The definition of sanity

Image by Lisa Liel based in part on Israel elections 2015 by דוד שי on Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

“Nu, what do you want from me?  All the polls said you were going to get 6 seats, 8 seats, something like that.  And Bennett and Shaked were slipping below the threshold.  So what did you want me to do?  I figured I could help them get in as well.  How was I supposed to know Zehut wouldn’t get in?”

I heard that, almost exactly (it was in Hebrew), from a friend.  I’ve heard similar stories from many others.  Almost everyone I know in Zehut has heard the same stories.  People who supported Zehut.  Who were dying for Zehut to get into the Knesset.  And they did what they thought was the responsible thing by not voting for Zehut, because they were that sure we were safely in.

Others told me the same thing, except that it wasn’t Bennett they were trying to save.  It was the Likud.  They were afraid that Blue & White would get more votes than the Likud, so that even if Zehut was safely in like all the polls said, we’d be in the opposition.  So they voted for the Likud to keep that from happening.  They were gutted when they found out Zehut hadn’t gotten in after all.  They felt personally responsible.

But how can I blame them?  We’ve grown accustomed to relying on polls.  Never mind how inaccurate they actually are.  We get bombarded with their nonsense day in and day out for months.  Surely they wouldn’t lie?

Einstein is said to have defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  If that’s the case, “Doing things differently in order to achieve different results” would be the definition of sanity.  So let’s look at what Zehut is doing differently this time.

  • In the run up to the April elections, Zehut refused to be categorized as right wing.  As someone who has been saying for decades, long before Zehut was founded, that the “left-right” spectrum is meaningless in Israel, I understood what that meant.  But Zehut hadn’t spent enough time laying the groundwork to explain that to the public, so saying, “We aren’t right and we aren’t left” just meant to many that we wouldn’t support the nationalist camp.  Which was ridiculous, but that’s how people understood it.Thousands upon thousands of Israelis who love Zehut’s economic and social agenda chose not to vote for Zehut because they were afraid Zehut would help create a leftist/Arab government with Gantz.  I sat outside of a school here in Karmiel on election day, and dozens of people told me that to my face.  Those people can now vote for the economic and social policies they support without risking the national suicide the left wants for us.
  • As I noted above, the thousands of Zehut supporters who didn’t think their one vote would matter, and that Zehut was safely in the Knesset, now know better.  They aren’t going to run off to save some other party this time.  Not even if polls were to say Zehut was getting 30 seats.
  • And the 20-somethings.  Ah, the 20-somethings.  I was speaking to a friend here in Karmiel who’s in her 20s.  She has three friends she grew up with who now live in the center of the country.  They had all intended to vote for Zehut.  But you know, when you’re in your 20s and you’re moving around from apartment to apartment, you rarely go to the Interior Ministry to change your address.  What would be the point?  Same thing if you’re in college.  So where’s your assigned polling place?  Hint: not in the same town where you live.  My friend’s childhood friends would have had to have taken trains and buses for 3-4 hours to get back up here to Karmiel, taken another bus to their polling place, stood in line to vote, then taken a bus back to the train station and spent another 3-4 hours to go home.  Do any of you remember being that age?  I’m in my 50s, but I remember it clearly.  Burn an entire day off from work for a single vote that isn’t going to make much of a difference any way?  Not likely.This time, they know that their vote is needed, and that they don’t have to spend 8 hours of their day just to vote.  There are ways to vote locally if you live too far away from your polling place.And if there were any doubt as to how 20-somethings felt – and still feel – about Zehut, all you have to do is look at the army vote, where Zehut was the third biggest vote getter in the country, after the Likud and Blue & White.

Zehut has identified and changed all of the main things that resulted in it falling short of the threshold by a mere 22,000 votes.  Doing that is the very definition of sanity.

But insanity?  For that, you’ll have to look to the people who plan on voting for Likud or Yemina in order to make sure they have a “right wing government”.  Talk about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Bibi will be the same Bibi.  He’ll continue to let the south burn.  He’ll continue to pay the terrorists off to purchase another day or week of quiet until they decide to start attacking us again.  He’ll continue destroying Jewish homes and refusing to destroy illegal Arab ones.

Bennett and Shaked will be the same Bennett and Shaked.  The same people who defended the security services who tortured young Jewish men for an arson they had nothing to do with, and claimed there was no torture at all – until the forced confessions were overturned because they were obtained by… that’s right: torture.

They’ll be the same people who sat in a government that did nothing of substance to improve our security situation, under a Prime Minister who, unlike his predecessors, who acted when Israel came under nuclear threat (Begin in Iraq and Olmert in Syria), limited himself to whining to the UN and the American Congress and throwing the responsibility to them.  And never, not once, did they even threaten to leave the coalition over any of this.  In fact, the one time Bennett threatened to bolt the coalition was when Avigdor Lieberman resigned as Defense Minister, and Bennett decided he wanted the job.  And even then, it took him less than 2 days to back down from his empty threat.

Smotrich and Peretz will be Smotrich and Peretz.  Smotrich will continue pretending to be nationalist while he crows about authorizing Arab construction in Area C.  He’ll continue talking about imposing Jewish law on all of the citizens of the state.  Peretz, the former chief rabbi of the IDF, who told soldiers that they were morally and legally obligated to participate in ethnically cleansing the Jewish towns of Gush Katif, and who is a big fan of reparative therapy to “cure” those pesky gays.

“Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  Honestly.  I’ve heard Likud and Yemina supporters accusing Zehut of that, not even realizing the irony of that accusation coming from them.

By the time Election Day comes around this time, there’ll be no more question of whether Zehut is going to pass the threshold.  But this time, everyone who wants Zehut in the Knesset is going to make sure they cast a זן ballot to make sure that happens.

It’s the only sane thing to do.

About the Author
Lisa Liel lives in Karmiel with her family. She works as a programmer/developer, reads a lot, watches too much TV, does research in Bronze/Iron Age archaeology of the Middle East, and argues a lot on Facebook.
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