Putting Our Faith in Magic Slogans

And other methods Israelis use to avoid peace.

Suppose your Uncle Yehezkel suffered for some years from tightness in his chest, shortness of breath, stiffness in his fingers and was unable to walk more than 20 meters. So he went to the doctor, who told your uncle his arteries were clogged and he would need urgent bypass surgery or he’s a goner.

“Nonsense,” said Uncle Yehezkel to his family. “These doctors don’t know anything. They’re all leftists. But there is someone in Moshav Hamor near Ashkelon, who gives you rosewater to open your veins, and then it all passes, my friend.” So the uncle went to Hamor (“donkey” in Hebrew), smeared rosewater on his testicles but not only did things not improve, his condition got worse.

“That guy really was an ass,” agreed Uncle Yehezkel. “But there’s someone else, in the Galilee, who makes humus from carob and pine cones, and you eat it for a week and you’ll be healthier than two horses.” So Uncle Yehezkel ate that gunk for two days and after that he couldn’t even take two steps. But the uncle recovered his wits and informed his family, “Now I’m going to pray at the grave of a righteous man in Samaria, and from there I will walk to the Western Wall and then I’ll register for next year’s marathon.” So he did that, and he’s been in a wheelchair ever since.

And the moral of the story is….?

For many years now the State of Israel has been suffering from blocked lifelines to the Arab world in which we live, and it is clear to everyone but Uncle Yehezkel that if we don’t open these blocked arteries and make peace with the Palestinians and live in peace with the Arab world around us, then we are doomed, sooner or later, to destruction.

So what are we doing about it?

Well, so far we’ve been sprinkling rosewater on our balls, smearing carob paste on graves and praying to corrupt righteous men. And when all that nonsense fails, we don’t miss a beat; we sprinkle rosewater on the graves of carobs and pray on pine cone spread (organic this time).

In other words, at least since 1977, in every election we’ve been voting for a new mirage party, headed by some savior – Yigael or Mordechai or Yosef or Ariel or Ehud or Yair or whoever – who offers us some chewed-over magic slogan whose implementation will bring the redemption; something like “changing the method,” or “equalizing the burden,” or “reducing the swelling.” And this party enters the government and helps the right clog the arteries to peace even more. So then we get disappointed with the pine-cone party and throw it in the trash, and instead choose the carob party that promises us rosewater but instead sprinkles us with sewage, and so on. There is nothing new under the sun and it’s all crap.

But why? Why, despite all our experience, information, and insight, do we continue to vote again and again for illusions that repeatedly prove themselves to be illusions? This only seems to increase our determination to once again elect illusions, apparently until the end of time.

The answer is simple – because these false charmers prevent us from recognizing the problem we have and solving it. And when you have a serious problem that you do not want or are unable to solve, then all that’s left is to seek apparitions that will create the illusion that you’re dealing with the problem. But actually, you aren’t; that’s why illusions were invented.

Uncle Yehezkel died, by the way. On the other hand, who doesn’t?