An Empty Suitcase

A former neighbor, a wise woman and a devoted nurse who knows my political opinions from long years of conversations, sent me a funny e-mail asking what I would do if Likud and Netanyahu won the March election.

If I could respond to her question in person it would be in three monosyllabic Hebrew: “poo poo poo”!

But in written response one needs to be more elaborate and definitive. So I told her about my empty suitcase.

It stands behind my bedroom door waiting to be filled and ready for air travel to a land of sanity.

In short Hebrew words I explained that the empty suitcase would be packed with all the clothes and accessories needed for a long… correction.. for a very long vacation outside of the borders of Israel.

It pains me to think of it but I need to speak dugri and to say what I mean, like it or not. Simply stated, I would no longer prefer to reside in a country governed by an indicted criminal who has no shame and who cannot admit to our voters the truth of the accusations made against him. His cowardly conscience prohibits his mouth from admitting guilt and then falling on the voting public for forgiveness and mercy.

Why must he wait until Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur to beat his left breast while reciting three humbling Hebrew confessions: Slach li. M’chal li. Kaper li. If Israeli readers are not familiar with the words, it pains me even more to realize how great is the lack of Jewish knowledge and faith.

Looking at the empty suitcase I decide that there is no need to fill it with clothes, etc. Socks, shoes, underwear, shirts, a sweater or two, and a multi-seasonal jacket I can buy anywhere. I am told that the world outside can fill many suitcases. Lo chaser kanyonim b’chul. There is no shortage of malls overseas.

Politics and politicians I will never miss. But loving family members who, like me, have grown old and life-long friends whose hair (if any is left) is white but whose hearts continue to beat with the love of a Jew for a Jew, a Zionist for a Zionist, an Israeli for one who contemplates departing from Israel… those I will miss with the breath remaining in my body.

So I have arrived at the conclusion of the dilemma. What to pack in an empty suitcase? Pictures ! Photos! Videos! They and me together. I am smiling when I recall that I was a young sixteen year old boy before Prime Minister Netanyahu was even born. Happy days !

On a wall in my home hangs a certificate awarded to me as second prize in an essay contest on the subject of Eretz Yisrael (Palestine) in 1947, one year before our country’s name had a longed-for change to Medinat Yisrael, the State of Israel. The Keren Kayemet, sponsor of the essay competition, has grown old and ever gracious with the passing of time and of name-changes.

Israel has grown old yet remains forever young and hopeful. Politics here stink as they do in countries world-wide…. Perhaps the stench is greater here! It can be smelled even beyond our borders.

Britain had its Churchill. France had its De Gaulle. America had its Roosevelt, And Russia had its Stalin.

And Israel had (still has) its falafel in pita smothered with tehina sauce, chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and, (but only if you are a brave Mizrachi or Sefardi) the fiery schug sauce which requires a fire brigade to douse the internal flame.

So, when all is said and done, I tell my former neighbor that my suitcase can remain open and empty. Israel is home for better or for worse. (For a Bibi or a Tibi).

On March 3 when ballots are counted and results published I will have one choice:

To recite a prayer of hallel (pride and joy) or a prayer of kaddish (recited for the dead).

You, my dear compatriots, will have to decide for me. Happy voting!!!

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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