The Year That Was / Scandals, Not Festivals

What has this wretched year left us with? Instead of celebrations we got scandals. In this festive year we had a war, we forced a prime minister to resign over suspicions of corruption and we charged a president with sexual offenses.

This jubilee year was born in sin, the sin of musical cabinet ministers and committees. Committee after committee, minister after minister made plans for us to rejoice, but even Ruhama Avraham Balila - the minister who was in charge of planning the celebrations - cannot force us to be happy. A celebration that begins with a committee is destined to fail.

The committee considered a parade, planned an opera, spoke of an exhibition, dreamed of a children's procession. Instead we got high-flying world leaders such as Nambaryn Enkhbayar, president of Mongolia, and Blaise Compaore, Burkina Faso's head of state.

Between its 60th and 61st birthdays Israel went to war. Another war. After all, we've gone to war on nonjubilee years too. Though this war wasn no more festive than its predecessors - it was crueler and more criminal - it will nonetheless be remembered as the crowning glory of our 60th Independence Day festivities.

War is no party - except for the politicians, generals and commentators dancing on spilled blood - but we are left with nothing else of any significance from this miserable year.

Instead, we are stuck with Ruhama's committee, with the satellite launched from Kazakhstan, the air show parachutist seriously injured when he landed on a spectator, with the war and an ousted prime minister.

Let's touch base at the events for Israel's 70th Independence Day. By then perhaps we'll have overcome it all - maybe by then we will know how to celebrate. Maybe then we'll even be worthy of celebrating. And maybe, on second thought, it would be better to wait, just to be sure, for Israel's 100th.