A Bark, a Meow and a Bleat

I'm no fool, and I know there's not much chance you'll write about me and my mates. On the last Friday before the elections, you probably want to write something serious and important. Yesterday I heard you tell your editor that you already have a headline: "The election campaign that wasn't." So why should you change the subject now?

Why am I even trying? Because when you went over the newspapers this morning, Haaretz's opinion page fell off the table. I managed to go over the editorial, headlined "For the dogs and their owners" and suddenly I summoned up the courage. I started barking, and you couldn't understand what got into me and told me to shut up. I don't want to shut up: If such a respectable paper treats us with respect, you too can throw us a bone instead of all your boring commentaries.

I certainly understand your hesitations. They'll say you have too many acute problems and urgent matters and troubles to deal with dog poop. They'll say you love dogs and cats better than people and even children.

But we too deserve rights in this country, and you always had a soft spot for minority rights. We are citizens too and, until now, four days before elections, nobody has demanded our civil rights.

We're not even a minority, on the contrary. Altogether, wild animals and pets' livestock and birds, we are the real silent majority. Granted, we bark and meow and bleat and moo and chirp and coo - but nobody is interested in hearing us. We have no right of expression or right to vote and no politicians to speak for us. So we will always remain the underdog.

Now, lying under your desk as we talk, terrible things are happening outside. In one city they shoot dogs, don't they, in another they chuck us out of high floors, strangle and burn and crush our skulls. Young calves are deprived of water, geese are fattened and sickened, the cows, sheep and poultry are crowded in suffocatingly small cages. Even in your humane army they have been poisoning us wholesale and hunting us down, skinning us and cutting off our tails.

What's more, I haven't seen the officials and police and judges terribly upset by these horrors. They let all the maniacs get away with it. What should I understand from all the ridiculous penalties? And here Haaretz's editorial also protests the brutal dog fights, which nobody does anything about. Must I repeat for the umpteenth time that countries that abandon and abuse their animals are bound to be brutal to their citizens as well?

I would have expected more from my country, because Jews of all people must remember those awful signs - "No admission to Jews and dogs." And what are you people doing with that horrific memory? You have a tendency to forget too soon, and to do unto others what has been done unto you.

Perhaps I shouldn't have expected too much. In your language there isn't a single positive reference to dogs. You say "son of a bitch" and "dog eat dog," "as sick as a dog," "like a dog returning to its vomit," "dead dog," and "a dog's life." Is it any wonder that our life is cheap?

What chutzpah to liken people to dogs! What did dogs do to deserve being compared to people? With all due respect, in my experience dogs have less deplorable qualities than many people I've met. Man bites dog is news. But what, pray, is news about man bites man? You bite each other every day.

In a few days a new Knesset will be elected. I cast an eye over the names and faces that will people the next Knesset. Will they make anything right? I wish I could think so. All we can hope is that the political hounds won't yelp in there for nothing. Or that they might at least bite when they should.