Understanding (or mis-nderstanding) politics

I do not understand politics. Neither American politics or, God help us, not even our own Israeli politics.

Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Alt-right, Alt-left.  Likud, Meretz, Yesh Atid,  Habayit Hayehudi, Shas and more. Politics seem to me like a circus full of clowns attempting to amuse the pubic. Some shout louder, some dance better, some sing nicer. But when the performance is over most of us walk away.

Politicians are elected to help their citizens and constituents. In the United States, every voter has direct access to their elected officials. They can express their opinions sometimes even face to face. They can criticize or praise actions of their elected officials. We in Israel do not have that privilege. Only the privilege to criticize (which we do twenty-four hours of every day) to our family and friends.  We have no personal connection with the elected personnel in our Knesset unlike Americans who are free to contact their representatives in the Senate or in the House of Representatives. The benefits of American political democracy do not exist here in Israel.

One needs only to follow the immense news reports, letters to newspaper editors, television and radio correspondents, on the subject of the tragic race riots in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Thousands of voices have been heard from every state in the American union and politicians are listening. All but one. The elected President of the United States has disgraced himself from mis-spoken words, placing the blame incorrectly on both sides of the rioters. He has shamed himself, though he will never admit it, and has inadvertently given Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and White Supremacists their rights to march carrying swastika banners, shouting death threats to Jews and blacks, without fear of prosecution…. All under the guise (or disguise) of freedom of speech.

Why individuals would want to enter the political scene is beyond me. Not really. Without them there would be no government nor anyone to govern. Many politicians choose to glorify themselves in the high honor they hold. Many aspire to rise from lower political life to a much higher one. And thankfully, there are many very honest and decent individuals who seek a political position in order to be of help to the people and nation they are elected to serve.

Most countries have two official political parties… a left and a right. We crazy Israelis have more than a dozen political parties and fringe elements going from right-right to medium right or left-left to anti-right or modern religious Orthodox to ultra-Orthodox, to haredi religious, and to Chasidic religious.

In our Israeli democracy or rather theocracy, there is no room for liberal religious Jews, Conservative or Reform, or non-affiliated Jews who constitute the majority  Jews in all countries in which they live.

Ben-Gurion’s biggest error was not advocating the separation of religion from the State. We have been suffering in confusion ever since 1948.  Only a dictator, if elected, could possibly amend the situation. Some say that Bibi Netanyahu is our elected dictator. Not so. Sara might be the better example. When she says “hire”, he hires; when she says “fire”, he fires. It often appears that we have elected Sara and not Bibi to be our Prime Minister.

As I have said, I do not understand politics. I do not like the way the world is turning. I worry about Iran, China, North Koreas, Isis, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the haredim of Mea Shearim and B’nai Brak.

I worry about the security of Israel. I worry about our putting trust into untrustworthy hands. Only one Acamol as part of my daily diet keeps my tensions steady.

But because Acamol is a product of the declining TEVA, I worry all the more.  My shares have fallen drastically.

As of today, I am increasing my daily dosage of Acamol, followed by a small soothing glass of Scotch whiskey and a l’chayim to politics.

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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