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From the Left: I Had a Dream

In my dream, I saw President Barack Obama in bed, sandwiched by two sexy blondes. Up close, I was surprised to see that on his left was Hillary Clinton, and on his right was Tzipi Livni. Obama was kind of hugging them, bringing them both closer to his bare chest. Somehow, it reminded me of President Clinton, and how he hugged—pushed, really—both Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat to shake each other’s hand. Indeed, just as I was thinking that, I realized that I’m looking on Obama in the White House south lawn, hugging—not Hillary and Ztipi, though both were there by his side—but Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, both grimacing heavily, into shaking hands with each other. A good feeling washed all over me, but then, all of a sudden, a pregnant suicide bomber in the crowd exploded herself, and everybody around her, and I woke up in my bed, breathing hard, cover all over with cold sweat.

After a quick shower and a slow breakfast (my own kibbutznik’s salad recipe), I sat at my computer and wired the Internet, in order to find out the full results of the Israeli elections of the day before. My dream, soon enough, didn’t look that awful by comparison. In fact, the horror of my dream was replaced by the horror of the new Israeli reality. Not exactly, and yet…

Yet the rise of Avigdor Lieberman, a Russian incarnation of the American Rabbi Kahane, and an equally racist extremist, was horrific just as my dream was. Here we have a former nightclub bouncer, “… our own Cossack,” told Israeli writer Etgar Keret to Newsweek, “the guy who comes to town, burns it down and rapes the women.” He—who opposes peace with the Palestinians and a two-state solution, supports transfer of all Israeli Arabs out of Israel, and would enact a de-facto Apartheid state in the Holy Land—is suddenly the kingmaker of the new Israeli government. As the head of his party, Israel Beitenu, with 15 members elected to the new Knesset, he’s now the head of the third largest party in Israel. The ball is in his court, as they say. Of course, Netanyahu and even Livni, are after him and would give him—skies the limit, I suppose—anything he’d ask them in order to crown one of them the new leader of the Jewish state. What a shameful situation indeed.

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Ztipi Livni came out on top. I like women to be on top. That’s why I voted for Hillary in the primaries. I admit, I thought the fate of Kadima would be similar to the fate of other such Israeli political parties: a meteoric rise in one election, and then poof, disappearing into thin air. Now it’s time for her to capitalize on her narrowest of wins, forget about Avigdor Lieberman, and unite with Labor, maybe even Meretz would go along, into the largest block in the Israeli Knesset. Most of Kadima supporters seem to come, anyhow, from center-left. Otherwise, as we used to say as kids, another win like that and we’re lost.

In the final analysis, though, the more things change—the more they stay the same. And what we’re left with, basically, are two large parties, left and right of center, with other smaller parties more to the left and right of them. So let them slug it out; and if they need another round in the ring, to borrow another aphorism from the sports world, so be it.

Lastly, I realized, not all the news was bad that morning. Reading Haaretz online, my eyes drifted naturally towards a color picture of Bar Refaeli, clad in a revealing bikini on a beach somewhere, an Israeli girl on the coveted cover of Sports Illustrated. Dream on, I told myself; there’s still a future for Israel. Next thing—the Oscar!

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for your comments, Jonathan. It’s a problem, the parliamentary political system, and for many years I thought as you do. I always preferred the American system. However, then came along Bush, a little more than 8 years ago, and with the help of the Supreme Court, stole the elections from Gore and the majority of the people. And look where it got us.
    There is a famous saying attributed to Churchill (who else?) which says, not exactly in these words, that Democracy is a terrible political system, but still the best we have!

  2. I enjoyed your post. But I must say that the problems that Israel is having forming a new government are making me believe that a parlimentary government really does not work. I will be glad if Livni becomes prime minister–largely because Netanyahu won’t be–but there is something wrong when the final government does not reflect the views of what a majority of the people voted for.

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