Imagine for a moment the Knesset plenary. You know what it looks like. The elliptical hall, the yellowy brown seats, the photo of Herzl above the speaker’s chair. Once you can see it in your mind, fast forward to the day the government is sworn in.
Marina, the usher, opens the doors. She’s smiling, like always. Yaakov Litzman walks in. He ignores her, like always. He walks across the hall to his usual place but then stops. He remembers. He turns around and walks towards the opposition benches, looks down, finds his name and sits down. Moshe Gafni arrives a few seconds later, angrier than usual (he’s always angrier than usual) and sits next to Litzman. Joining them in the opposition are all the budgets, all the religious coercion, the mini-market law, the exclusivity of the Rabbinate, the never-ending extortion. They both look up, Deri is standing next to them. He looks confused and then sits down too.
After them come Smotrich and Ben Gvir. They’re arguing about something. They’re always arguing about something. They sit on the opposition benches. They’re joined in the opposition by the violence, the racism, the laws that harm Arab Israelis, the ugly attacks on the courts, on the police, on the commanders of the IDF, on the soldiers of the IDF serving in the West Bank, the call to disobey orders, and all the attempts to turn Israel into a halachic state.
Netanyahu arrives late. He looks greyer than usual; suddenly, his age is noticeable. He’s holding a thick folder in his hand. His lawyers gave it to him. Inside it are all his indictments and the testimonies, including the submarine scandal. He sits down and starts to read.
On the other side of the plenary the new coalition is taking its seat. Benny Gantz, Gabi Ashkenazi, Bogie Ya’alon, Orna Barbivay, Miki Haimovich. Policy papers and work plans on the tables in front of them. Education, health, security, economy. The national plan to bring down the cost of living. The plan to support those who are self-employed. The plan to rebuild the Foreign Ministry and our relations with the Democratic Party, with Diaspora Jewry, with Europe. A coalition that has come to work. Not looking for jobs, without associates demanding a government contract, taking the money that politicians spent on themselves and their political parties and passing it to our children. To your children.
That’s the choice in these elections. After all the mudslinging and insults, there is the question of who will run the country and who they will run it for. On the one hand a prime minister who has stayed in his job three years too long. Who is being held hostage by extortionists and extremists because of his legal problems. Who abandons the interests of those who serve in the army and work in exchange for immunity and staying out of prison. Or a government with integrity which will work for your children. Which understands it has no role except to work for your children. That’s the choice.