Rally of the Two Million

  (photo credit: WZO)
(photo credit: WZO)

We've already seen 36 weeks of Kaplan demonstrations. At the end of August, it looked as though the protests had stepped up a gear. The numbers, the vitriol, and the accompanying riots indicated that the summer months had injected people with new energy rather than cooling their brains.

Under pressure from influential sources, the teachers' organizations chose, surprisingly, to join the protests and stop the schools from opening. Many teachers opposed the decision and – despite their leaders' annoyance – opened their schools all the same.

Total chaos.

The Chief of Staff and the heads of the Mossad and the Security Services held an emergency press conference, declaring that, indeed, despite the Prime Minister's arguments to the contrary, the IDF had lost its cutting edge.

That same evening, the leader of Hezbollah and the ruler of Iran ordered Israel to evacuate the oil platform off the Lebanese coast immediately, or else they would launch a synchronized attack.

A demonstrator objecting to the protests angrily attacked a Knesset member relaxing on the beach with his family, wounding him lightly. In the ensuing fracas, an elderly citizen who tried to calm the angry youngsters was also wounded. Vague mutual condemnations were issued from both left and right.

It seems to me that Israel's political leadership has disappeared over the last week. It's been a number of days now in which leaders from neither the left nor the right have appeared in the TV studios or on the networks. Their exhausted spokespeople transmitted irritated messages to the media channels asking after their welfare: "The Leader of the Opposition also needs to spend time with his family," "The Prime Minister is recharging his batteries for the upcoming (and likely stormy) winter session," etc.

A petition calling for separating the country attracted over 1.5 million signatures…

A strong sense of "après moi, le deluge" was hovering in the air…

"Boom!" the reporters tweeted as one.

"There'll be a press conference in two hours at David Ben-Gurion's grave in Sde Boker, with the President, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and leaders of the religious and ultra-Orthodox parties."

The media stood to attention at the shock announcement and choice of location. Broadcasting vans hurriedly made their way down south.

To the surprise of all present, the Leader of the Opposition cleared his throat, aligned his gaze to the camera, and opened the proceedings: "There are moments in the life of a nation when leaders must lead. The Prime Minister and I have decided to lead." The ultra-Orthodox Minister standing behind him nodded with a deep look of agreement.

The Leader of the Opposition announced that over the past three days, he and those with him had concealed themselves in a secret location in Israel, with a mutual decision not to leave the place without a written document anchoring the agreements and principles that would determine the State's Constitution, which would be established within 90 days with the agreement of more than 90 members of Knesset.

The Leader of the Opposition expressed his thanks and gave a long hug to the Prime Minister. During the hug, the microphones caught the Prime Minister whisper in his colleague's ear, "You deserved to open the press conference." The latter responded with two warm pats on his elder's shoulder.

There was total silence at the gravesite. A pair of deer who had wandered into the area stared at the spectacle in wonder.

The Prime Minster began by thanking the Leader of the Opposition and added, "I have never met such a courageous leader." He described the process at length and detailed the work plan for the coming year while complimenting all the partners. He dedicated his final remarks to supporters of the reform: "You know the Jewish people are not afraid of long journeys. This journey is long, but today, millions are marching together with you."

The next speakers were the senior ultra-Orthodox Minister and the female Chairperson of the secular party, who jointly read out the principles of the Scroll of Israeli Tradition and Burden-Sharing.

In their air-conditioned studios, the jaw-dropped reporters explained – making themselves look important – that they'd known about this move for a few days now, but out of a sense of national responsibility, they chose not to leak it to the public.

The President of Israel asked to end the press conference with the "Shehecheyanu" blessing we say upon reaching an auspicious time. A choir of ministers answered, "Amen!" with eyes closed in devout contemplation.

The next day, the legend "The Month of Mercy and Forgiveness" was spread across the front pages. A two-page ad signed by "Brothers in Arms" and "Kohelet Forum" called the public to join in "The Rally of Two Million" under the headline "Legislating the Constitution by Agreement."

The Chief Rabbis called for a mass Selichot gathering at the Western Wall, at which politicians from left and right asked for forgiveness from individuals and the public in between the liturgical tunes.

Hundreds of pilots declared an increase in the number of volunteers wanting to complete their readiness exercises. The Air Force Commander appeared on the radio and asked all his soldiers to wait for their new roles and restore the IAF to its previous level of capability and commitment in the most professional and sensible way.

The dismantling of the Hezbollah encampment was pushed to the margins of the news in the wake of the US President's dramatic announcement that immediately after Sukkot, there would be a summit with Saudi Arabia to sign a full normalization agreement.

An NGO called "What Was, Was," together with a large ice cream company and a news channel, jointly launched a free app that could identify argumentative texts in family groups and delete them for eternity. The app invited family groups to win a gift – a festive delivery of ice cream.

The "You and Me and Then the World" organization got 100 MKs to sign a commitment not to demonstrate outside MKs' private homes in order to protect their families' privacy. As a protest against this initiative, a member of the Opposition chose to demonstrate outside the home of the Chairperson of the Constitution Committee with a placard saying, "Simcha, you have made me happy."

The Cameri and Habima theaters put on a joint play just for women – "Barbie – the Story of a Strong Woman" – starring ultra-Orthodox, religious, secular, and undefined women.

Talks about expanding the coalition have become more and more common. The President asked not to be involved in the discussions. In answer to a young reporter's question, he replied, "They know what to do. They don't need me."

The tall party leader and the Prime Minister went for a joint walkabout in Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda Market, wishing everyone a Happy New Year and giving away hugs left, right, and center.

In this shakeup, there were also those from right and left who, in a surprising display of unity and as if in full coordination, looked on from the side and chuckled derisively at the burgeoning naivety of the leaders and the people. They said to each other, "Let's see them survive even one day after the month of mercy and forgiveness."


Adv. Roi Abecassis is Head of the Center for Spiritual Affairs in the Diaspora at the World Zionist Organization and Deputy Chairperson of KKL. He is the World Mizrachi representative in the National Institutions.