What Is a Farewell?

Well, that's it: I've done a 32-year stint in the Knesset. Yesterday was my last day there. Throughout the history of the State of Israel, maybe only five people have spent as much time as I have in our parliament. We've been through the mill since 1973, I've been through the mill. It's just occurred to me that I've never really been a private person; from now on, I will be. MKs of all factions took the trouble this week to bid me personal farewells, and I thank them. They said very nice things to me that even managed to move me. Just between us, though, I'm sure many of them sighed with relief at my departure. Really, who can stand someone like me, who keeps explaining what is right and not right, proper and improper, who keeps trying to make others open their eyes and distinguish good from evil. Who does he think he is, God? Maybe he's the serpent, who is persuading them to eat the forbidden fruit. Contrary to customary practice, no farewell ceremony was held in my honor. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin urged me to have one, but I refused. How can you say good-bye without saying good-bye, the speaker said, and I said it would be better this way. If after 32 years of rising to speak from the podium, my colleagues didn't really listen to me, why should they listen now, when I am descending from the podium? Besides, eulogies these days are so banal, that all the dead seem horribly alike and I have no interest in being one of them. Therefore I'd rather eulogize myself. What are farewells to me? And who are those I will be leaving behind? I didn't want them to pretend to be sad, while I pretended to be happy. And as for a tear - a final tear is too precious a thing to leave in the Knesset.