Unlike America's President Obama, Israel has no great political "hero" type lined up at the ballot box to save us from a nuclear Iran, Hamas terrorists in Gaza, mounting threats from the Syrians, and the Hezbollah in Lebanon. (And a looming financial crisis too). What Prime Minister on Israel's election day, February 12, would want to inherit this mess?
This mess, really, is not that new: the characters may have changed names and faces, but Israelis have seen it all before. Being threatened by hostile Arab states, who hope to drive the "Zionist Axis of Evil" into the sea (and who have tried too), is just part of the "fun" and reality of holding down the democratic fort over here in the Middle East.
(By the way, being able to cast a ballot for Islamic Fundamentalist Group A. or B. in Gaza, looks like, but does not a democracy make.)
As for Israel's election: it seems that most Israelis aren't too optimistic about any of the primary choices, and voter turnout is expected to be low. It's not like the running mates can really make next year's future look a whole lot brighter, like Obama, who has romanced America off its feet.
The complex political and religious realities in Israel have been going on for decades, centuries, and millennia. Jewish people who call Israel home, and whose history stretches back thousands of years on this land (not just since 1948), have been dealing with existential and very real threats to their existence for so long, making a nuclear war with Iran seem like a just another bump in the roadmap to peace.
I know I've been asked to comment about the elections, but with the conflict in Gaza and Sderot, election campaigns and what our candidates stand for, are cloudy at best. I read in some last-minute election coverage filling the newspapers this past weekend that Israeli Prime Minister candidates haven't even had a proper electoral debate since 1995! (I guess there are too many fires to put out.)
So, yes, there's apathy among the Israeli people: Livni, Netanyahu or Barak are the 3 likely candidates to become our next Prime Minister. What does that mean for Israel? Not a whole lot. They are all recycled politicians who haven't given us much faith in what they do, or what they stand for; I miss Ariel Sharon. I think he'd have some good ideas about what to do with Ahmadinejad.
But I'm not that worried about who comes into power: Israel as a nation has survived for thousands of years, and God-willing it will survive thousands of more. Sure, our political leaders play a role in shaping our State's future, but they are just a small part of the story: Israel's existence, if you look back at its history, is a stand-alone sort of miracle. Some people might say its success comes from a force of nature, luck, good defense tactics, its brains, or due to the hand of God. I am choosing all the above.
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