Non-Israeli friends have been asking me what the hell is going on with the 2019 Israeli elections round 2; I decided to write it all up and break it down for ya:
Bibi Netanyahu, our eternal PM, aka The Magician, aka Sabotage Angel, aka Blind Goat, has run out of tricks. Where are the tricks? They were blown up by a new Megazord party of generals called Blue-White (Kachol Lavan). They are really good at bombing things. They bombed Gaza “into the stone age,” says their leader Benny Gantz. He’s tall, blond, and blue-eyed (my mom thinks he’s handsome) and has boasted about murdering thousands of Gazans. He also murdered all the tricks. He’s too good at blowing things to smithereens, his gift and curse. Now there are no tricks left. Gantz doesn’t have enough tricks to become Prime Minister. Stalemate.
Avigdor Lieberman, crypto-fascist and apparently atheist who hates Hasidic Jews as much as he hates Palestinians, was empowered by a loyal base of Russian migrants to be Tiebreaker. However, he’s too racist to form a coalition with either Arabs or Hasidim and will only agree to sit with both Bibi and Gantz in a kind of white secular fascistopia with buses and bacon on shabbes. Totally untenable—because Gantz mobilized on a platform of “anything but Bibi,” and Bibi on a mirroring platform of “anything but the leftist pacifist weakling bleeding-heart generals.”
Meanwhile, the Joint List, a precarious coalition of Palestinian citizens of Israel led by an adorable communist goat-herding magician (see FB page “Ayman Odeh does cute things” (Hebrew)), snatched some tricks. Ethiopian voters abandoned the right, sick of being shot by police. Neo-Nazi Kahanist party Jewish Power (yeah, that’s their actual name) fell to the abyss, because Bibi drank all their mandates, but no worries, as with their predecessors, they will have another chance to storm the Reichstag in the ‘30s. In Israeli elections, the two big parties, Blue-White (Gantz) and Likud (Bibi), engage in a mandate-drinking game, a kind of campaign to steal power from smaller, affiliated parties, but Ayelet Shaked, aka Israeli version of pre-fascist-coup Serena from Handmaid’s Tale, swooped some tricks for herself with her broken three-pronged broomstick during the bar brawl.
It’s democracy, the only democracy, the only game in town (as my mom says), the stupefying pendulum between two shades of apartheid and creeping genocide, the rule of the people for the people by the people against the people. The People of Israel all stand and cheer. The People of Israel have decided. Will there be another round? A third? A fourth? Will Bibi keep running from the other side of freedom? Ask the People of Israel, whoever they are. Ask President Rivlin and his stamp collection. Ask Ehud Barak, lighting candles for Jeffrey Epstein at the JCC of San Francisco. Ask Amir Peretz’s shaved mustache. Ask the Ethnic Demon. Ask Moshe Gafni, the unknown secretly moderate ruler of Hasidic electoralism; actually though, do ask him, because his party Yehadut Hatorah may be the real tie-breaking key to a government with the first-ever representation of non-Zionist Palestinian citizens; problem is—Yair Lapid, the idiot handsome son, Blue-White Number Two, kept losing in chess to the decaying corpse of his father. Otherwise, we’re going to Round Three (which, rumor says, ends with the news junky drowning themself in the mikveh).
Bottom line: this is all a tautological whirlwind, a self-canceling feedback loop, a twisted perverted mad game which Israel plays with itself. Half the population—the great majority of Palestinians—have no vote. And there’s Gaza, too, plus refugees.
Amitai Ben-Abba, writer and producer of the forthcoming film Objector, is an Israeli dissident currently based in the Bay Area.