Israeli elections elegy

A “sticker song” which rolls campaign clichés and slogans into a dirge on our political jam. Here is the refrain: How much bile can one swallow? Only Bibi. Anybody but Bibi. I vote, therefore I am. Father, have mercy, Father, have mercy. We all scream for ice cream. Gevalt.

Published in The Jerusalem Post, March 19, 2021.

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Photo: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90, as published in The Jerusalem Post.

Israel is a great country sizzling with creativity, making contributions to the world in arts and science; a nation of believers; an anchor of stability in the chaotic Middle East. Inspired Israeli leadership should be able to harness our energies to tackle outstanding problems without poisoning public discourse or taking voters for fools.

And yet, in the current election campaign, once again our politicians are doing just that: spewing invective, speaking in slogans, nattering in clichés, and taking Israelis for fools.

As a result, most Israelis share an antipathy for this do-over election campaign. It’s boring, ugly, and unlikely to lead to a decisive result. It is hard to look forward to any specific result, other than being done with it all; perhaps (although unlikely) with a stable, coherent government emerging.

Before the first in this country’s series of recent elections, many analysts called it a time of momentous political upheaval. After all, Prime Minister Netanyahu was pegged with three pending criminal indictments and four top generals were neatly lined-up to overthrow him. Yet, each of the recent votes gave Israel more stagnation, not revolution.

Thus, the contest is stuck where it was at its outset three months ago; even two years ago. The polls have not budged much. Netanyahu is in the lead to again be prime minister, or hang on as provisional prime minister, until a next round of elections. Parties of the political left (and those which prefer to call themselves by the amorphous term ‘center’) have been unable to unite against him. Few overarching debates on policy have materialized, and there have been no major surprises along the way.

Which leaves us with nothing more than empty diatribes and simplistic jingles in the current campaign. If Hadag Nahash were to re-record their 2004 “Sticker Song” (a catchy rap poem about Israeli politics using bumper sticker slogans, compiled by David Grossman), and update it for 2021, it might sound something like this:

 

Likud is leading Israel off a cliff.

The Singapore plan is at hand.

The soul of Israel is at stake.

Israel has never been in better shape.

 

Choose your leader: Lapid or Kanievsky.

Don’t abandon Eretz Yisrael.

It’s us or them.

Only Netanyahu will rout Iran.

 

The Netanyahu era is over.

Bibi, King of Israel.

Bibi, just go!

The Arabs are flocking in droves to the polling stations.

 

It’s a banana republic.

I have no other country.

Crime Minister.

Oh Lord, we are zealous for you.

 

[Refrain]

How much bile can one swallow?

Only Bibi. Anybody but Bibi.

I vote, therefore I am.

Father, have mercy, Father, have mercy.

We all scream for ice cream. Gevalt.

 

The courts are the last bastion of democracy.

End the legal dictatorship.

We will not allow fifth, sixth, and seventh rounds of voting.

Netanyahu will reign forever.

 

High voter turnout expected.

Friendly fire within the camp.

Freedom from haredi extortion.

Why should anybody bother to vote?

 

The end of Israel is nigh.

Celebrate the Abraham Accords.

Greatest Israeli political crisis ever.

Mohammed bin Salman is on board.

 

Fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes.

We are the vaccination nation.

Vaccinate the Palestinians!

Shiksa, shiksa!

 

How much bile can one swallow?

Only Bibi. Anybody but Bibi.

I vote, therefore I am.

Father, have mercy, Father, have mercy.

We all scream for ice cream. Gevalt.

 

Legalize marijuana, and gay surrogacy too.

Expect four more Arab peace treaties.

Bennett is a brother.

Lapid is ready to rule.

 

New Hope is lost.

Either Bibi or Tibi.

Black Flags on the bridges.

Forbid fake conversions.

 

Darkness we will banish.

Balfour we shall defend.

Open the schools now.

Close the airport and lockdown again.

 

Palestinian elections are coming.

Time to elect a new Israeli president too.

Stop the incitement and draft the haredim!

Coronavirus will be over soon.

 

How much bile can one swallow?

Only Bibi. Anybody but Bibi.

I vote, therefore I am.

Father, have mercy, Father, have mercy.

We all scream for ice cream. Gevalt.

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David M. Weinberg is a think tank director, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »
A passionate speaker, David M. Weinberg lectures widely in Israel, the U.S. and Canada to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences. He speaks on international politics and Middle East strategic affairs, Israeli diplomacy and defense strategy, intelligence matters and more. Click here to book David Weinberg as a speaker
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