Election Watch / We Certainly Had a Wonderful Country

Even the virtual debate between the candidates for prime minister in the upcoming elections did not put the blush back into the cheeks of the campaign. It remained anemic.

The old rules will remain, the old rulers will remain. Same musical selection for the same game of musical chairs, same nascent coalition, same policy. Questions were admittedly asked., but the answers remained the same, ready-made, reheated TV dinner.

For several days now, I have been wracking my brains to figure out in what way the current campaigns have been different from past ones. Why it is so gloomy. Yesterday I found the answer: We had a wonderful country.

In the past, the cameras of elections videos soared like a bird, and we were able to see the old beautiful Israel from its point of view. We saw tractors and good, well-plowed soil, and the faces of well-meaning farmers, their faces plowed with wrinkles. But their time is up. That's the last thing the parties need, to have some moshav in the Galilee or some kibbutz from the Negev creep into the frame at the expense of the red shingles of a settlement home, sitting on robbed land.

And we used to see factories and the National Conduit and Lake Kinneret from up there, bountiful and spectacular. Now the Kinneret falls below the red and black lines, in need of serious Photoshop touchups to resemble the dawn of Tzipi Livni's prime. Had Benjamin Netanyahu or Ehud Barak taken care of the desalination plants when they were in power, the Kinneret would have been spared. But why would they bring up their own sins?

And we used to see groves of citrus trees and green fields as far as the eye could reach. Now we see only the Greens, who have now turned yellow. Some of them are imposters, doing as Ron Huldai does, seeking to reap the benefits that Al Gore reaps.

Not only the physical landscape has changed. The human one has altered as well. We used to see well-combed children studying and singing. They no longer have the nerve to sing. And we used to see students on the campus lawns. Only then would the camera zoom in on the research labs.

Far be it for the Likud to reveal students and institutions of clipped wings that had fallen from grace under Netanyahu and his education minister, Limor Livnat.

More than ever before, the elections clips are painted red and black, the war colors of an Indian tribe. The flag is still there, in the corner, and the anthem is playing in the background, but only as empty symbols, devoid of the objects they are meant to symbolize.

It is not my nostalgic reverie that I am speaking about. It is what the videos are depicting as they block the wonderful country that used be here. Better to make it go away lest we recall what they have done to it.