Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

The Fools of Chelm

I watched the play “The Fools of Chelm” at a Jewish club in Brazil, in Portuguese. Aaron Zeitlin’s satire, even in translation, shone with its biting humor. But all those who spoke Yiddish, with a kind of reverent nostalgia, unanimously assured, “In Yiddish, it’s much better.” The play is a chronicle of absurdities, depicting a village where the inhabitants, despite considering themselves wise, make the most foolish and laughable decisions. It’s a powerful metaphor for the stupidity and presumption that often infest the corridors of power. The most idiotic of all, the mayor of Chelm, always made the most outrageous and harmful decisions. Netanyahu is the mayor of Chelm.

In the grotesque political theater of Israel, the Knesset has become a stage for tragicomedy. Itamar Ben-Gvir, our Minister of “Insecurity” with delusions of grandeur and the finesse of a buffoon, tried to blackmail his way to Netanyahu’s war table with the “Rabbis’ Law” as his bargaining chip. His plan collapsed so quickly that even the fools of Chelm would have felt like geniuses in comparison.

Soon, the circus of insults began. Ben-Gvir, with the subtlety of a rhinoceros in a china shop, called Netanyahu a “one-man government” and Arye Dery, leader of Shas, a “left-wing puppy.” Dery, no less ridiculous, responded by calling Ben-Gvir a “puffed-up balloon.” It was a playground fight, but on the Knesset stage, under the astonished eyes of a people who deserve much more than this parade of mediocrity.

For those who oppose the far-right coalition, seeing these clowns devour each other publicly might seem like a momentary relief. Finally, the architects of chaos were revealing themselves. But this satisfaction is as fleeting as a mirage in the desert. There are no heroes in this narrative, only pathetic villains. Ben-Gvir isn’t interested in saving hostages, and Dery doesn’t care about people without homes in the south. They are predators, blind to the needs of the people, focused only on their petty interests.

The supposed disintegration of the coalition, which could be a light at the end of the tunnel, is a cruel illusion. Netanyahu, our mayor of Chelm, continues to emerge unscathed from every crisis.

And so, the spectacle goes on. A government that should reflect the people’s will is, in fact, a broken mirror of personal interests and unchecked ambitions. Each day under this leadership is an insult to the intelligence and dignity of Israelis. It doesn’t matter who emerges victorious from this puerile dispute; we all lose. The protests, the collective outrage, are stifled cries in a void while Netanyahu and his cronies dance on the ruins of our democracy.

We are trapped in a comedy of errors, where leaders, blinded by their egos, play with the fate of a nation. The future looks like a cruel joke, a tragedy masquerading as farce. It’s hard to hold onto any hope when those in power are puppets of their selfish desires. What remains for the people is the bitter truth that our rulers, behind their masks of authority, are merely pathetic charlatans, unable to see beyond their petty ambitions. And so, Israel, the land of ancestral promises and hopes, remains hostage to the madness of its leaders while reality unravels on a stage of despair and disillusionment.

For those who do not understand Israel, what these idiots say or do in Hebrew is not funny in Hebrew or any language. The political farce, unfortunately, knows no translation that can redeem it. The play of Chelm, after all, teaches us that the real tragedy does not lie in the fools who govern but in the people who, day after day, are forced to watch this lamentable spectacle with no end in sight.

The imminent recess of the Knesset grants them a providential truce, three months to rearticulate their power schemes. Imagine if those doing miluim in the army also took three months off during a war. The lives of the 120 hostages don’t take a vacation, nor do the thousands of young people and members of our society on the front lines. No one takes a vacation except the residents of Chelm. Pausing the Knesset amid chaos is as stupid as the government that commands it.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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