Three weeks till elections and everyone is saying that it’s really boring.
The political party system has been ripped to shreds. Shimon Peres left the party that chose him for prime minister, twice. A new party established less than three months ago is expected to sweep the election. The third largest party has disappeared for all intents and purposes, and the country’s main religious Zionist party has merged with another group.
The ruling party has lost half its leadership, if not more. The prime minister celebrated his 78th birthday in a coma, while his son is up for a prison term.
One former prime minister can’t find a place for himself on a Knesset list, and another one has taken on the central committee of the party he leads. The defense minister got all teary while announcing his intention to stay in his party; two weeks later he was gone. And a senior minister was asked to resign following allegations of corruption and breach of public faith. He refused. He doesn’t feel like it.
The parties are full of new faces, including a tough Shin Bet chief, a charismatic professor, an opinionated woman journalist and an anonymous car salesman. And we’re bored.
“The most boring election campaign in the country’s history.” That’s how someone described it in last weekend’s paper. We’re a bit tired and we’ve had a kind of itch for the last two days.
Personally, well, my home was broken into this week. They came in during the night, grabbed the television, took the cash out of my wallet, grabbed the car keys and stole the car. Brand new, too. I had bought it a week earlier. Damn.
Truth is the theft disturbs me less – I mean that is why we pay insurance – than the fact that strangers in masks were in my home while the children were sleeping. If Yaeli would have woken up to use the bathroom, who know how the whole thing would have ended. Forget it, don’t think about it. I am trying not to.
It took me two days to remember that personal security is what the elections are all about. The fact that my car has gone to live in the Palestinian territories and instead of a mechanic, it now belongs to a Hamasnik. The fact that our police are not at fault, being preoccupied with Amona and Yitzhar and the checkpoints.
“It was done by professionals,” the detective told me admiring the handiwork of the burglars as he sprinkled powder to detect fingerprints. “They used gloves.”
Ever since he was here, we have been trying to understand how to get the powder off our fingers. All that is left of my television are a white wire and a red one. They feel abandoned but we can see how happy they are to have been liberated.
Why are we so bored?
Three and a half weeks from now we will vote regarding another disengagement; the plight of 1.5 million poor people; the bitter debate between capitalism and socialism. We are deconstructing the political system from its core.
Along the way, we’ll be dealing with a constitution, state and religion, the security fence, overhauling the political system, corruption in government, the new train system and Amir Peretz’s overdraft.
It’s the first time that someone claims that he is equipped to handle the economy of a country when he can’t even handle his own bank account. And if that isn’t enough, there’s a group of politicians hanging around, disgruntled even without elections, who cannot understand why we tend to nod off right in their faces.
It’s not the elections that are boring us, morons, it’s all of you.
Promises and demands
It’s precisely because we understand the importance of it all that we have decided to ignore it all and can't wait for this pre-election period to end. We don’t care that Peretz is of Moroccan origin (even though we wonder why a good man like Lova Eliav is taking part in this farce).
We couldn’t care less how Sara is faring or the measure of her husband’s panic quotient. We don’t care how much rent Olmert is paying nor when we’ll see the next self-deprecating Meretz poster (Is their situation so desperate they can’t find any worthy political adversaries to attack?) Sorry, we don’t have patience for this. It’s pathetic, insignificant and frankly very boring.
Israeli politicians tend to complain that “we never speak frankly.” They have convinced themselves of this so they find themselves unable to stop dealing with nonsense. But the comatose guy up at Hadassah Hospital taught us something: He did not promise us, he demanded from us.
There is something addictive in the feeling that you are important enough to be asked to sacrifice something. When you sense that the children are in danger, you stop caring about the car.
The campaign ads are startling. Everyone will put on make up, they will learn to talk in catchy sound bites; everyone will be so interesting that they will bore us to death.
There is something insulting in the self-confidence displayed by the teams of political ad men and women who are so sure they are going to get us to change our minds at the last minute. Do we look that stupid to them? You’d think they had something new to tell us, that their strategies would present some brilliant political-social theory that would shake our worlds to the very core. Come on, the only thing we can hope for is that this time Bibi won’t perspire from the exertion.
The next four years of our lives are important. Yoav will finish his military service, Lior will begin high school, the miracle growing in Aliel’s tummy will begin nursery school. It’s possible that these important passages are a little tiresome, but for us they are meaningful. It’s not the elections that are boring us; it’s the way there.