A Path to Presidency Littered With Filth

In an election that smacked of dirty politics, the party chiefs were the primary pollutants.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulates President-elect Reuvin Rivlin upon his election victory, June 10, 2014.
Rivlin and Netanyahu. There's s a lot of work to be done to restore people’s faith, now more than ever.Credit: Emil Salman

The end of the contest testified to its beginning and primarily to its course: The results of the first round of voting showed with certainty that dozens of MKs deceived Reuven Rivlin with promises they didn’t keep. They complain about “rot” and “contempt” but add to the ugliness themselves. Too many MKs justified their reputation yesterday.

So although there was a happy ending, all is not well – it’s actually rather bad. Although Rivlin was elected in the end, there’s a lot of work to be done to restore people’s faith, now more than ever.

Fortunately, I was not made an MK forever, and thus I was spared the duty of voting this time. I would not have voted for any of the “insiders,” those who are politicians, either because I know them or their entourages too well, or because I have ideological differences with them that cannot be resolved. It’s not enough to be a “democrat” or a “liberal” in the whole-whole Land of Israel under Orthodox hegemony. And what’s the significance of “statesmanlike,” when the kingdom of Judea and Samaria is one’s chief joy?

I would have almost certainly voted for one of the nonpolitical candidates, thus assuring their failure. Okay, you probably realize that they didn’t need me for that; their failure was assured from the start without me.

Yesterday’s election was exceptional in its secrecy compared to all previous votes. Most of the MKs kept out of the limelight in decidedly uncharacteristic fashion. They stubbornly refused to reveal how they voted, no matter how much reporters pushed them. Were they embarrassed? Did they not want us to question their motives? The divider was not meant for public figures to hide behind, just as the “right to remain silent” wasn’t meant to apply to them.

Thank goodness I’m a pensioner and don’t need to deal with this, because the journey to the President’s Residence this time was branded with the stamp of “new politics” but smacked of the same old intrigues. The journey was so filthy it was as if its route went through the gutter and the party chiefs were the primary pollutants. Once again Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Finance Minister Yair Lapid at his side, led the squad carrying a rag as a flag. If our future depends on those two, it’s no wonder that the past pulls at us, almost against our will. Give us some old-style politics, please!

On second thought – and on third and fourth – what exactly is so loud and disgusting here? This race didn’t create a new reality; all it did was reflect our existing reality. Perhaps the heavy makeup is coming off before our eyes, but the face is the same face. This is what we are, this is how we look – look in the mirror.

Good morning Israel. What did you find out that you didn’t already know? That these are your leaders? Did you find out that they do quite well for themselves between positions, and sometimes even while in them? Did you just discover that they like to hang out with the rich and famous, and to forget from whence they came and before whom they are destined to give an accounting? That’s what you wanted, and that’s what you got; you have no one to complain about but yourselves.

One more thing: Have you realized that what’s kosher can still stink? True, hedonism is not a crime, and you don’t go to jail for extravagance and greed. But a public figure doesn’t have to be convicted of something to be unfit to serve.

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