With the operation in Gaza behind us, it's time to start refocusing our attention on the upcoming Israeli elections to be held in January. With this in mind, one can only hope that we'll be spared the irrelevant issue of which candidate will get along better with Barack Obama. Although a good relationship with the American president is certainly not a bad thing, there is no reason that this factor should have any relevance in determining the next Israeli prime minister.
In addition, by placing an exaggerated emphasis on this non-essential point, as was the case before the 2009 elections, Israel is in effect questioning its own role as a fully sovereign state. Needless to say, this is not the type of message that any self-respecting country should be broadcasting either internally to its own citizens or externally to the world.
Thus, rather than giving any attention whatsoever to this non-issue, as certain politicians and their supporters in the media tried to do prior to the recent hostilities, the focus should be on "trivial items" such as the ongoing financial crisis in Europe and the potential ramifications for Israel, the excessively high cost of housing, food and many other basic products, the continued carnage on the roads due to an overly aggressive driving culture, the growing violence in the schools and society, the Bedouin land-grab in the Negev, the large poverty stricken haredi population that needs to be integrated into the workforce and the general breakdown of a shared sense of purpose and unity amongst the population.
There are other issues as well that merit attention, albeit ones far less important than the personal relationship between our next prime minister and Mr. Obama, such as missiles from Gaza, infiltrators from Africa, an al-Qaeda presence in the Sinai, a Muslim Brotherhood president in Egypt, a civil war in Syria that is threatening to spill over into the Golan and a madman in Iran that is threatening to annihilate us.
This is not to imply that all is gloom and doom in Israel since this is certainly not the case. There is a lot of good here, but at the same time there are many serious issues and challenges that need to be dealt with and Israel simply does not possess the luxury to continue wasting it's time discussing non-issues at the expense of real ones.
Moreover, although we shouldn't expect too much since after all Israel is unfortunately no different than much of the world in that election campaigns based upon empty promises and catchy slogans have for the most part done away with serious discussions of issues and ideas, at the very least we should demand that the relationship between the next Israeli prime minister and the American president not be the top subject of the upcoming elections.
Nevertheless, should certain candidates pick up where they left off before the recent hostilities and shamelessly continue to stake their claim for leadership simply by promising that they will "improve the relations with America that Netanyahu destroyed," which all of us know is just another way of saying they will be totally submissive to the White House and will do what they can to help ram the suicidal two-state solution down our throats, such candidates should be reminded that there are a zillion more pressing issues for the average Israeli than the personal relationship between our prime minister and the American president. Finally and perhaps most importantly, such candidates should then be totally ignored at the polling stations on Election Day.
Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem. He can be contacted via http://yoelmeltzer.com