Israel Elections: Tel Aviv's Bubble Bursts

To prophesy 18 Knesset seats for Likud, only for it to receive 30, is not a failure of calculation or minor mistake. It is an unhinged, autistic, almost pathological reading of reality.

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Likud activists celebrate election results, March 17, 2015.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

At the beginning of December, when the election campaign was still in diapers but nonetheless a trickle of voices started being heard saying there would be a change, I wrote a column published here titled “Illusions,” arguing that Israel’s Zionist left is kidding itself – It can’t lead without Arabs. I not only rejected, but even laughed at the possibility that any such revolution would occur in these elections. Among other things, I wrote to the revolutionaries at the time in these words:

“The secular Ashkenazi ‘left-wing bloc’ (Labor, Meretz, Hatnuah and the rest of that ilk) can bring 30 seats at most on its best day. All well and good. But where is it going to get 30 more seats to build a coalition, huh? Especially when the right-wing national-religious bloc (Bibi, Bennett, Lieberman, Kahlon, Lapid and the Haredim) brings in 75 seats on its worst day?”

And now, even to my own amazement, the day after the elections it turned out my gloomy forecast was amazingly realistic – the left received 29 Knesset seats (Zionist Union and Meretz) and the right (which for me also includes Yair Lapid and Moshe Kahlon) received 78 seats.

But I have not come to praise myself, rather to reflect on the fancy of this illusion, which so many – not all of whom are completely stupid – suffered from for such a long time when they had visions that a revolution was about to happen, a prospect that of course never existed, never will and could only exist in their fevered imaginations. To prophesy, the day before the election, that Likud would receive 18 Knesset seats, only for it to receive 30 the next day, is not a statistical failure of calculation and not a minor mistake. It is a biased, unhinged, autistic, almost pathological reading of reality.

So where does it come from, this conception? What causes it? And most important, who does it really serve? What does it give those people, this swimming around and in the end inevitable drowning in the sea of illusions?

Because it is not just that the people have turned their own desires into a separate reality. There is a lot more here than just that, and the true essence of the matter is that this immersion in illusions protects those who are immersed from the need to change.

After all, the end of every illusion, like the end of every balloon, is to pop, to burst into shreds on the hard ground of reality. And so it happened this time too, bigtime. Yet when the big bang comes, the lesson drawn by the deluded is not that they have made a mistake in reading reality, but that reality is mistaken, it has become confused, and does not understand itself – reality, and not them.

So we see now the responses of those same people when they attack reality so aggressively and harshly and blame it for their own mistakes.

This is how, for example, and this is only one example, how author Alona Kimhi (who was No. 89, a symbolic spot, on the Meretz slate in the 2013 election) responded to the election results on her Facebook page: “Drink cyanide, f---ing Neanderthals. You won.”

In other words, it is not that I was the one who made the mistake, God forbid, in my illusions that I would win in the elections with the votes of those who I lord over and despise in racist fashion, even to the point of wishing them dead, but my illusions even prove that I am right and that I lost these elections because these Neanderthals did not listen to my sweet voice and did not give me their f---ing vote.

This endless immersion in illusion allows these people not to change, God forbid. And we must assume, if we take Kimhi and Meretz as examples, that in the next election, as part of their “soul searching,” the party will have already reserved a safe seat on the slate for a Neanderthal.

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