Muscular Israel has had two difficult weeks: Athletes asked why they should do a high jump when it's possible to use a pole; discouraged tennis players fell on their rackets; judoka sprawled on the mattress even before they managed to say jujitsu; basketball players challenged a Teuton Goliath, but he dunked a ball right before their eyes; and soccer players, descendants of the Maccabees, were actually defeated by the Greeks. Israeli sports are changing all of Jewish history, and are putting an end to its glory.
The failure would have been less resounding were it not for the roaring arrogance prior to every contest. Although sclerosis is one of the signs of national pathology, it won't be any different the next time; cut and save.
Sports are only a parable and they have many morals, which share a common denominator: a disconnect from reality, an unrealistic self-image and a God who is too great, who doesn't always adapt the miracles to the needs. And we are preparing for the next war as for the next World Cup, as for the previous European Championship.
If only we could jump and bat and score baskets and goals only on our home court - let Yossi beat Yossi - and we didn't have to compete outside; if only we could win and lose here, among ourselves, and without any 'there,' without that disgusting need to compare and to be equal. Why not keep to ourselves, dwell alone, and not be counted among the nations? After all, we know that the entire world is against us and won't miss an opportunity to prove it. In that case, why play with it, and alongside it?
How happy we were when the OECD agreed to accept us into its ranks, which are the front rows of the world: Europe is here, just like Judea and Samaria. It was a bad bargain, of course, a recipe for bitter disappointment. Since then we have been flooded with statistics that only embarrass us, presenting us as we really are, and not as we thought we were. It used to be warmer and tastier, when we cooked in our own juice.
Without all those international indexes, we wouldn't have known that there are more poor people in Israel than in any other developed country; without all the comparisons, we wouldn't have known that we're No.1 in the Western world when it comes to the social gap; that the cost of living here is not logical and not fair; that housing in Paris is cheaper than in Tel Aviv, and the same is true of the yogurt in London.
And we wouldn't have been fully aware of the situation of our children-students, stuck on the bottom rung of the ladder of achievement; we would have continued to believe that they are the smartest, because they're ours and they're Jews, and they're the only ones who get to study the Jewish heritage and to visit the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. And we wouldn't have known that the classrooms in our schools are the most crowded, and the teachers' salary is the lowest, and the investment per child is too low. And we wouldn't have known that among the 100 leading universities, there is not a single local one. That's because the OECD and the other hostile organizations decided to pour salt on our wounds and to expose them to everyone.
How good it is to be in the dark, when the illuminated facts don't shuffle the pack of nice verses about how "all Jews are responsible for one another"; how nice not to know our place on the ladder of corruption, when even the Kirya Defense Department headquarters is becoming the rich man's Ronit Farm, and the Ofer family's Dead Sea (Works ) really is the lowest place.
The Israelis are like hostages, who are comfortable in the paradise of the blind. Sometimes they feel like stopping the world in order to get off; maybe we'll submit an official request for resignation to the United Nations, the OECD, and the Olympic Committee. But there's also another option: to stop in order finally to get on board.
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