Judging by the elections results which were decidedly equivocal, Israel remains in deep denial regarding the real challenges at hand. It is amazing how the world at large with almost no exception is quite certain that peace in the Middle East remains a major issue to be dealt with, while none of the Israel’s big parties (10 Knesset seats and more) appear to subscribe to similar concerns. Not Likud-Beiteinu which didn’t even bother to produce a party platform or mention the two-state solution during the campaign, not Yair Lapid’s “Yesh Atid” which did pay lip-service to the need to negotiate but at the same time put the lid on any serious dialogue with the “untrustworthy Palestinians” by claiming Jewish exclusivity for Jerusalem, not Shas which has bigger worries keeping Yeshivas well funded, not the Labor party which preferred, this time around, to concern itself mainly with social and economic problems and definitely not Naftali Bennett’s “Habeit Hayehudi” which just said “forget it, it’s our land, no problem”.
One would think that now that the elections are over and done with and the parties are left to deal with reality and do not have to stick to the make-believe virtual reality that each party created to get more votes for itself, they would come around and create a coalition to solve the real issue: How to finally make Israel into a normal country with permanent borders – after all, it’s only been 65 years of temporary arrangements and periodical violent rearrangements. But alas, it is not to be – the “real” issues as decided by joint and agreed-upon denial concern the inclusion, or not of the Charedi parties in the government and serious deliberations if to use the Yaalon plan, the Kendall plan, the Lapid plan or the Bennett plan when considering how to spread the burden of military and national service more evenly among the population. Is this for real ??
Spreading the burden evenly remains much more of an issue than lowering it in the first place by maybe, just maybe trying to shut down this conflict. There is general self-serving agreement that it is easier to deal with the Jews and work out some kind of compromise on burden-sharing than dealing with the real burning issue which continues to threaten the future of the Jewish State. After all, so goes our narrative, we just cannot compromise with the Palestinians or even deal with them, they are not a partner, they are not united (unlike us…), they teach their children terrible things about the Jews and all they want is to drown us in the sea.
This is twilight’s last gleaming before the night comes. And the night gives us the opportunity to dream of what lies ahead. And what does lie ahead for us ? The first thing that lies ahead of us is Obama’s visit. All Obama has to do on his visit is tell us is that he understands our problems, that he supports us wholeheartedly, that we know how he and the whole world think about the territories and what is expected of us and that he is certain that Israel will know what to do to remain Jewish and democratic. Not more and not less, that should be scary enough. And if we don’t wake up from this dream right then and there, the next one is is lined up and ready:
A budget that has to pass. A budget that must take care of a growing population which, to an ever increasing degree, doesn’t have access to affordable housing, whose standard of living has mostly decreased or at best stagnated, whose poverty levels have not diminished or even increased and who has to pay more and more for ever less equitable education and health maintenance. And we will have to decide if we want more F-35 stealth fighters, more anti-missile systems and more preparations for war with Iran. Until now, it’s only a dream.
And when we wake up in the morning, the sun is up, and it shines brightly on our real problems, the ones we could only dream about. And the clock is ticking. And we have to solve them. And we look around us for guidance. And we are afraid. We are afraid as a nation because we do not have spirited leadership showing us the way. We have fearful hedging big-mouths as leaders who do not tell us the truth. They tell us what we like to hear: There is no partner. Jerusalem is ours. The world doesn’t really care as long as we are steadfast and believe in ourselves. The economy is fine and just needs a little tuning. Sure.
These are the leaders we elected and we deserve them. And it makes solving our real problems so much harder. But solve them we must. Now.