Well, you remember, my friends, I wrote a while back, that in the middle of a parliamentary term, the government had been dissolved and a new election was called (see: http://tinyurl.com/luu3kkq). The moment it happened, I knew the hardest part would be listening to the propaganda. But I’m proud to announce that I survived. Still have a full head of hair, and didn’t suffer the expected bouts of suicidal despair. All the same, I have to admit, it was hard listening to all the lies and distortions that people managed to cram into just a very…. few months of electioneering.
Eventually, the day of judgment arrived. According to law, all political campaigning must stop for the last three days before election day. But our fine news men and women, and the radio announcers and TV personalities assumed that we’d become so used to the bombardment of mistruths, that we were addicted. They wanted to save us the ordeal of having to suffer ‘cold turkey’. So they kept right on sneaking political propaganda at us till the very day we went to the polls. What a pain!
As most of you are probably aware, Benjamin Netanyahu, whom we call Bibi, enjoyed three terms of office before this last election, and is well known to the public. His career as an officer in Israel’s top commando unit was somewhat overshadowed by his brother being one of the most famous of Israel’s heroes. But he did represent us in the foreign service, and was a best selling author before becoming prime minister. And while he has a lot of fans, not everyone agrees with his view of the world in general, or his political view of Israel. No sooner had the campaign started, than a ‘non political’ organization called ‘Just Not Bibi’ came to the fore. Financed by large contributors from the US and the EU, this organization began to insult him and defame him in every possible way. Since it was a little difficult to find any dirt on the man, they concentrated on pointing out the faults of his wife.
Turns out she’s a real witch. Even worse than your wife or mine. She likes to have her soup warmed in the middle of the night. She yells at the cleaning lady. She rings her husband in the middle of top secret meetings, and the generals have to just sit around scratching their elbows while she whispers sweet nothings in the top executive’s ear. What’s worse, she sometimes sends empty bottles back to the grocery store, and pockets the change instead of giving the money to the state! Then it was reported that she’s a lush. She drinks wine almost every night. And her taste in clothing is atrocious.
He’s not much better. Before he was prime minister, he was known to let his billionaire businessman friend pay for his ticket at the movies. Some people can’t stand the way he combs the remaining strands of his hair over his bald spot. And he speaks good English. Now what sort of Israeli speaks a good English? He hardly has any really poor, down and out friends. Worst of all, he’s a primitive. The sort of guy who, when accosted by a terrorist, thinks that the best move is to hit him over the head with a baseball bat or shoot him in the heart… he never even considers the option of an intellectual discussion with the guy about the pros and cons of violence.
His opponent, the head of the labor party, son of a former president of Israel… grandson of a former Chief Rabbi, talks in a voice that is vaguely reminiscent of Donald Duck, and is just tall enough to peek into the cleavage of an average sized woman. So no one really expected the race to be something that would keep us up at nights ‘cause of the tension. But if there’s one thing that the media hates, it’s boredom. And if there’s one thing they love, it’s social liberalism. To make matters even more interesting, his campaign advisors decided on a political marriage with Tzippi, a female head of a dying political party which at one time was just a hair’s breadth away from capturing the government. She managed to reduce 28 mandates to six. And then, on the eve of this election, it was thought she wouldn’t pass the electoral threshold, the minimum number of votes to enter parliament.
Buzshy offered to serve together with her in a rotation leadership, so that the public would actually be getting two for the price of one. Both a male and a female with just one ballot! The left thought it an unbeatable deal. Meanwhile, as the media was feeding us everything bad about Bibi, they didn’t save words to extol the virtues of Buzshy and Tzippi. Slowly but surely, public opinion polls were published in which Buzshy was seen closing the gap between his popularity and that of Bibi. It was like a horse race. He was gaining, gaining, gaining… Finally, the two were standing equal. And then, amazingly, Buzshy started pulling ahead. By the week of the election, Buzshy was definitely the front runner. He was winning! Oh my. We were going to witness an historic changeover. All the papers were full of it. Headlines screamed: A surprise upset in the offing!!!
The night following election day, the vast majority of the country’s population seated themselves opposite the TV screen to watch the returns. Some ate peanuts, others sunflower seeds, and there were those who just grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of beer. For two hours we watched learned commentators explaining the hows and whys of what was about to happen, without disclosing the results. But there were knowing smiles and veiled hints that suggested they knew something we didn’t. Finally, a huge man-sized graph appeared behind the commentators. And then… the results of the voters’ exit polls. Unbelievable! The two contenders had gotten the exact same amount of votes! The next two hours were spent talking about a rotation premiership, or possible coalition governments that would allow one of the two to reign. We were all involved now, wondering who would come out on top. It was well known that Obama favored the underdog, excuse the expression. So some of the more sophisticated pundits thought we should let Buzshy take the reigns just to make the American Pres happy.
Both sides were celebrating. We were in a happy state. Yet, we all went to bed wondering how it would end. Then, the very next day… when the actual votes were counted, it turned out that Bibi had received 30 mandates in parliament as opposed to the 24 that Buzshy had garnered. The left was mortified. How was it possible? What had happened? That was Wednesday. And today, Friday, 37% of the population is still scratching their heads. Some think that the vote was unfair. That the populace should have been more considerate of President Obama’s feelings. While others think that Bibi just might not be as good as the common people believe. If he was a real gentleman, after having served three times, he would default to Buzshy, just to give the other guy a chance.
The first picture seen above was found in the school that served as a polling place. That’s where I voted. The photos towards the bottom of the post are from the Sea of Galilee, where I went to calm down and recover from the excitement of politics. Please, don’t bother to ask whom I voted for. In this free country, we get to vote in privacy. I’m not going to tell a soul.