No other country in the world has as many political parties as we have in Israel. As of today, there are fourteen registered parties for the electorate.
Some are the same. Same faces. Same ideology. Same futility. Same hope (but hopeless all the same).
And now we have the birth of new political parties. New ideologies. Familiar faces. New faces. New hope?
There is Benny Gantz on one side, a former IDF general and war hero. Some people complain that we have a government controlled by generals, past and present.
There is a new Israeli party led by the combination of Shaked and Bennett. Sounds promising.
There is Yesh Atid, a hope for the future, still led by the respected Yair Lapid.
There is the loss in Kulanu of Michael Oren, the Abba Eban of this generation. A former Israeli ambassador to the USA, a gifted author and public speaker, a brilliant scholar of international relations, and an intellectual member of the Knesset, a place where intellectuals take second or third place to socialists, ultra-Orthodox, Arab joint lists and the remnants of the political circus.
The fact that Oren is American born, an Anglo, makes him less popular among many Israelis. They forget that Golda Meir was once an American who brought dignity to our small country.
Abba Eban was the most outstanding English-speaker in the halls of the United Nations and represented Israel with respect and admiration by most of the UN delegates but was not overly loved by the Jews of the State of Israel. How could an Anglo be a “real” Israeli?
In the days of our early years under socialist governments tractor drivers and farmers were more respected than silver-tongued diplomats and politicians.
With the probable forthcoming indictment of our Prime Minister Netanyahu the Knesset, now dissolved, is in turmoil with the influx of new parties, new names, new faces, some experienced, some not.
Unhappily, Israel’s hope has too frequently turned into hopelessness. We are committed to building new settlements in violation of international agreements. We are further away from peace than in past years. Talks don’t exist. Negotiations have died but have not yet been buried.
Abbas grows older and less healthy and refuses to name a possible successor. The enmity of Fatah and Hamas remains a failed attempt at forming one united Palestinian government.
And no Israeli politician is prepared to have a conversation with Hamas which does not recognize our very existence.
Fourteen political parties sitting under one roof can be a hope for a successful coalition or it can be a continuation of the past years of hopelessness. Every Jew has an opinion and a multitude of opinions leads only to a flood of disillusion and public despair.
Nations like those in the Anglo-Saxon countries of the world have been successful due to the restraints of multi-party delegations. Voters have an easier choice in electing a candidate from one or two or three political parties. Fourteen parties form a circus under a tent.
We have the elephants and the apes and monkeys. But where are the peanuts? Every good circus has peanuts.
Perhaps Bezeq and Walla and Mozes’ Yediot can find them. They have a proven success record in digging up lost causes.
2019 is hours away. Will it be a new year of hope or another year of hopelessness?
Don’t ask the politicians. Ask God ! Who will He vote for?