The Israeli general election is underway today. It's actually happening right now, and it features some of the most boring and bizzare political players in modern day Israel: You have the boring insecure Barack representing what's left of labor, The pompous inept Netenyahu trying to make Likus (not sure if this is a typo) big again, The Hillary Clinton of Kadima The only-reason-you-won't-vote-for-me-is-cause-of-my-vagina Tzipi Livni-who, to her credit, is the only half decent politician Kadima has right now, and last, but not least, the boy d'jour, the man of the hour, the Russian on a mission, Lieberman. There is also Hadash, which is cute young leftists jews and arabs hugging each other (which is nice, cause the people in their commercials are hot ) and the Green-leaf-Holocaust survivor party alliance, which is trying to use the Holocaust as justification to legalize weed. And to be honest, ladies and gentlemen, if I could convince my Israeli readers to vote for any party, it would be that one. Cause using the holocaust to justify the legalization of Marijuana is nothing short of awesome in my book. Plus, with those people in power, the peace-process is bound to get really really funny. But don't let such musings distract us from the person who everybody is freaking out about: LIEBERMAN.
There are serious causes for concern when it comes to Lieberman, especially with his new pledge of "no Loyalty, no citizenship", which was aimed at those disloyal pesky israeli arabs who won't serve in the military. And the thought of him being part of any Likud coalition government is actually making voters who hate Kadima vote for Kadima. Here is how neurotic the Lieberman fear has become:
This is where the visions start of Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman banging his shoe a la Krushchev against the podium at
the United Nations, crying out for Israel to bomb the Aswan Dam. Or
there's Lieberman as Education Minister, teaching Israeli High School
Civics classes that loyalty tests as a requirement of citizenship are
essential to any functioning democracy. Sometimes I see Lieberman the
Justice Minister, trying to force through poll taxes and Hebrew- (and
Russian-) only literacy tests for the ballot boxes in future Israeli
elections. Or Housing Minister Lieberman, whose first act is to build a
moat around Umm al-Fahm.
Interestingly though, Lieberman seems to be reveling in such controversy, and is not trying to make any real friends, anywhere. He is actually going for more enemies, so consistently, it's awesome. He started a fight out of nowhere with the ultra orthodox Zionist Shas party, saying that the "no loyalty, no citizenship" thing applies to you too, Hasidic boys (If I thought he cared about it, I would say he was doing it in order to fend off accusations of racism; be all like "see, I am a dick to jews as well"). And suddenly, ladies and gentlemen, you have a situation that's never bound to happen ever again: Shas and the Israeli Arabs, with a common enemy. Awesome. Some ultra Orthodox jews are even capitalizing on that, with the United Torah Judaism party distributing flyers saying "No to racism, Haradim for equality".
Some of the party's flyers label rival party
leader Avigdor Lieberman a racist, and state that "Arabs and haredim
fight racism – vote United Torah Judaism."
United Torah Judaism's elections
headquarters said that "the party is trying to recruit as many votes as
possible. We appeal to the Arab voters who care about matters of
chastity and family honor."
Knesset Member Moshe Gafni added that "we
are against racism and for the Torah, and the Torah clearly says 'Do
not oppress an alien; you yourselves know how it feels to be aliens,
because you were aliens in Egypt,'" (Exodus 23:9)
Yes, calling Israeli arab voters aliens. That's reaching out.
And now, even Shas is fighting back against Lieberman, accusing him of wanting to divide Jerusalem and give the arab neighborhoods to the arabs , open pork stores and allow gay marriage. In Shas' world, Lieberman is Dennis Kucinich. He is both a racist rightwinger and immoral pinko lefty, all at once. No wonder the guy has high appeal this election. But here is the funny idea: what if israeli arabs do meet the challenge of Lieberman, and do agree to join the Israeli military, thus proving their "Loyalty"? You know, cause it kinda happened before, in 1954?
On July 9, 1954 the State of Israel issued
an order for the army enlistment of "minority groups," which applied to
about 4,500 Palestinians. Back then too, there were those who hoped
that imposing an army service duty on the Arabs would prompt them to
Yet then, the most terrible thing happened: About 90% of those
Palestinian youths quickly and joyfully reported to the army's
induction offices. They were willing, and even excited, to serve in the
army. This caused a great scare among top defense establishment
officials. "Oy vey," they said, while staring at each other with a
horrified look, "what shall we do now?" And the enlistment of Arabs,
which barely got underway, was annulled for generations to come.
And if this scenario happens again, down would go his ingenious plan. One wonders if he has a back-up one.
This is gonna be a fun day. I can't wait to see how it ends.