In Leeds, we Jews were brought up to be Doctors. Any other professional aspiration was pathognomonic of lousy parenting. The legal calling is foremost in the list of professions equated with perverse deviation. Be an accountant, if need be; what better way is there to fiddle the books? For us, taxation was some Gentile self-abasement. Smart Jews avoided taxes. A good accountant could aid and abet the occasional well thought out bankruptcy. Of course, when all else failed, setting the business on fire did need a good insurance policy; accountants could be useful.
Jews everywhere have a fundamental problem. Our chicken and egg conundrum is what came first? Did we invent God first, or did God chose us? What was clear was that he and we were very close. Sometimes, the creator lets us down big time. Proof came in the profound ongoing misery that we Jews endured. The suffering compounded for a Leeds Jewry condemned to subscribe to the lost cause known as Leeds United.
On the other hand, we did cheat a fair bit; most of us were confirmed backsliders if not out and out renegades. All the same, God made the rules, and we knew what they were. If we had any transgressions, we could sort it out on Yom Kippur. The more feeble-minded could always ask a Rabbi. Beyond the pale of our mindset was the mystical complex Gentile world. A place run by different rules. Those rules were not for us to necessarily obey; they were to circumvent and make sure that we never got caught. And if you could not do either, then observe them till you could. This legal paraphernalia was part of the alien Gentile world. They wore silly wigs, long robes- for them every day was Purim; they even spoke a funny affected way. They were as remote to us as that other Gentile absurdity – fox hunting.
I came home to Israel- I built my family as a part of our village Oranit. Israelis know how to live with the inevitable Rabbinical system. The Rabbinate is grafted, in more sense than one, onto our national body image. In Israel, they do not only cater to the feeble-minded.
Imagine my horror to discover we were a nation of Gentiles. We have a myriad of lawyers- they are everywhere. Everyone has a legal advisor; I am convinced that Genesis should be re-written: ‘In the beginning, God created his legal adviser. Chaos was given legal standing and inalienable rights.’ In the true Jewish tradition of ‘I’ll give you two for the price of one,’ Israeli lawyers offer three for the price of one. You will receive an explanation on paying, another when the lawyer calms down and realises what to expect and a bonus explanation of what went wrong and why. The bonus may be an inducement to start the pot-luck process all over again. Out learned gentlefolk sarcastically call this ‘an appeal.’
In Israel, our lawyers have become very Jewish. Like we Jews in Leeds, they find it hard to feel to distinguish themselves from the ultimate giver of the law. In Israel, that is our elected Knesset. The Israeli judge is no longer an applier of the Knesset’s laws. Our judiciary is self-enabled to say what the specific law should mean. If there isn’t a law, then it is to pretend that their wished-law really exists. In Israel, our High Court has become Deus Ex Machination.
The pomposity knows no bounds. To quote the British Comedian, Kenneth Williams. ‘After a long explanation, an irritated Judge retorted, “I must admit I am none the wiser.” To which the supplicant lawyer replied,” No, M’Lud, you most certainly are not. However, you are better informed.”’
One of Kenneth Williams’ claims to fame was his alter ego, ‘Rambling Syd Rumpo.’ Like Syd my ditty is yet to ramble on.
In the UK, any Jew with political aspirations had to do one thing. They had to disavow being a fully-fledged Jew. They anglified themselves from the ‘hue of a Jew,’ to a vague Jewish tint. Better still, convert. In Israel, they too have morphed into something unexpected. They are all Super-Jews; politicians exaggerate, adopt and enhance charcatures of different facets of Jewishness. We have militant penguins, colonising Zionists, cerebral liberals and nostalgic socialists. Our PM has decided to portray his, hopefully, last act in his new persona- a colonising Zionist.
Netanyahu and his erratic bestie in Washington are about to extend Israeli law over swathes of land with unfathomable consequences. When you confuse hysteric with historic that barely matters.
Nevertheless, two Israeli aberrations, our lawyers and our politicians are about to joust.
The alternatively self- defining sublime and the ridiculous will become sublimely ridiculous.
No one knows who the winner will be. No one has the slightest of doubts who the losers will be.