Not such a hard choice

With the US elections finally behind us, my friends and family in the States and Israel are pretty evenly divided in their reactions. Some see the results as the mark a new dawn (complete with a worldwide screening of the movie “Hair”), and the rest are convinced that this is the end of civilization as we know it.

Personally, I’m more focused on what may or may not be a very interesting election here in Israel.

For you Americans kvetching how every four years you choose between the lesser of two evils, consider what we go through in Israel. Our governments rarely survive a full four-year term before, once again, we must choose between the lesser of 30 evils (no exaggeration, really!).

Usually I only decide while en route to the polling station for whom to vote. But not this year. I have already decided who I believe is the best possible prime minister for Israel. The only problem is that, as of this writing, he is not, technically speaking, a candidate.

As a general rule, I refuse to share any of my deep political convictions within my blogs, I allow myself an exception here as my decision really has nothing to do with politics.

I realize that many of you were setting high hopes for the Vynot party that I mentioned on this very site a few months ago. Fear not, my loyal supporters; this is still in the works. I just need more time to get it all off the ground, what with Moshe Kahlon reportedly talking to everyone and their grandmother about joining forces, and former premier Ehud Olmert not yet getting that nobody wants to talk to him about running together.

So for now, I have decided to throw my support behind a candidate that I believe would be the very best thing for Israel in the international arena.

My candidate actually left the Knesset in January 2010, but it is time to bring him back.

Of course, I refer to none other than former Labor Party, One Israel, Labor-Meimad, Labor-Meimad- Am Ehad, and Labor Under Ehud Barak MK, Ophir Pines-Paz, often referred to simply as Ophir Pines.

My reason for supporting Mr. Pines for prime minister is very simple – in Hebrew, we pronounce his last name “pee-nes.”

With a prime minister named Pee-nes, the international media would have two options – to either bombard their audiences daily with news of “Prime Minister Penis.” or to stop reporting on Israel altogether and simply leave us the hell alone.

Of course, many in the international arena would try to pass off his name as it is written in English – Pines, as in the plural of the common fir trees. But we Israelis are far too savvy to allow that to happen.

No sir! We would make certain that our prime minister is given the respect due any world leader of not having his name bastardized simply for the comfort of insecure and immature news anchors worldwide.

Voting for Mr. Pines should not be such a hard choice. After all, is he really any different than any of the other pricks running for the position?

I realize that on the surface, this comes across as disrespectful to a man who has served in our government for many years. I honestly do not mean for it to be.

Unlike far too many of his colleagues, Ophir Pines has never been involved (or at least not implicated) in any crimes, any unkosher shenanigans, or in any way failing to serve the public to the best of his abilities. On the contrary, he was awarded the “Ometz” (Courage) award in 2006 by “Citizens for Good Governance and Social Justice”. He also received the 1997 “Amitai” prize for honest management and integrity.

No matter how much one agrees or disagrees with the man’s views on security, economy, and any other several burning issues upon which we base how we vote, the personal integrity and service that Ophir Pines has demonstrated are not to be taken lightly.

Moreover, in Israel, the name Pines (as we pronounce it), is a well-respected name dating back to the early years of Zionism. The religious moshav, Kfar Pines, which lies approximately 53 km (33 miles) south of Haifa, is named for Rabbi Yehiel Michel Pines (no relation to the former MK), an early religious Zionist thinker and writer who arrived in Israel in 1878. Rabbi Pines espoused many ideas that the religious Zionist community today would do very well to hear, learn and adopt.

All that being said, I still hold that he should be our next prime minister based on the pronunciation of his name.

Can you imagine some of headlines that we could expect throughout a Pines administration….

Palestinian leaders say they will not bend over anymore for Pines

EU leaders complain that working with Pines is hard

Pines feeling very harried while putting together coalition
And so on and so forth – the possibilities are endless.

Pines might prematurely pull out of the territories

I do not mean to disrespect either the man or his name, but I also realize that the international media – at least in English – would never agree to say Pines as it is meant to be pronounced. I can think of no better way to get the world to stop reporting on every little thing that we do or say.

Until now, the only way that has happened is when we have been on the receiving end of hundreds of unprovoked rockets.

About the Author
Asher Zeiger grew up (well, sort of) in North Carolina and moved to Israel in 1988. He lives in Modi'in with his wife and two daughters, and works as freelance writer, editor and translator. In his spare time, he tries hard at not taking himself or life too seriously (successfully) and at unwrapping himself from around his daughters' little fingers (not so successfully).