My daughter is unique among the bunch of best friends with whom she runs around, chats incessantly via computer or phone and receives countless SMSs from. She's the only one whose name isn't unisex.
Her closest cronies are Tal, Gal, Yuval, Or, Bar, Shai, Adi, Omer, Eden and Agam. Their names suit either gender and indeed some of the above-mentioned are guys and others gals. Who's called what can buck your expectations. It's all trendily indistinct. Obfuscation appears to be the national vogue.
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My daughter is further unique for being the only one among said peers who voted for a proper party in the recent elections, one with an ideology, history and views on how to contend with the challenges/dangers Israel faces.
Bar preferred the anti-banks list because he's chronically overdrawn. Yuval opted for Green Leaf because she thinks legalizing cannabis is kind of cool.
Tal went for the Greens because she adores all things great and small. Gal, Or, Shai, Omer, Agam, Adi and Eden all cast their ballots for Gil, the Pensioners List, and not because they're old, obsessed with aging or overcome with compassion.
They could discern nothing that really mattered to them and thought it would be a real lark if youths vote for geriatrics. It was better than abstaining, which my daughter talked them out of.
Then on Election Day I heard her screaming furiously into her cell phone, over and over. She enlightened me about what her crowd was doing in lieu of not voting at all. It was then I realized Gil wasn't a joke, but a phenomenon.
My daughter found it distressing. She yelled at her chums that they "don't care about this country. Do you know who's on that list?" she asked Gil's overnight adherents. "Do you know what they stand for on any major issue? Do you know their platform?"
The reverberating rejoinders included: "Who cares?!" "You're the only one interested in politics" and "That's what all the celebrities recommended."
Shocked, she shot back: "Would you do everything Yatzpan and Orna Datz tell you? Don't you have minds of your own? What you call 'politics' is your securityâ€¦Apathy is disengagement from your future." She didn't dare allude to ideals.
A FEW days later Omer dropped by and I heard her express surprise about Gil headliner Rafi Eitan's unsavory Pollard connection, millionaire status and best-bud relationship with Fidel Castro. She was clueless that Eitan's running mates hail from the most powerful trade unions, whose stranglehold on the economy was well worth their while for quite a long while.
But there was no remorse or even second thoughts. "They're all the same. It makes no difference," Omer opined with the infinite wisdom of her 20 years.
Nevertheless, it makes all the difference. Gil's UFOs may be the very ones who facilitate Israel's shrinkage, thereby emboldening its genocidal foes and rendering the Jewish state ever more vulnerable to neighborly predations and foreign pressure.
It'd be refreshing and uplifting if Gil's magnificent seven disqualify themselves from all Knesset votes on Olmert's disengagement/convergence and do precisely what their electorate empowered them to do: convey indifference.
Legalistically, any MK may weigh in on any issue. Ethically, however, these seniors should maintain distance from decisions about any further withdrawals because the mandate they got from their hip voters was that this doesn't concern them and they don't give a hoot.
But a moral stance is unrealistic. Besides, why should the Gil Knesset contingent be any more upright than Shas disciples, Labor's socialists and especially Kadima's crew?
Didn't Shas mentor Ovadia Yosef warn that anyone who votes Kadima is bound for hell? Yet that, apparently, doesn't preclude Shas's coalition alliance with Satan's party. Labor promised to top our agenda with the war on poverty, yet Amir Peretz may well find himself in charge of Israel's military complex.
But that's an inconsequential inconsistency if compared to Kadima's ultimate betrayal when it still ran on the Likud ticket and assured supporters that it opposed unilateral territorial concessions.
No wonder voting is fast losing popularity - to the point where our youngest cynics are sure elections determine nothing and real power is vested in establishment elites, a skewed judiciary and hardly objective media. Sharon's principal legacy is alienation. That's why this election attracted fewer voters than ever previously.
Still, even the most disaffected at least tend to care about their own pocketbooks. Did under-aged pensioners' boosters ever stop to consider how their chic choice would affect the collective coffers? That's clearly over their coiffured heads.
Yet faddish ballot-box hijinks could well reduce us to insolvency, besides undermining Zionism and national self-defense.
Gil's price tag for coalition partnership is an estimated NIS 10 billion. Even after a predictable discount it would still be exorbitant. Not to be outdone, Labor needs a fat outlay of cash for higher minimum wage. By the time Shas and UTJ inflate child allowances and other governmental largesse, the budget (NIS 230b. for 2006 excluding debt repayment) would be terminally depleted.
All this is before we get to Olmert's "convergence," whose foreseeable cost (never mind unanticipated expenditures) is NIS 120b.
Anyone who expects America to pick up the tab (which it anyway shouldn't) is nuts. The US refused to even partially foot the bill for "disengagement" (over NIS 8.5b.). The only way to finance convergence would be to collect NIS 280,000 from each Israeli household.
Tal, Gal, Yuval, Or, Bar, Shai, Adi, Omer, Eden and Agam would finally be shaken to the core.
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