Israelis Hibernate While Politicians Squabble

This government has no concrete plan requiring the people's decision, so apathy reigns while confused citizens pack the bars and restaurants.

Yoel Marcus
Yoel Marcus
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Kerry and Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem, January 2, 2014.
Kerry and Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem, January 2, 2014.Credit: Reuters
Yoel Marcus
Yoel Marcus

The more Israel is mentioned in the world news; the more we are threatened with boycotts; the more Mahmoud Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish state (which many see as an idiotic requirement); the closer the United States comes to forcing an agreement on us; the more Benjamin Netanyahu says one thing and then its opposite – that we will not evacuate a single settlement and also that he will be willing to evacuate part of the territories for a set period of time; and the more the government is required to make historic decisions; something strange is happening. A sort of apathy, a feeling of hibernation is affecting the public; half the people are celebrating, as if to say: "We will eat and drink, since tomorrow, we will go to another restaurant."

Except, that is, for a few politicians who are fighting among themselves. Gil Erdan, the deputy defense minister, wants more authority in protecting the home front, as if without a war and without his talents, glass doesn’t break, balconies don’t collapse and children don’t die of asphyxiation from pesticides. The Trajtenberg Committee was the Valium that calmed, but did not solve anything. Netanyahu created a lot of talk about Iran, but didn’t exactly win. Iran was freed from its sanctions, but in practice remains a nuclear power and the mother of all terror organizations, equipped - in their words - with 1,500 rockets aimed at Israel’s rear. Oh yes, the Iranian foreign minister admitted that genocide is not a nice thing.

In the days of Yitzhak Rabin, the main roads were blocked and police attacked demonstrators and settlers without mercy when they interfered with public order. There is little enthusiasm today for using force to confront the settlements. Rabin of the Oslo days would not have dared mention the possibility of a Palestinian state. But isn’t that what Shimon Peres received a Nobel Peace Prize for? Today this issue is not on the agenda. There are no violent demonstrations of the kind we saw when Yamit was evacuated, or during the disengagement from Gaza. Today we only hazily remember how many millions were spent by the state to promote the slogan “The People are with the Golan” and on the removal of the dead cats that were placed at the entrances to ministers’ homes.

Where are the politicians of the balconies who gave speeches against accepting reparations from Germany? Where are the right-wing protesters who carried pictures of the prime minister in an SS uniform? Except for the thugs of "Greater Israel" and the price tag people who operate in the territories, there are no savage protestors. Their leaders appear on television dressed in suits and ties; they are frightened of the government. And this is because a character like Naftali Bennett joined it thanks to his relationship with his buddy Yair Lapid, and in doing so deceived some of his voters. The settler leaders trust Netanyahu more, since he is not going anywhere, and believe Abbas will continue to be a refusenik, because of fear that if he does give in, Hamas will remove his head from his body.

Despite the drought that surprised the weather forecasters, a political winter hibernation is in full force. No one really knows how to deal with the international pressure being marshalled against us. The thanks we owe John Kerry for his efforts have turned into a campaign of despicable attacks. True, we have not sat him down in a low chair, but we hurt him enough to cause the White House to come out against us. We said we didn’t mean it. We didn’t mean it? A senior Foreign Ministry official accuses his own ministry of being unprepared for the fight against the threatened global boycott. And then a well known man of peace, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, declares: “Nonsense. The Foreign Ministry has appropriate plans for fighting the boycott.” Who? What? Where? Now we are busy with the question of who will be the next president of Israel, just so someone like Peres doesn’t come along and stick his nose into the peace process. That is how the candidacy of Benny Begin was taken off the table.

In conclusion, the economic situation is reasonable; the political protest movements are also in hibernation; there are no wars, except for a terror attack here or there; and the settlers are certain Bibi will not dare to go all the way. Since this government has no concrete plan requiring the people's decision, the confused citizens are celebrating nothing. The restaurants, bars and clubs are full night after night, until the sun rises. Until one morning, we will discover that we have really lost it all.

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