Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Election Day

Today is Election Day in Israel, its a national holiday, although some stores are open and buses are running.  Elections in Israel are a very quiet and low-ley affair compared to the years of campaigning, advertizing and hoop-la in the US and even the comparatively polite electoral process in the UK.  You could go to sleep and miss them here.  There is only a limited time for TV ads and they are restricted to specific times on specific channels.  Easy to miss and not often watched.  Also, the incidents of conflict and excitement are few and far between.
There were words exchanged between Netanyahu and Livni over who is a worse threat to the State.  We have had past statements regurgitated as possible threats to public safety, such as Jeremy Gimpel's statement of several years ago that he would blow up the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, although it does not represent the policy of his party Bayit Yehudi and we vote for parties here.  Frankly compared to the negative ads and hard ball politics practised ad nauseam in the US, here it is very tame, and I prefer it that way.  You can make up you mind without being blasted with repetitive TV ads and posters everywhere.
One of the suprising features of the election has been the complete absence of any reference to the Palestinians.  It's as if they don't exist, as if Israelis are not concerned about them.  And indeed it shows that the Palestinians are not only not an issue in the campaign, they hardly impinge on Israeli consciousness.  Basically, Israelis have become used to the idea that there is nothing in fact that they can do about the Palestinians that will resolve the situation.  The Palestinians like most Arabs and Muslims are against Israel's existence, they won't recognize us and won't negotiate seriously and truthfully with us.  So what's the point in worrying about it.  When, if ever, they come around we'll be here, otherwise they are our enemy and there's nothing we can do to satisy them.  Pres. Abbas does not control the West Bank, let alone Gaza, and so there truly is no partner and so the Palestinian situation was by default ignored by all parties, except perhaps the left that claimed that Netanyahu is avoiding an opportunity to negotiate with them, but they were basically parroting Obama's position anyway against their political enemy.
 So we are going to vote to choose who we think should lead our wonderful country.  Even though everything is certainly not perfect here, and the electoral system leaves much to be desired, nevertheless we have a Jewish country with a stable democracy, and that's how we like it.   It took a lot of struggle and suffering to get to this point and we owe it to the pioneers to cast our ballots.  More analysis later when the results come pouring in. 


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