For some unknown reason, or maybe a fateful, “bashertian” coincidence, the month of March has acquired profound significance in my life, for it occasionally tested my instinct for survival, both physically and spiritually. Perhaps the most dramatic survival was that of my motorcycle accident on March 26, 1971, which had me attend my graduation on crutches, followed by a year of physiotherapy.
Half a century later, on March 25, 2020, I had a kidney transplant. Surviving the bike accident and total kidney failure in the midst of the plague were both positive experiences that suffused me with an overwhelming feeling of relief. But this positive mode shifted abruptly on March 1, 2022, when I was summarily fired after 10 years of work for a foreign employer. My frantic battle for severance pay dragged out by email over the next 11 months, until March 2023 arrived.
Now, for something completely different: It brought a trifecta of blessings. First, we settled my severance pay – for half of what the cheapskate employer owed me, but half a loaf, and so on.
The next near miracle soon followed: I won the case against the woman who totaled my convertible. After a two-year wait for justice – that included two postponements – the Herzliya Magistrate’s Court found her totally responsible for driving in the wrong lane when she collided with me. Her insurance had to pay me.
Dayenu, I should say, but the third very-near miracle is ongoing: I got a regular job, ending a year of forced and premature retirement. Freelancing again at the age of 73 in the era of ageism is no picnic. Maybe a rained-out picnic.
The year from one March to the other tested my survival instincts under months of oppression, from the shock at being fired to having to fight for money while trying to replace the income. Add to the mix came the stress of preparing for the first hearing, when the plaintiff didn’t show up, so it was rescheduled for another six months of waiting.
Justice was served
JUSTICE WAS finally served for me, while hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens were marching in the streets in pursuit of the justice that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was fleeing. The country was fighting for the very survival of its democracy, on the brink of civil war.
Netanyahu’s welcomed retreat from the brink is supposed to be temporary, and while the immediate tension has been broken and compromise talks are underway, the outcome is far from certain. It is with this in mind, that I humbly propose a way to change Israeli history.
I know that Netanyahu is thinking hard about his probable retirement, and I’d like to help him reach a decision that is inevitable, but favorable, both to him personally and to our nation.
Retirement can be a drag, especially if it is forced upon one. I know this from experience, and I’m four months older than our prime minister. The ageism that prevails in our society makes finding new work a tricky thing.
Netanyahu, if you want to retire gracefully to your Caesarea-walled mansion, with whatever dignity you can spin, you will ask the attorney-general to offer you the following plea bargain: You will announce your immediate retirement from politics, in exchange for having all charges against you dropped. The agreement will then be approved by a verdict of the Supreme Court. Ha.
Some doubters will say nasty things, like the punishment does not fit the crimes, but the majority will readily accept the fruits of Netanyahu’s last deal, starting with the Likud, which could now appoint a new leader to run in the ensuing sixth election in so many years.
Pollsters will leap into the fray with contesting predictions of a landslide victory of a conservative liberal central party. Whatever – the new election could be the first to be held under the desperately needed new Israeli constitution, if President Isaac Herzog’s goal is achieved.
Benjamin Netanyahu could spend his next birthday as a free man in the first truly democratic and Jewish State of Israel. Happy birthday.
The writer is a former chief copy editor and editorial writer of The Jerusalem Post. His debut novel, The Flying Blue Meanies, is available on Amazon.