An old question in excellent condition: Would you buy a used car from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? It's not reasonable for a thinking person to trust someone who has often deceived him. Although the car is presented as a doctor's car, it is concealing its dubious past and its tendency to lose its brakes when going downhill.
Netanyahu is now revealing to you that "there is no free lunch," although he himself has forgotten when he last paid out of his own pocket. While he is still promising to lower taxes and prices, he will already be slipping his hand into your wallet - taking from a hospital in Ashkelon and giving to a college in Ariel. It's hard to find a single commitment of his that has not been worn down to the nub. By all means, try to remember, give yourselves a test.
But what's the alternative, people ask, who could replace him at the moment? Any decent, reasonable person could do so, anyone. From the moment that someone is elected, he is immediately accepted as a matter of course; how come we didn't think of him earlier as prime minister material?
Have we forgotten Golda Meir and Yitzhak Shamir, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, Ariel Sharon and Netanyahu himself, most of whom were elected under random circumstances, and not necessarily because they were suitable? We got used to all of them easily, as though they were natural candidates for the position. Some of them are remembered as historical accidents, and some are missed.
In France, too, they recently elected a new, "normal" president, one lacking charisma and experience, who is doing well so far; if only we had such nondescript leaders. Although not even three months have passed, who remembers his predecessor? Where are Nicolas and Carla today, and where will Sara be tomorrow? France is not an orphan, and neither is Israel.
But most of the Israeli public behaves irrationally. They reelect someone who has been exposed as a mekah ta'ut, a mistaken transaction, and buy the defective merchandise twice and three times over. The nation demands social justice, the nation demands an equal sharing of the burden, yet the nation prefers, of all people, the one who worsens inequality and betrays those who carry the burden on their backs.
It is being prophesied that even in the coming election, the car in question will be displayed in the junk yard and be grabbed up as a bargain. I have a request of Dan Ariely, an expert on behavioral economics, who is now visiting Israel: Professor, maybe you'll consider changing the name of your book from "The Upside of Irrationality" to "The Downside of Irrationality." Not only are we taking a risk and buying a beat-up policy, we are also buying its manufacturers at the price of a military operation in Iran.
Eureka, I've solved the conundrum: Why is it so hard for new people to enter Israeli politics, which hangs on to what is old and discourages us from trying anything new and promising? The solution is obvious and we didn't see it: In our leadership evolution, there is no need to refresh the system, to remove waste from the body, because the old material is also the new material - the same people in different clothing who manage to convince you that you can't get along without them. A new Netanyahu, a new Barak, a new Aryeh Deri, a new and improved Tzachi Hanegbi; every last one of them is new.
The phenomenon of being "reborn" at an advanced age is not unique to Israel, it's common in evangelist and Mormon America, too. Former President George W. Bush says he was reborn, as was Mitt Romney. The elders of Massachusetts are wondering whether he is the same liberal who governed them in his previous incarnation.
Both their people and ours belong to an international network of dealers in fake national products: Smoking guns that are offered for sale in the first act disappear entirely in the third act. Where is Interpol when you need it to close the opening that calls out to our deceivers?
The rebirth is a breech birth: not head first, but buttocks first, which the whole world and Obama are invited to kiss.
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