to if it is to have any chance of securing government.
Levy and his Gesher movement offer Labor the opportunity to obtain greater support among Jews hailing from the Middle East and North Africa. Sephardim are generally poorer on average than Ashkenazim, often live in outlying areas with high unemployment, and generally resent what they see as the condescending attitude of the Ashkenazim who largely dominate the country’s elites. They also frequently blame Labor, in power from 1948 to 1977, for the poor economic conditions and social discrimination they experienced during the early years of the state.
Levy is of Moroccan origin, and himself the product of one of the poorer Sephardi neighbourhoods. He was originally a protege of Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin, but after Begin’s departure from the political scene, came into conflict with his successors, Shamir and Netanyahu, over social welfare for his constituents and his own ambitions within the Likud party. This eventually led to the formation of his Gesher party, first as a faction within the Likud and later as an independent party. Conflicts over Netanyahu’s failure to implement promised social spending led Levy to leave the governing coalition last year. Barak has been reaching out to Sephardi voters since his selection as Labor leader, for instance, by offering a public apology for Labor’s past policies, and clearly hopes that the addition of Levy and Gesher can win him some votes in the Sephardi sector.
One Israel faces significant competition for Sephardi votes from the Centre Party leader Yitzhak Mordechai, a Kurdish Sephardi, and the religious Shas party, which is able to garner almost all the religious Sephardi vote.
Meimad, it is also hoped, can attract some religious voters to Labor. Religious voters, who are about 20% of the Israeli population, are even less likely to vote for Labor than Sephardi voters. In many religious neighbourhoods in 1996, votes were 98% for Netanyahu, and only 2% for Labor leader Peres.
For its future political survival Labor must increase its vote among religious and Sephardi Israelis because demographics are against the Labor party. Political analysts say that changes in Israeli population demographics have made the right-left divide in the Israel population approximately 55%-45% since the late 1970s. And since this period, the Likud has come out ahead in most of the elections. Furthermore, the faster population growth in the religious and Sephardi communities, as well as the influx of immigrants from the Soviet Union, is making matters worse for Labor as time passes. Unless Labor can re-position itself to capture larger segments of these three communities, it may gradually drift into perpetual opposition and political irrelevance.
This is one reason that, unusually for Israel and despite being Israel’s most decorated General, Barak has chosen to focus on social issues as the centrepiece of his campaign. While Netanyahu hammers his ability to protect Israel’s security in radio and television interviews, Barak has used many election appearances as opportunities to tell stories about elderly women unable to get hospital treatment, and about the effects of unemployment on families, and to promise remedies. His hope is to gain a “hip-pocket vote” from some segments of the Sephardi community, and as part of this process he needs to overcome the stigma against voting Labor to do it.
Levy, in part, gives Barak this opportunity and he was quick to exploit it. Within days of the signing of the One Israel agreement, Levy and Barak were out campaigning together in several poor towns with a heavily Sephardi population, normally Likud heartland.
However, there are some positive signs. Barak’s success in getting his One Israel project off the ground seems to be reflected in improved poll numbers. Polls in late February had placed Barak barely neck and neck in a one-on-one contest with Netanyahu. A poll on March 13 showed Barak ahead on two party preferred by 5%. And Barak also continues to increase his lead over the third major candidate, former Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai of the new Centre Party.
On top of the One Israel success and the positive polls, Barak seemed particularly pleased with the results of report by Israel’s State Comptroller, an independent auditing and investigation body, into the 1992 Tzeelim II training accident. Barak was accused by some of the families of the 5 soldiers killed at Tzeelim of having fled the scene in his helicopter without seeing to wounded soldiers or taking one severely wound man, who later died, with him, and in newspapers reports of possibly having orchestrated an army cover-up of the circumstances behind the incident. When the report was released on March 15, Barak told the media “The blood libel to which I fell victim for several years, as a man and as chief of staff, comes to an end today.” The report exonerates him of both charges: it found that he did not leave until after all the wounded had been evacuated, and that there had been no cover-up.
Still, despite the gains of the past two weeks, there are almost two months until polling day, and likely, a further run-off poll to decide the Prime Ministership will be required two weeks after that. Despite his current poll lead, Israeli political experts do not rate Barak’s chances as more than even because there is still a large undecided segment, and the majority of undecided voters are aligned with the Israeli right and most likely to vote as they have in previous elections. Both these facts indicate that most of these votes will go to Netanyahu.
It is also the case that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been a much better media performer than Barak. It remains unclear whether Barak can overcome this clear disadvantage in the long run, especially as the fight for undecided voters heats up.
Furthermore, other parties have been moving to form alliances to counter Barak’s One Israel. The small right-wing Herut party of Benny Begin, the son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, has set up a joint electoral list with two other small right-wing parties, Moledet and Tkuma. Likud is talking to the right-wing Tsomet party, led by another former IDF Chief-of-Staff Raful Eitan, which is also likely to include some defectors from Gesher who did not follow Levy into the One Israel combination.
Barak has had a couple of good weeks, and the truth is, he badly needed them. Whether he can sustain his current momentum into an election victory on May 17 is still very much an open question.
Pejabat Ketua Angkatan Muda Keadilan