Israel's Knesset: I wish I knew how to quit you
The Knesset is one of the few places where failure at your previous or current job does not endanger your employment opportunities.
Elections for Israel's 18th Knesset are slated for mid-February, just in time for Israelis to drop their valentines in little blue envelopes into the ballot box, hoping, probably in vain, that among the dim prospects a leader will emerge, and stay longer than the typical Israeli political fling.
Even with over a dozen party lists to choose from, the pickings are slim, like a singles' ball where the only other participants are your exes, with a smattering of Israeli Arabs, ultra-Orthodox Jews, and discontented pensioners huddling in the corners. Just as you begin to size up the dim prospects and contemplate leaving, they approach you with empty promises, trying to get you out on the dance floor as "Earth, Wind, and Fire" comes over the speakers.
The Knesset is one of the few places where failure at your previous or current job does not endanger your employment opportunities, and may in fact only propel you further, as you forsake the execution of your current position for the sake of greener pastures somewhere further down the road.
Front and center in the rogues gallery of Israel's past relationships stands Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a man whose desire to again become prime minister has sent him on a campaign to show the public how much he's changed, an ordeal whose greatest success so far has been to prove how disappointing his premiership really was for Israel.
Ehud's "I've changed" message has fallen mainly on deaf ears, as has his laughably inept billboard campaign, in which he has in his own words reminded the public how untrendy, unsympathetic, not friendly and uncharismatic he really is. At this point, Barak's only option left may be to personally visit every center-left leaning household in Israel and stand beneath their bedroom window with a teddy bear under each arm, a rose between his teeth and a serenading mariachi band, insisting he has changed, and he "just wants you to give him a chance to show you."
Kadima, coming off the historically embarrassing premiership of Olmert, whose dismal popularity surpassed even "W" levels, has put all their cards in Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's pot, hoping that she can revive the ghost of Sharon while also exorcising the memory of Ehud Olmert.
Livni (the world's second most famous piano-playing woman foreign minister) is not helped by having second on the Kadima list former IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, coming off a stellar turn as Israel's Transportation Minister. During his time in the ministry, he presided over Israel's downgrade by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for its abysmal safety records, putting us in league with third world countries that lack Air Forces or their own beers.
Not to be outdone, the Pensioners Party, most of whose members defied the odds by surviving until this new election cycle, have hit the gefilte fish circuit on their "take me back tour." The party must be banking on the Israeli public being senile enough to forget their incompetence in office, or their one-time flirtation with mini-garch Arcadi Gaydamak's Social Justice Party. Currently on an open-ended vacation in Moscow while the Israeli police prepares its indictment against him, Gaydamak could not be reached for comment.
At the end of the road lies the Likud, the tough guy the whole world wanted you to leave behind, but you couldn't. They've waited in the opposition, stacked their list with big names not currently under police investigation, and are ready to take back the crown, just don't ask Bibi about his time as prime minister, he doesn't like it when you bring up the past. After all, he's grown up too.
Ultimately, Israelis may have to, like Hillary Clinton said after the Gennifer Flowers affair, take the advice of Tammy Wynette and stand by their man (or woman), or just exit the ballroom like a bandit in the night, begging for a D-I-V-O-R-C-E from the whole sad affair.