No man's year
Since our year was stormy but of meager vintage, we shall make do with small incidents - corruption at the top, a government that failed to provide security, a year of "fixers," economic recession, strikes, everyone's worries about the future, a year of refusal to serve in the military, signs of a civil war or civil revolt.
Since Time magazine invented the "Man of the Year" gimmick 83 years ago, there is scarcely a communications medium in the world that doesn't seek out its own man of the year. Since our year was stormy but of meager vintage, we shall make do with small incidents - corruption at the top, a government that failed to provide security, a year of "fixers," economic recession, strikes, everyone's worries about the future, a year of refusal to serve in the military, signs of a civil war or civil revolt. With unsympathetic characteristics that coalesce into at most a dwarfish year, I shall confine myself to a modest report from the journalist's notebook:
The year of language: The departing year was replete with many annoying words and picturesque phrases. There was the outburst by Knesset member Yair Peretz of Shas, suspected of taking bribes and of breach of trust in trying to fraudulently buy a bachelor's degree, who called the attorney general "worse than Eichmann and Hitler and more harmful than a deadly germ."
There was the outburst against journalists by Likud MK Yehiel, who was caught voting twice for the same bill in the Knesset: "You want to fuck me, but you won't get away with it." The Knesset's embarrassing refusal to lift the parliamentarians' immunity caused a pearl to drop from the lips of attorney Yaakov Weinrot - he, Likud MK Michael Gorolovsky, had "a wrinkle of consciousness." In the voting marathon that Knesset members had called a carnival, a bazaar, a madhouse, explained Weinrot, it was necessary to take into account his state of consciousness, which was on the brink of automation, as a one-time slip-up. By this logic, what should a leader who leads the nation astray be called? Would it be said that he had "a wrinkle of trust?" And would a stupid minister enjoy immunity because of "a mind wrinkle?" By the same logic, would a rapist be acquitted because of an "urge wrinkle?"
The year of ignorance: On Friday, Ben Caspit described Knesset members as ignorant, corrupt, uneducated boors. At least one of them can't even spell, he observed, giving examples of some howlers. As an institution where there are the most vacations and the greatest amount of coddling, why not set up a class at the Knesset for completing the basic education of parliamentarians who are orthographically challenged? After all, they have a ready-made teacher - MK Yair Peretz, who has both a mouth like a sewer and a bachelor's degree. So what if he is suspected of being a crook?
The year of scaring: They scared us with the gas masks, with a mega-terror attack, with a nuclear attack from Iran, with the kidnapping and beheading of soldiers. There is no disaster in the world, they say, that won't happen here too. After the earthquake in Iran, the official seismologist declared that an earthquake of Iranian magnitude could be expected in Israel too with 11,000 dead. So what should we do? Sleep under our beds?
The year of weighing: Too many people at the top have been "weighing" things recently. One is weighing filing a suit against someone else. Another is weighing resignation from the government. Yet another is weighing a vote against the budget. But the magic words that follow the threat and carry the real weight are: "We will stay to influence from within." Sharon can weigh sleeping well at night.
The year of the Mazouz: The candidacy of Menny Mazouz, a Netivot native of Tunisian origin, for attorney general is not only a good thing in itself, but is also a lesson to Likud MK David Levy and those like him that a qualified and talented individual can go far without playing the ethnically oppressed.
The year of beastliness: The Amos 2 satellite can see from space what kind of cigar Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is smoking in his bureau. But Israel Defense Forces soldiers can't see from a distance of 50 meters whether it is an Israeli or a Palestinian who is confronting them, and whether or not he is masked. Is this what the chief of staff was talking about when he said the day will come when we won't be able to look in the mirror?
The year of mistakes: Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat never put former prime minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the test of their promises. The unilateral withdrawal that is not given to implementation and will not be implemented. The fence that is hated like the Berlin Wall and will be a challenge to every Palestinian to circumvent it for terror attacks.
The selection of Alan Dershowitz by David Appel. Though he was the brains behind the acquittal of O.J. Simpson, Dershowitz did not exculpate him. In the civil suit Simpson was deemed to be a murderer and had to pay compensation.
Sharon, who has not understood that without the irrelevant Arafat, nothing is going to budge. And above all, his confidence that the public will stick with him through thick and thin and go anywhere with him to the very end.
That was the year that was, a no man's year.