An event last night that should have been a victory party for Kadima activists ended up looking like a support-group meeting for people who cringe at the thought of another triumph like the party's election win.
That is, until Dalia Itzik started showing the activists how to have a good time.
"Good evening!" she shouted, keeping at it until she heard a "good evening" in return. "You did it, we did it, Kadima did it, you did it, Tzipi Livni did it." The only thing that wasn't clear was what this ubiquitous "it" was.
It turned out to be not Livni's night, but Itzik's. The Knesset speaker served as both MC and support-group facilitator, showing an impressive capacity for autosuggestion.
On the other hand, Avi Dichter ("also my friend," announced Itzik) proved that it's possible to be far less charismatic than even Livni. Like Dichter, Eli Aflalo ("the thin version," Itzik decreed) tried to convince himself and the party activists that Livni was about to form the next government.
The activists love Tzachi Hanegbi, to judge by the hysteria that accompanied his appearance onstage.
Who won? Hanegbi asked. And who will lead the country? What a surprise - the Kadima activists responded with the party line.
"Tzachi, you were great!" Itzik said shortly before heaping on the superlatives to introduce Livni, who "in two more days will be forming the next government" ... "and if not, then we'll sit in the opposition." In the meantime, Itzik gave her listeners plenty of reasons to be happy; after all, their leader is a "slim woman" whose "energy is unbelievable."
Livni tried to recreate the excitement of election night, "when we saw in the exit poll that our bar was rising and rising and the bars of the other parties were stopping."
Like the speakers who preceded her, Livni apparently was hoping that if she kept repeating the mantra "I will form the next government," the words would somehow become a reality. According to Livni, a big wave of hope is about to flood the country "because we have a spine and a conscience."
During the entertainment portion of the evening, Dori Ben-Ze'ev sang "Lemon Tree" - a song that was quite suitable for Kadima's victory, which is looking more and more like lemonade that's turning back into a lemon.
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