Something the Rats Should Know

Loyalty to a sinking home is greater than the loyalty to a sinking ship, and this is something that the mice should also know.

The hunting season is underway and the streets are plastered with signs and posters, which should be dissected the way a frog is dissected. It is better to dissect them than to swallow them because in the upcoming croaking season, they are offering us quite a few frogs to swallow.

The main theme - one with several variations - is "the home": The Likud is collapsing, but loyalty to a sinking home is greater than the loyalty to a sinking ship, and this is something that the rats should also know. The motif of the home is returning errant sons to their borders and it will certainly continue to lead the Likud until the day of the general elections. It is hard to believe that in its current condition the Likud will succeed in finding a more mobilizing slogan than this.

The advertisements in the street, like the internal information sheets, are reminiscent of the commercials for soup, the memory of the scent and savor of which bring youngsters back from India to mom's kitchen. Ah, ah, ah - that beautiful soup that only mother knows how to prepare correctly from the salty yellowish powder. The good smell reaches as far as away as Pune and Phuket, and tears flow from homesick eyes.

"There's no place like home" - declared one poster; "One doesn't leave a home" - exhorted another; "The Likud - We have no other home" - cried a stone from the wall. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom went so far as to state in one of his interviews, "I am at home," as though he were a tortoise who carries his home on his back. And Education Minister Limor Livnat writes in her fancy glossy brochure: "Likud is the home, Limor is the heart," and then she favors the whole happy family with "the musical works of Um Kulthum, Farid al-Atrash, and also Joe Amar and Aris San, and this after many years in which the musical establishment has discriminated against them."

In the list of "Limor's" achievements in advance of her reelection there is no trace of the Dovrat Commission's educational reform. The reform, whose charms drove the country crazy for four years, has of all things been banished from home by her at the last minute. Livnat and Sharon, like their colleagues, know that the reality at home is not always idyllic. There are also broken homes and destroyed families. It happens that children run away from home, that parents divorce, that wives are battered; home is sometimes hell. When family quarrels erupt they are liable to be particularly ugly and cruel in an unparalleled way. Psychologists, social workers and all kinds of advisers recommend separation in certain cases - leaving home - because there is no longer any hope for the family unit. It is quite possible that this is the situation now in the Likud: Many of its loyalists are sick of it and its central committee rabble, and they seek freedom.

Alongside "The Likud is home," another frog slogan has appeared: "The Likud is in the heart." Why in the heart? Why not in the head? After all, support for a political party is a matter of considered judgment, and the head is the workshop where things are considered and weighed, where as the heart belongs to daddy - and mommy.

I am already acquainted with this fraudulent use of the heart: Before the last Knesset elections, many Likud people came to me, most of them heads of local authorities, with an apology: True, they said. You, in your positions in the government, were best for our children but, to our regret, we will not be able to vote for you because, "We are Likud in the blood." I was quite perplexed, not to mention disappointed. I didn't exactly understand what "Likud in the blood" means. Are they born Likudnik? Is this malignant Likudnikness in the genes? I replied to them, the apologists, that although as a patient I do have certain expertise in medicine - mainly in the head and heart departments - at the moment I have no expertise in the hematology department - that is, in disorders of the blood. From this personal anecdote, a general conclusion may be drawn: Livnat, Shalom and MK Benjamin Netanyahu know the soul of their beast, for the blood is the soul.

The motif of the home has caught on not only on the right, but also on the left. The left will envy, no doubt, mother's hot soup and father's warm home, and it is lighting its own tribal campfire: "Meretz - the home of the left." The tom-toms are reverberating in the jungle, on either side, and every tribe is gathering around the campfire and whooping its war cries on the eve of the big battle.

Once, when I was serving as head of a movement, a member came to me and complained to me bitterly: I no longer feel at home here. And I replied to him: Friend, a party is not a home. A party is a framework, where people organize on the basis of a common political and social worldview. Here you have neither a father nor a mother: Be happy - you are an orphan. And if you really want to feel at home - then go home. And he went.

People run away from destroyed homes and also leave good ones. Sooner or later people reach maturity and, in the way of all flesh, as adult individuals, they set out on their own. So grow up already, friends.