No sport has contributed as much unique jargon to the English language as baseball. Hardly a day goes by without using or hearing expressions such as “it came from out of left field,” “I’ll take a raincheck,” or “that sure caught me off base.” Locally, of course, such idiomatic use is less common than where English is the mother tongue and baseball is the great pastime, but phrases such as “ballpark figure,” “three strikes and you’re out,” “playing hardball” and “home run” are not entirely absent from the Israeli vocabulary. And considering the malaise that our country currently finds itself in, a political version of still another baseball term – the infield fly rule – would not be at all inappropriate.Those no more than casually familiar with the game will likely not be aware of this rarely used and somewhat controversial regulation, which was introduced decades ago to prevent the abuse of other, more routinely applied rules of the game. Triggered by a set of very specific conditions and circumstances, the principal objective of the rule was to keep the game honest and free from cheating... sort of. The rule precludes a player from intentionally not doing what he would ordinarily do, namely, catch a baseball before it touches the ground. When properly applied, the rule gives the umpire the authority to call a player out, thereby removing the possibility of an opposing player from gaining an advantage by purposefully not catching the ball and committing an act of, well, chicanery. And though based on a somewhat subjective decision of the umpire, the rule itself is, for the most part, viewed as a positive aspect of the game.It appears that Israel is now facing a third round of elections, which most polls predict will, again, wind up in a stalemate. High time, I say, that a designated umpire brings this tomfoolery to an end and declare an infield fly rule to be in effect.Throughout the political spectrum there is unusual agreement that another election would be disastrous and that, like it or not, a unity government is called for. Trouble is, the leaders of the two largest parties are manipulating every conceivable loophole to keep this from happening. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the spring election, managed to dissolve the Knesset and keep Benny Gantz from receiving the mandate to form a government. And in the September election he surrounded himself with a right-wing firewall that prevented any serious negotiations from taking place. Mr. Gantz at that time, for his part, was playing fast and loose with the legal establishment and using the indictments hanging over the prime minister’s head to keep a unity government with Likud from becoming a reality. Now that indictments have been handed down, the prime minister will be calling on every legality to squash or at least delay a trial. The situation of a government being formed any time soon has become considerably murkier.The leaders of the two major parties, in other words, prefer letting the ball drop in the hopes of gaining a decisive advantage over the other. Somebody – the president, the attorney-general, the chief justice of the Supreme Court – must at some point raise a finger toward the sky and declare the infield fly rule in effect, putting an end to these wasteful shenanigans, and forcing the two principal parties to cobble out an agreement. Granted, this idea is far from ideal. Similarly, the baseball version of the rule has by no means been unanimously embraced. The rule has been challenged at times, and lawyers experienced in sports regulation and legislation have not infrequently debated the legitimacy of the rule. Nonetheless, it stands and, if nothing else, prevents the game from getting needlessly sullied.We’re in, I think it’s fair to say, something of an emergency situation. Important legislation is going ignored because we have nothing more than a caretaker Knesset, security and defense policies can be defined as short-term only, and newly appointed cabinet ministers will not even bother getting nameplates engraved. Revolutions and military coups have taken place in regimes more stable than ours. Until legislation can be written and passed, we should call upon President Reuven Rivlin to step in and get things back on track. As president, his authority, in times such as these, surely extends to matters beyond welcoming new ambassadors and handing over the mandate to form a government to one party or another. He should be able to declare the infield fly rule and keep our duly elected leaders from barricading themselves behind legal loopholes and playing political hide-and-seek. The citizens of Israel deserve nothing less.