Election Watch / J'lem Scarecrow

After a week of election ads, the picture is already pretty clear: The broadcasts and reality are two parallel lines that will never meet.

Steep-trajectory rockets and mortar shells continue to fall on communities in the south, but the campaign ads never stray from their trajectories. Turkey lashes out at Israel and Israel kicks out at Turkey, but in the world of the election broadcasts, nothing changes. Even when one candidate chops off a rival's head, the chips fly straight into the news broadcasts, skipping the same old, same old party ads.

The parties have a new trick: Launch your ad straight at the Central Elections Committee. But committee chairman Justice Eliezer Rivlin refuses to censor. He, too, understands that censorship makes for great public relations. Smart judge, he.

And so the parties repeat their endless loop nightly, like a dog that returns to its vomit. A stranger who saw this scene would think it is all business as usual, with the exception of Tzipi Livni's emerging femininity and Avigdor Lieberman's growing masculinity. Here the women are being screwed; there, the Arabs.

It seems that even the traditional threats have lost their power. Not so long ago, Likud said that Shimon Peres would divide Jerusalem, and the world was rocked to its foundations. Windows exploded into shards, small children were afraid to go to sleep in the dark. Today, Peres is Benjamin Netanyahu's best friend.

They have made up. Behold, how good and pleasant it is for travelers to dwell together in first class on the way to Davos.

Likud and Shas now raise their voices each night, warning that Livni will divide Jerusalem and that in effect she already has. And amazingly, the world is quiet. No bird has made a single peep, not a cow has bellowed in protest.

It must be that people are like birds: They can recognize a scarecrow.

There are many good reasons to divide Jerusalem into two capitals. The main one, of course, is the slim chance of someday achieving calm. But the campaign ads offer another reason: Finally, the threat of dividing will be lifted, becoming a promise. If only.

Because you cannot threaten to divide a divided city.