20th January 2013
Shevu’a Tov dear friends – Gut Voch, have a good week!
Today I envy the United States, the election fervour is over and today President Obama’s inauguration ceremony with its full pomp and circumstance takes place. One thing is exceptional in that his oath of office was taken in private rather than in public. I wish the President a relatively uneventful Presidency and recognition of who are his best friends and who pray for his downfall; of economic revival and social change.
Our elections are still ahead and the level of confusion is unbelievable. We don’t have the luxury of simply deciding if we want Democrats or Republicans, we currently have over 30 parties to choose from! Of course many will not pass the electoral threshold and will lose their deposits – in my opinion we must vote for those who truly represent our beliefs and will actually be in the running for a coalition with the almost certain PM to be Mr Netanyahu. That must be the criteria in deciding who is important and who not.
Just so that you understand the confusion of choice one goes from the slightly ridiculous in Zvi’s childhood friend Dan Biron and the “Pirate” party, through the various religious parties, Haredi Ashkenaz, Haredi Mizrachi, Shas and the Breslauer party and the brave Rabbi Amsalem’s party which has broken away from Shas because he believes that religious Jews should work and pay taxes and serve in the IDF; Russian Olim parties, Ethiopian Olim party, the Arab parties, Atidim and Yesh Atid of Yair Lapid, former journalist, which despite being new has many aspects which are very attractive to those who are tired of carrying the weight of this country’s security and economy while receiving few bonuses for the honour although one lady who insisted she was voting for him because he is handsome confused the issues!; new on the scene is “HaBayit ha Yehudi” which is young, led by Naftali Bennet, right wing and gaining ground from Likud; we then come ot the familiar parties – left wing Meretz; centrist Avodah or Labour party led by former journalist Shelli Yachimovitch who is for social equality but hot on security; Hatnua, the newly formed Tsippi Livni party after she left Kadima; Kadima led by the highly impressive former chief of staff Shaul Mofaz of whom Ariel Sharon, when he made him C-of-Staff, said “With Mofaz at the helm I am at peace”; finally and most certainly the largest vote will be for Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu leading all the other parties.
Now do you understand our discombobulation? Even the centrist parties are too many and the right isn’t so right and the left isn’t so left and some went so far to the extremes that they lost me along the way………………….. gosh! As I said, now we have to work out who can work with Mr Netanyahu to bring about the social and security changes we must bring about to remain the democratic and successful country we are so proud of. I don’t want to vote for someone who will decide to quit the opportunity to lead the change because their pride forces them into opposition, I want someone who can be the force for change and the brakes on extreme policies. I want someone who will represent my views and my dreams for this amazing little country, bring us into a more cohesive and responsible community and is able to present our best qualities to a world that is ready to chastise us for existing.
Soldiers who are not in bases because they are out on operations have already voted but the rest of us go to the polls on Tuesday. I will show my voting card, my ID card and leave them with the panel in the pre-designated room at the local high school, one of whom will check my name and ID card against the list and put a thick line through my name to prevent a second vote, then I will walk alone to the little booth and try hard to remember the letters which represent my party, pick the right “petek” or paper from the box with 30+ little papers and put it into the envelope, seal it and drop it into the sealed ballot box with a small prayer.
I must mention the tragedy in Algeria when insane terrorists kidnapped foreign workers in a closed compound of a large gas operation. The reaction of the Algerian authorities to the kidnapping, allegedly in response ot the French intervention to Islamic terror in Mali, was thoughtless and inept resulting in the deaths of most of the captives and all of the captors reminding one somewhat of the ineptitude of the operation by the German authorities in the Munich massacre. Yet another instance of Islamic revenge on the innocent for any attempt to bring order to chaos.
The good news today is that Senators both sides of the aisle came to visit the Prime Minister and President of Israel to great welcome and warmth. Mr Netanyahu emphasised that the world’s problems do not begin and end with Jewish settlements but rather with the enormous world threat of Iranhttp://www.timesofisrael.com/
netanyahu-history-wont- forgive-those-who-fail-to- stop-iran/
By the time I write again the shouting will be over, the negotiations for the coalition underway and the beautiful festival of trees, of rebirth, of planting and hope will be upon us………….Tu b’shvat
Wish us luck that we get the leader we need not the leader we deserve!!!!
With love from the ever beautiful Jerusalem. As I write to you I look out of our huge windows upon the twinkling lights of this city, still busy, still sparkling, still full of life and love even at 10:30 at night!!!!