ZOA: Sharon’s Firing Of Two Ministers Erodes Legitimacy Of Future Israeli Cabinet Votes
June 4, 2004

NEW YORK – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is deeply concerned by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to fire two cabinet ministers in order to guarantee a majority vote in favor of his Gaza surrender plan. This action will erode the legitimacy of the outcomes of future cabinet votes.

“The firing of government officials in order to manipulate votes or events is sadly reminiscent of Nixon’s infamous Saturday Night Massacre in 1973, when Archibald Cox and other officials were abruptly forced to leave the government,” said ZOA National President Morton A. Klein.

The ZOA president said that these firings could create an atmosphere of intimidation, which will make every cabinet minister feel that he or she could be fired if they disagree with Prime Minister Sharon. This erodes the legitimacy of future cabinet votes, by making cabinet members more reluctant to speak their minds or contribute alternative perspectives on various issues, for fear of being fired.

The ZOA notes that two months ago, Prime Minister Sharon promised to abide by the results of the Likud Party referendum on the Gaza surrender plan. When the vote went against him (by 60% to 40%), he went back on his pledge. Then he said he would abide by a cabinet vote on the Gaza plan. When he saw that vote would go against him, he ignored his second pledge and abruptly fired two ministers in order to artificially create a one-vote majority for the Gaza surrender.

While Prime Minister Sharon has deviated widely from his own election platform by proposing to unilaterally retreat from Gaza and forcibly expel more than 8,000 Jews from their homes, the ministers whom he has fired, Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Tourism Minister Benny Elon, have remained true to the principles of their election platform, which are similar to Sharon’s Likud platform.

ZOA President Klein noted that “Ministers Lieberman and Elon have been loyal and articulate defenders of Israeli security and the Jewish people’s right to the Land of Israel. Sharon knew their positions when he invited them to join his cabinet, and their consistent and principled adherence to their own widely-known positions is no basis for firing them.”

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