From the diary of Natan E. Not to be confused with Nathan the Wise.
Early-morning call from the Boss: “Remind me what Kahlon’s first name is. I want to mention it tomorrow, at the convention. Fondly.”
Me: “His name is Moshe.”
He: “Just Moshe? No nickname ? ‘Moishe,’ maybe? Check it out. Find out what his mother calls him. Maybe Moiz. That’ll go well with a hug. They just adore that.”
Me: “I’ll find out and get back to you.”
He (in English): “And make it snappy.”
Me: “I understand, but just to be sure I opened the English-Hebrew dictionary, which is already falling apart from overuse.”
The Kahlon thing went down well ? at least for an hour or two. What a pleasure it was to see the Boss hug him and say, “Moishe! Moishe! You always were and always will be an inseparable part of Likud!” I saw how thrilled he was by this gesture. And Kahlon was moved, too.
But maybe it went down too well. The polls and the praise have gone to Kahlon’s head. Could it be that the intelligence I gleaned tripped up the Boss? Maybe Kahlon’s nickname isn’t actually “Moishe”?
I don’t know whether I was affronted or dizzied by success, but in any event I was dispatched again to negotiate. It took me hours, absolutely hours, to explain to this Moishe Groiss how great he is, how talented, nice and vital to Likud he is, and to convince him that he’ll get whatever portfolio he wants. And it took me even more hours to explain to him what a nothing he is, intoxicated with himself, stealing votes from Likud. And to persuade him that he doesn’t have a chance of being even a deputy minister.
He asked for time to think and to reflect on whether to leave politics, enroll in philosophy studies, establish a ruling party, go into business, write “A Tale of Love and Darkness” or be appointed the finance minister of the European Union.
I threatened him that if he were to form a party, someone, from some sort of national-religious faction, would probably make a phone call and will leak what he will leak to the Kuwaiti newspaper.
As usual, the words “Kuwaiti newspaper” did the trick: I called the Boss and updated him in four words: “The eagle has landed.”
He: “Hello? Who is this? Who’s on the line?”
I’m continuing to deal with the “give and take” on the Lieberman thing: I give mostly flattery and take mostly curses. It turns out Yvet is seething about the leak on the rotation issue, and the Boss suspects that the leak came from Yvet. Or from Finkelstein himself. But it’s possible that the Boss’ suspicions and Yvet’s raging, and the leak by Finkelstein, are actually themselves an idea of Finkelstein’s. When the latter comes out of his cave, all bets are off. Even a sneeze from him feels like spin.
Be that as it may, I issued a denial and brought a few latkes. Food for the road. We left on a worldwide mission ? here and in America ? to restore the glory of old, to strengthen governance on both sides of the ocean during a critical week: for the Republicans and the settlers alike. Beware, Europe; start quaking in your boots, media.
Evening: a phone call from the defense minister. His name is Barak and he wants a few coalition promises related to the continuing battle against the Iranian nuclear project. He expects the next seven months ? “especially from January 22 and afterward” ? to be “months of decision.”
Me: “Hello? Who is this? Who’s on the line?”
The euphoria of the union with Yvet and his party gave way today, as expected, to fears and gloominess, especially because it is already no longer possible to reach him by phone. His secretary asks if it’s all right with us to have the call rerouted to Stas Misezhnikov. The Boss is also concerned at the rumor that in Yisrael Beiteinu he is already being dubbed “Medvedev.”
The rest of the day passed in apprehension, as usual: apprehension at upcoming moves by Olmert, at the anticipated victory of the black guy, at the high-riding Kahlon, at Deri’s conspiracies, at Tzipi’s hesitations and at the strange look in Barak’s eyes.
We watched Fox News all day, occasionally glancing at Israel Hayom to diversify our sources of information.
Amidror played the part of Shadelson in a brainstorming session that we organized. We calculated and recalculated who is for us and who’s agin’ us in the upcoming elections. Yisrael Beiteinu is in doubt ? depending on the caprices of the guy we call “Putin”; Shelly and Labor are in our pocket, mostly because of the issue of the territories; and Lapid is with us, especially if he gets bodyguards and a security shack at his house.
All that remains is to persuade Mofaz to split and defect from himself, and it’s game, set and match.
Thursday is now our favorite day, ever since we found out that you can play every trick and pull out every shtick and surprise ? and bypass the commentators and columnists in the weekend papers. While they analyze the stability of the coalition, we come out with an announcement of a new election; while they lambaste the whole election idea, we co-opt Mofaz; and as they comment on that brilliant ploy, we dump Mofaz and merge with Lieberman. And all on Good Thursday, at 8 P.M., when the inside sections of the papers (or what’s left of them) have gone to print and the media are lying back (pun intended) complacently, not knowing that another debacle awaits them.
So I rubbed my hands in glee and asked, “What is it this time? What have you cooked up for them for 8 P.M. tonight? A merger with Stanley Fischer and Shlomo Maoz as a substitute for Steinitz and Kahlon? An effort to prime Tzachi Hanegbi for attack, bypassing the defense minister and the chief of staff? Securing Dalia Itzik’s emergency appointment as governor of New Jersey?”
It was only afterward that I noticed the Boss’ glum face. It turns out that the Thursday 8 P.M. euphoria is a two-edged sword that can prick us, too. In fact, on that day and at that time a catastrophic natural disaster occurred: Abu Mazen, in an interview to Channel 2, said he’s “ready” for “talks” and “peace” and “recognizes” the “1967 borders.”
The mourning that befell the Bureau was as palpable as the tearing of shirts at a funeral. But we leaped into action. Even as the enemy was speaking, we issued a statement that he had retracted “his words.” When he stuck by his guns we announced that his words had been taken out of their context, that there was nothing new in them and that, moreover, they constitute a declaration of war. And besides, he will be tested by his deeds, not his words.
Yvet had already started to deploy divisions, but in the end, as usual, our brothers on the path ? Hamas ? came to our rescue: The “de-partnerization” that they inflict on Abu Mazen easily outdoes Danny Ayalon, Uzi Landau and all of us.
Saturday eve, after Shabbat
After havdalah, we recited chapters from Psalms. Anxious and fearful of surprises at home and overseas, from the Democrats and from the Kahlons alike, we prayed for the failure of the black guy. And also wished, of course, for Obama’s downfall.
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