Within minutes, I had people on the Internet and in the arena where the Likud was holding its election-night event jump into action to save the hungry pregnant lady. Ruth Eglash of The Washington Post, and formerly of The Jerusalem Post, offered me a tuna sandwich, but being very pregnant, its smell made me nauseous. Rachael Risby-Raz, former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s chief of staff at the time, created a hashtag, #snacksforLahav, and had a stroke of genius. Risby-Raz tweeted to Ronit “HaBibistit” Lev, arguably Netanyahu’s biggest fan on Twitter. Lev sent me a phone number of someone she knew was at the event, whom I texted to ask for food.Our Twitter audience watched raptly and commented on every development for over an hour, until the Likud’s English-language spokeswoman Rachel Broyde noticed what was going on and saved the day with an egg salad sandwich. Risby-Raz wrote a lovely tweet about how she knows Israelis will be united despite an ugly election, if she, a Blue and White voter and longtime Olmert aide, and “Ronit HaBibistit” could work together to help me.
I’m out of snacks now— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) April 9, 2019
At the end of the night, I couldn’t get a taxi because there was so much traffic in the area of the event, but some journalist friends helped me find a ride with a photographer who was driving in my direction. She used the excuse of “pregnant woman on board” when shouting at other drivers to clear a path and let them through, implying that I was in danger of going into labor. I was feeling fine, it must be said.
Update: I have a sandwich! pic.twitter.com/ct4LArLTe5— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) April 9, 2019
I have to say that despite swollen ankles and hunger, it was an exciting night that I mostly enjoyed. And that’s what I told the many people who said I should just go home or that I shouldn’t be working. I love my job, and I was still capable of doing it.
Meanwhile, I’m getting a ride here and there’s a ton of traffic and the driver (a photographer I literally just met) is telling people I’m very pregnant and not feeling well so they’ll let us through, which is...interesting.— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) April 9, 2019
After the April election, I thought it would be smooth sailing with coalition talks until I gave birth. But, as we all know now, it was nothing of the sort. The talks stalled and went nowhere. The last day for negotiations before Netanyahu was supposed to tell President Reuven Rivlin that he failed to form a government was also my last day at work, with a scheduled C-section planned for five days later. It wasn’t just coalition negotiations – my pregnancy had also gone less smoothly than expected, because the baby was breech.In any case, I and most other political reporters were fairly certain that those coalition talks would end up with a government at the last minute. Instead, the Knesset dissolved itself in my last hours of work before I would be off for several months.I apologized to my colleagues, and as the Post started shifting reporters around to cover for me, I gave birth to a healthy boy. I spent the three months of maternity leave caring for my new bundle of joy and my adorable toddler, with plenty of help from my husband, mother and mother-in-law, for whom I’m grateful.I also spent those three months following every little news story about the election, which made the leave somewhat less relaxed than my first. Then again, having two kids instead of one made it less relaxed as well.But when I returned only two weeks before the second election of 2019, I was prepared. My husband was spending that time at home with our son, and I was off to listen to panels and attend press conferences. When I returned to the Likud on election night, I brought plenty of snacks, and didn’t need them all.Now, my son is four months old and with me, as I mostly work from home during coalition talks. He’s lying on a play mat next to me as I type these words, doing his latest trick, which is holding a toy and bringing it to his mouth.I’ve registered him to start daycare in the coming weeks, in anticipation of there being a government and my having to once again be in the Knesset on a regular basis. Because, let’s face it, two elections and one baby were dramatic enough for one year. I wouldn’t wish a third election in a year on anyone – pregnant or not.
People who see me (this pic is from yesterday) keep asking me how I’m still up and working at this hour Pregnancy isn’t a disability. I commuted to the Knesset up to 40 weeks last time. But don’t worry, I don’t do anything I don’t feel up to.And thanks for the kind words. pic.twitter.com/jyIsc6NEBq— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) April 9, 2019