Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister, current Defense Minister and head of the Israeli Labor Party quit his own party on Monday (1/17/11). He formed a new “centrist” party (called Independence) and left the already decaying Labor Party in complete disarray. In a sentiment that is reverberating throughout Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported:
Labor dominated Israeli politics for the country’s first three decades, producing a string of prime ministers that included Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion, and the slain prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin. Mr. Barak briefly served as prime minister in 1999 and 2000.
But in recent years, Labor has been reduced to a midsize party, with just 13 seats in the current parliament. Many party members hold Mr. Barak responsible for the party’s demise, and accuse him of abandoning its socialist and dovish ideals to remain in power.
Yohanan Plesner, an [Israeli] lawmaker, said it was a sad day for Israel. ‘This is the day the Labor Party was buried for good,’ he said.
Not at all! It is a great day for Israel and for the West. It represents another nail in the coffin of the statist, leftist, progressive movement that brought so much damage to Western Civilization in the 20th century.
For several generations, the socialists who founded and ran the Labor Party completely dominated Israeli politics. They managed to take a country with arguably the greatest concentration of brain power, creativity and potential entrepreneurship and mire it in a collectivist funk. It is only in the last generation, during which the Israeli economy, having at last been freed from the shackles imposed largely by the Labor Party, has soared in a frenzy of free market activity.