There were multiple winners of the Israeli elections and there were multiple losers of the Israeli elections.
The winners were Ariel Sharon, Amram Mitzne and Yose Beillin.
Sharon wanted to double the strength of the Likud in the Knesset. He did just that – from 19 to 38 so that he could lead the country into either war or peace with a clear mandate to lead.
Mitzne wanted to lead a small, compact Labor Party based on a new concept for the negotiation process: Unilateral Withdrawal and Surrender of Territory, instead of abiding by the reciprocity principles of the Oslo process, in coordination with the western nations Mitzne has an assortment of MK’s with strong international connections, beginning with Shimon Peres.
Yuli Tamir, the titular head of Peace Now, which succeeded in raising more than $2.2 million per annum from abroad and which has recently launched a campaign in the US to demand that US aid to Israel be predicated on Israeli dismantling of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria. Katif and the Golan, and that US AID funds be deducted for any and all expenses incurred in “settlement activity”. See the website of Americans for Peace Now for further info on that campaign.
Rav Michael Melchior, who as the chief Rabbi of Norway maintains contacts with Scandanavian governments that continue to pour funds into Israeli peace groups. Michael’s father, Rav Bent Melchior, in Denmark, has joined Herbert Pundak’s efforts in Denmark to fund TAYOUSH, and organization that works towards the unilateral withdrawal of Israel from beyond the 1949/67 lines. Herbert Pundak is the father of Ron Pundak, the head of the Shimon Peres Center for Peace. As the head of the Israel government commission on anti-semitism, Melchior established useful international connections with all Jewish organizations.
Yitzhak Herzog, the Barak cabinet secretary who was the legal counsel to the Peres Center and who in the past raised funds through the Kahanoff and Evergreen Foundations in Canada, both of which are connected to his cousin, Shira Herzog Working with Tamir, Melchior, and Herzog, Mitzne can work with Peres to raise a war chest for the next election campaign. which can also finance effective work with the media.
Yose Beillin is the other winner of this campaign. He maneuvered his way out of a Knesset seat by accepting an unrealistic position in Meretz and will now be able to organize his EU-funded operation without any pretenses of accountability to the Israeli electorate.
The losers of this campaign are Natan Scharansky, Yose Sarid and the Oslo process:
Scharansky tried to be all things to all people. He played hard line while his record at the Wye conference in October 1998 showed that he was part of the Israeli negotiating team that unliterally sacrificed much of Israel’s sovereignty to the US. He appealed to religious audiences while at the same time ran a political party that endorsed opening of businesses and public transportation on Shabbat. Meanwhile, he asked the government of Israel to recognize Jewish status of non-Jews.
Sarid became obsolete, parroting slogans of the Oslo process that no longer had any meaning, while his sardonic attacks on Israel’s religious community were overshadowed by the direct attacks of years to come.
The Oslo Process died in these elections. The 12 MK’s of Meretz and the 44 MK’s of Labor (1992-1996) had proven to be a winning formula for Rabin. These two parties now constitute only 25 MK’s, less than half of what it took to advance the Oslo process accords of 1993-1995.