Middle Israel: Non-confessions for Yom Kippur

What would some of our leaders and prominenet figures atone for this year on Yom Kippur?

September 20, 2007 12:26
amotz asa el 88

amotz asa el 88. (photo credit: )


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MENNY MAZUZ Something funny happened to me on the way to the Supreme Court. Somehow, just as I was leading the president of the Jewish state to a court of law - a legal drama not seen here since Aharon Barak indicted Leah Rabin - the press turned on me. Yes, just what you hear; as if I had done the flirting, womanizing, harassing or whatever it was that did or didn't happen there, as if I elected the non-entities who crowd this country's corridors of power, as if I had extracted all those disjointed, inconsistent and potentially unprovable testimonies with which the street demanded I go to court. What do they care? Would they be the ones with egg all over their faces should the defendant be ruled not guilty? Be real. They tell me I should have stuck to my guns once I drafted - and leaked - a charge sheet crowned with rape. Well, I couldn't help remembering only then that the sages said "be moderate in sentencing." I thought I was doing just that. That is certainly what I would have done had I been a Supreme Court Justice, which now people tell me I may never become. So you say I sinned? You really expected me to cast a shadow over Jerusalem's corridors of power and scream: "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown"? Well sorry to disappoint you, but I am just a jurist. Playing prophet taking to the high seas was never in my job description. BOAZ YONA So I ran away with the money of several thousand people and left them homeless. Big f-n deal. There was another guy who did pretty much the same thing just before me, but he was universally glorified, even celebrated - in Israeli schools, European palaces and American newspaper editorials; celebrated as a warrior turned peacemaker, a shepherd become statesman, a visionary, trailblazer and Santa Claus all in one. Didn't he destroy houses? I, by contrast, built them, and in fact was out to sell them cheap on the narrowest profit margins, and if it hadn't been for the goddamn fence that Santa Claus built, which by the way dispossessed yet more people, I wouldn't have gotten lost in the Bermuda Triangle that sprawls between ultra-Orthodox Upper Modi'in, Palestinian Bil'in and the liberal Supreme Court that ruled my projects there out of bounds. So you say I sinned? The state sinned. The same state whose conquests in '67 transformed my father from a humble plumber to a housing tycoon now transformed me from respectable businessman to a disgraced fugitive, and why? Just because it couldn't once and for all tell no-nonsense people like me where its own borders were? What would you do in my place: Wouldn't you take to Tarsus, especially if your name were Yona? AMI AYALON Everyone should thank me. It's no small thing to say you're going here, and then go there, to say this guy is wrong, and then join him as if he were right, to say Israel needs no ministers-without-portfolio, and then become one yourself. I therefore can't blame you for saying I sinned. But I haven't. For heaven's sake, isn't it better that when this government next sends pilots beyond enemy lines that it benefit from the wisdom of an Admiral Yamamoto all its own? That when its vessels next reach for the horizon it have Nimitz, if not at the helm then at least on deck? Sure, I once did all these peace gigs - declarations, town meetings, petitions with Sari Nusseibeh and what not - and I also crusaded against corruption and I trekked for disengagement, but this is no time for purism. War might soon erupt, and where will you then want me, when this pair of Ehuds prepares to replay the disasters that have already earned them infamy: delivering speeches to an empty Knesset? So yes, I am as directionless as a boat that lost its compass, as lifeless as a submarine run out of its oxygen and as incoherent as a beached whale, but that's because while proceeding from the high seas sailors brave to the low plains politicians inhabit - I got lost. But I didn't sin. EHUD OLMERT The other day I went fishing with Ehud. As the two of us stood on the edge of our windswept wharf, I threw the rod into the sea and suddenly was powerfully drawn to the gushing waves as something unusually heavy had evidently swallowed our bait. I had Ehud hold me around the waist as I pulled and pulled while the rod arched, bent, creaked and nearly broke in half before finally emerging from the sea with its extraordinary prey as the both of us shouted the way one would after secretly banging a remote enemy target: "We got him!" Not only was this no sardine, bass or cod, it also was no catfish, shark or dolphin, nor even a chest, a barrel or the tail of a ship. Instead, we had fished an admiral, and not just an admiral, but one who had once commanded hundreds of frogmen and later thousands of spies, the same one who promised not to rest until he defeats this Ehud and unseats that, the very two who now were staring into his, the admiral's, blank face like Delilah into Samson's uprooted eyes. "Well well," said Ehud, "look at the fool. It hardly took a worm for him to follow our lead." Shedding crocodile's tears and watching our twitching hunt grasp for just one more taste of freedom's water, we carefully led it into the fish tank alongside yesteryear's catch - Tzipi, Avigdor, Avi, Shaul, Meir and the rest of the mackerels who once also reached for the fishing rod's handle, only to end up on its hook. Now I ask you, all of you, whether those who spent the year demanding my head, or those who merely predicted my imminent downfall: If such is my catch, how can you possibly believe I have sinned? Is this not Israel, the land where God resides, prayers are answered, sins are forgiven and fiascos are forgotten? Is this not where the more spectacular the original sin, from Dayan's and Rabin's to Bibi's and Arik's, the more grand the second coming? Is this not the land from which a man as saintly as Jonah was sent to unseat a king as sinful as Nineveh's, only to see even a despot of his scale survive even such a divine visitation? So you say that Jonah made the king repent, and I say "Sure," but when I listen to your pompous admonitions, I hear not one as bewildering as a prophet's, and when I look in the mirror, I see a ruler who, unlike Nineveh's, was smart enough to deplete the sea of all its fishes, lest the last of them would survive to spit out that one diatribe that would take the words away from any mouth - even mine. www.MiddleIsrael.com

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