Ari Shavit
Haaretz (Opinion)
December 20, 2012 - 1:00am


We've had stupid elections here before. In the summer of 1973, the election campaign on the eve of the Yom Kippur War dealt with Israel's sound security and quiet borders. In the summer of 1981, the election on the eve of the big settlement drive in the West Bank and the first Lebanon war dealt with the ethnic, emotional struggle that spilled into violence more than once. In the summer of 1999, the election campaign on the eve of the Camp David peace summit dealt with "the old lady in the corridor," an allusion to Ehud Barak's promises regarding hospital overcrowding. In the winter of 2006, the election campaign on the eve of the Second Lebanon War dealt with the success of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. But the current election campaign surpasses all its predecessors. It's the most senseless election campaign we have ever had.

The writing on the wall: Iran. Very quietly, beneath the surface, the 2013 election is a referendum on the big attack on Iran. You can be for an attack or against it, but a sovereign society about to elect a national leadership a moment before a possible war should not be ignoring it. And yet, the Israeli politicians are doing just that. So is the Israeli public. The vital, healthy public debate on the Iranian issue disappeared into thin air the moment Israel shifted its attention from centrifuges to polling booths.

But the centrifuges in Natanz and Fordow are still there. So is Benjamin Netanyahu's resolve regarding them. Israelis, unaware of what they are doing, are handing an irrevocable power of attorney to the prime minister, who intends to go to war with Iran next year.

The writing on the wall: A binational state. Very quietly, beneath the surface, the 2013 election is a referendum on the final farewell to the democratic Jewish state. One or two more terms of Netanyahu-Avigdor Lieberman-Zeev Elkin and it's all over. Another 100,000 settlers in the West Bank and we can call it a day. But apart from Tzipi Livni and Zahava Gal-On, nobody talks about it. Apart from Hatnuah and Meretz, nobody cries out. The Israelis, unaware of what they are doing, are making an irrevocable decision to perpetuate the occupation and to end Zionism.

The writing on the wall: Savagery. With a great clamor, above the surface, the 2013 election is a referendum on Israel's identity. A considerable part of the rising political forces are savage ones. They do not respect human rights and do not bow their head to the rule of law. They demonstrate no real loyalty to democracy and some of them even negate progress. They are alien to the new West's values.

In the past year the savages have driven Ze'ev Jabotinsky's students out of the ruling party and have occupied Metzudat Ze'ev. If they are not stopped, they will soon take over the Knesset, government and the Supreme Court.

But there is nobody to come out against the new savages. Nobody to stand at the gate. The Israelis, unaware of what they are doing, are submitting these days to a brutal political process that is turning Israel into an unenlightened state.

Big events will take place here in the coming years. Some of them could be difficult and create irreversible situations. That's why the three referendums concealed in the current election campaign are so important. They ought to occupy us every day, week after week. But exhaustion and despair have numbed our senses, so we are not dealing seriously with any of them. Nor are (most ) of the glorified politicians, who are staging a senseless circus for the public, completely cut off from reality.

It seems the one common factor still uniting everyone is stupidity. To the credit of the Israelis of 1973, 1981, 1999 and 2006, it may be said that they at least didn't know where they were headed. But we do know. In the 2013 elections, we are burying our heads deep in the sand, although we know very well what will happen immediately afterward.


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