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Supposedly the atmosphere was tense, but it was all a hoax; everyone knew what the outcome would be, despite the secret ballot. They stood there yesterday and screamed into the microphone like slaughtered chickens, perhaps because they were frightened of the agitated crowd in the hall.

Never has a social democratic party in Israel been more necessary, and never has Labor been so pathetic and superfluous. It is irresponsible to leave a democracy without an opposition, without hope. And it is irresponsible to allow the country to participate in a dirty stream of nationalism and racism.

I had been in that position, and maybe that's the reason I quickly became bored. Supposedly the atmosphere was tense, but it was all a hoax; everyone knew what the outcome would be, despite the secret ballot.

The end had been known for some time. In his story about Mottel, son of Peysi the cantor, Sholem Aleichem writes: "London can only be fixed by fire." And what will fix the Labor Party?

I had not been here for 25 years, and how terrible this place is, where there is no God, only instincts.

Have they reached the bottom of the ladder, whose top once reached the sky? With these people you can never know.

It has been ages since I resigned. Many friends I met with yesterday asked me if I missed it, and did not even think for a moment that the mere question made me shiver.

Those days, back in 1984, were the days of the first Lebanon war, and Labor's chiefs spoke Orwellian, as was their wont. At first Labor opposed the war, then changed its mind and supported it.

And when the war became a quagmire, the party once again was opposed. Indeed, I became tired of its deceit, which has never left me and continues to torment my spirit like a demon that needs to be exorcised. But it doesn't always work.

They stood there yesterday and screamed into the microphone like slaughtered chickens, perhaps because they were frightened of the agitated crowd in the hall, or perhaps to quash the inner voice that rises from them. No party members were really listening, and none of the leaders tried to convince them; they all drowned in the chaos.

Ehud Barak repeated the worn-out expression "We have no spare country, as Yitzhak Rabin used to say," but he sounded less Rabin and more Shimon Peres, who has also shoved himself into every coalition so he wouldn't catch a cold on the outside.

This time, "national responsibility" is repeating itself as a farce, but also a tragedy. Never has a social democratic party in Israel been more necessary, and never has Labor been so pathetic and superfluous.

It is irresponsible to leave a democracy without an opposition, without an alternative, without a social democracy deserving its title, without hope.

And it is irresponsible to allow the country to participate in a dirty stream of nationalism and racism, without even trying to put a finger in the dike.

It was a struggle between the people of the past and those of the future. What does Benjamin Ben-Eliezer or Shalom Simhon care what happens to Labor after the storm?

Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. And what does Isaac Herzog, who was born to be a minister, care?

With these men of yesteryear there will be no Labor tomorrow; and if it is resurrected, it will not be the same party. It will be a new party.