A STILL from a classic Twilight Zone episode, ‘Time Enough at Last..
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Have you ever had the feeling that life in Israel often mimics The Twilight Zone?
In one of the classic episodes of that amazing ’60s series – “Stopover in a Quiet Town” – a couple wakes up to find themselves alone in a deserted little village, where the trees are fake and the grass is paper mache. They rush to the train station and board a train, desperate to leave, but the train keeps going round and round in circles, always arriving at the same exact spot, never reaching its destination. Finally, they are lifted high in the air by a giant hand, as a voice booms out, “Be careful with your pets, dear, your father brought them all the way from Earth!”
The election crisis we are now facing has given us a collective, other-worldly nightmare: We will wake up once more to find that we are hopelessly deadlocked, that no workable majority can be forged to lead the nation, and so yet another half-billion shekel vote must be taken to release us from legislative limbo.
Of all the flaws in our semi-democratic system – beyond the massive mud-slinging, which dirties us all, and the lack of a personal connection to any of our elected MK’s – is the reality that even the tiniest self-interest party can hold the whole country hostage, paralyzing our ability to take bold decisions and meet the massive challenges that confront us on an almost daily basis.
Truth be told, there is only one way out of this mess, and it requires a drastic change in our voting habits. We must grit our teeth and refuse to vote for any party outside the two major blocs. If you are religious, do not vote for a religious party; if you are right-wing, do not vote for an independent rightist party; same goes for the secularists and left-wingers. Sorry, URP and Shas and Degel Hatorah and New Right and Yisrael Beytenu and Meretz and yes, Labor. We’re not wasting another vote; we can’t afford to do what’s good for us when it’s not good for the nation. Not this time; we’re foregoing the personal ”I” for the larger “I” of Israel. As they do in America, we will choose one of the major parties and hope they will govern fairly, representing all the people – as they continually swear to do. And if they don’t, well, then the next election is never far away, and time will tell us who’s trying to sell us.
I know, of course, that there will be segments of the population that will stick to their guns – even when they’re pointed inwards – and vote en masse whichever way the culture or the cleric rules. But if they are in the minority, and are left out in the cold, they will think twice the next time they approach the ballet box.
SPEAKING OF America, we are fast approaching “crunch time” in the countdown to the “Deal of the Century” (which century is that, again?!). Part 1 soon unfolds in Bahrain, as selected states gather to brainstorm even more ways to pamper the Palestinians and throw good money after bad, as if this will somehow moderate the non-nation nation that simply does not know how to take “Yes” for an answer.
The Palestinians will reject (and have already rejected, sight unseen!) whatever well-intentioned gifts are thrown their way, not least because their so-called leaders – led by Abbas, who has already set the record for the longest four-year term in history – have no incentive to change the paradigm. They already reap in tens of millions of Euros and pounds from generous suckers around the world, and any proposal that involves transparency, a lessening of their power or a sharing of their wealth will be met by absolute opposition.
Now, don’t think for a millisecond that the American orchestrators don’t know this. Messrs. Trump, Friedman, Kushner and Greenblatt are nobody’s fools; they are among the smartest, most astute people on the planet. But I suggest they have another end-game in mind: Once a fair and comprehensive plan is on the table, and key Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Emirates have voiced their approval, a thumbs-down by the Palestinians gives a green light to any country that wants to move forward and join with Israel on a variety of levels. From hi-tech to natural gas to standing up to the Iranian threat, the Arabs have a lot to gain by partnering with us, and they are itching to do it. Finally, they may be able to reject the rejectionists and get out of the Palestinian strait-jacket that has held them down for a century.
Finally, one more Twilight Zone note. Chicago, my hometown, is famous for a lot of great things: Jazz, the Magnificent Mile along Lake Michigan, deep-dish pizza and of course, the beloved Cubs. But there is also an ill wind blowing out of the Windy City, in the form of a Jewish congregation that prides itself on being anti-Zionist. It’s members proudly support BDS (Bullies Demanding Sanctions), say Kaddish for Islamic terrorists and commemorate the Nakba instead of Israeli Independence Day. They also beat their breasts on Yom Kippur over Israeli “war crimes” committed in the name of Judaism.
They call themselves “Tzedek Chicago,” self-proclaiming themselves as “righteous,“ just as the anti-Israel “Jewish Voice for Peace” has a platform which is anything but Jewish, and only feeds the Palestinian penchant for war and violence. Thankfully, the misguided, self-hating Jews who make up these crackpot groups – I like to call them the political equivalent of Indians for Custer – are rejected by the mainstream and doomed to oblivion.
But they serve to remind us that, sadly, we face adversaries from both without and within, and so each one of us must be part of the historic struggle to keep this miraculous country of ours safe, strong and secure.
The writer is director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana; firstname.lastname@example.org
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