To Be Or Not To Be? (Shakespeare) To Vote Or Not To Vote? (Me)

Forget Shakespeare, the bard of Avon. We are, because we are. No choice in the matter. Blame the parents who forced us out of the womb of comfort.

Now the question is from the bard of Rishon. Do we have to vote if we don’t approve of people in parties to deserve our vote?

With only a very few possibilities amidst the 21 different political parties, the choice narrows. I like some parties (Likud, for example) but I dislike its leader (Netanyahu..no good example).

In the past few days I’ve been seriously considering Ichud haYamin, the United Right Party, with former Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked as head of the combined parties.

But with all the wheeling and dealing for spots and for seats in the Knesset and ministerial posts, I have to examine under a microscope who I would want “in” and who I would want “out”.

You may hazard a guess for the “ins”. The “outs” are more conspicuous. I could not live happily with a government containing any member of the fascist party Otzma Yehudit.

Their candidate, BenGvir, hangs a portrait in a place of honor in his home.. a portrait of Baruch Goldstein who wantonly massacred Muslim worshippers in prayer at the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Machpela, in Hebron.

It would be, for me personally, as vile as anyone who would hang a photo of Hitler on their walls.

The Otzma party, sprung from the genes of a notorious racist and a wanted criminal in America, Meir Kahane, proudly voices its commitment to ridding us of 20% of our population.

We may not all like Arabs who commit terrorist activities but as a democratic and Jewish people we cannot condemn the good with the bad, we cannot wash the clean with the filth. And every DECENT being anywhere on God’s planet understands it. (Yes… any DECENT human being !)

Otzma has the absolute right to despise terrorism. We all do. It has the absolute right to demand an increase in Jewish settlements, but only if those settlements are not built upon legally owned Arab land.

If an Arab can produce verified legal documents showing his ownership registered in the Tabu, then no government nor political party can steal it from him. “Sheli sheli, shelo shelo”… what is mine is mine and what is his is his. Otzma wants to change it to “shelo sheli”, what’s his is mine.

If Ayelet Shaked can continue to eliminate Otzma from the United Right party, then she may have my vote. If not, I’ll scratch my head wondering for which party’s ballot I will drop in the box on 17 September.

Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut has many principles with which I agree but my family insists that it would be a waste of a vote. The guy has no chance of winning. Perhaps he could join with Shaked’s party. Who knows?

“To be or not to be”…. To be a wise person or a less-than-wise person? To be a winner or a loser? To be a hopeful dreamer or to be a faithful realist? Oh well… what did Shakespeare know? He never met a Jew (unless he was ever in Venice).

A reader took me to task a few days ago for not showing the respect that a “gentleman should show for a woman”. I am the gentleman. The woman to whom he made reference was Bibi’s wife Sara. And no. I do not respect her. It is one of the privileges that Herzl and Begin bequeathed to me… to uphold my Zionist pride.

Right now my “concern” is what to do on 18 September. Shall I recite hallel or kaddish? Shall I open a can of beer or a bottle of champagne? Shall I laugh or shall I cry? Will my family and neighbors honor me for my vote or reject me? Why am I obsessed with such foolishness?

Maybe the answer lies in age. This may be my last opportunity to vote in one of our national elections. Age is creeping faster than I would prefer. But while the body is slowing down, the mind (thank God) remains young and clear.

So the question remains. Not Shakespeare’s question of “to be or not to be”, but the more pragmatic question: “to vote or not to vote”?

I’ll know the answer to that only after the voting booths close on 17 September. Please wish me well.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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