Floating Voter / I Am Candidate No. 119

Tomorrow and the day after, various parties will be submitting their lists of candidates for the 17th Knesset to the Central Elections Committee.

Two more days of "celebrating democracy," as every party presents the most attractive, most experienced and cleanest list.

If you read in some newspaper the sensational news of my sudden return to politics, remember - I was the first to tell you, and you were the first to know.

Don't go away, as they say in radio and television shows, because the writer of this column brings you the earliest reports, fully disclosed.

Meretz's leaders have approached me over the last few days and urged me to join their list, which is filled with esteemed and honorable has-beens.

At the moment, I cannot say which is my exact slot - they didn't tell me and I didn't ask.

But being familiar with the internal pressures, I think it would probably be the 119th slot.

Political label

When their pleading increased, so did my fluctuations - I hesitated, to be honest. Why should I label myself politically after having been out of party affairs for so long? Why should I put myself on the list now, when I took myself off it while I was active?

On the one had, it was very easy to renounce the honor they wished to bestow on me: One who gives up the first place voluntarily has no difficulty giving up the 119th slot.

Also, Meretz's natural immune system has weakened, and it is now vulnerable to infectious diseases that have attacked other parties. Why should I put myself at risk?

On the other hand, it was hard to reject my friends' request.

I have been identified with this party for 20 years, and it was identified with me to a large extent - it would be unworthy of me to turn my back on it. Even had I not given my consent, nobody would have suspected me of intending to vote for the Likud, Kadima or even Labor, in its present form. Why pretend then? Better to play an open hand, because covering up is even more ludicrous.

White ballot, black mark

At present and despite everything, I have not found anything better than Meretz, that more suits my beliefs and faith, and a white ballot is a black mark, as far as I'm concerned.

If by March 28 I will, however, find to my surprise a worthier party, I will not hesitate to share this experience with this column's readers; in this case too they will be the first to know and marvel. And until the elections, I zealously reserve the right to float.

Over the past few nights, after having consented, I have been waking up in horror at times, covered in a cold sweat.

What if Meretz receives, thanks to my presence on its list, 119 Knesset seats? Would I have to return to the Knesset from which I wished to retire?

I hereby announce, in advance, so that no one is in any doubt: In this case, I would immediately evacuate my place for the 120th slot.