Kacha Zeh

No one asked me to be an apologist for Israel.  It evolved naturally in college where, in the uber-liberal environment of 1970s Boston, pro-Palestinian and/or “Zionism=Apartheid” demonstrations were de rigueur.  Feeling defensive, I opted to learn more about the miracle in the desert called Israel.  As I’d already been “outed” by dorm-mates, instructors and anti-Israel protestors as a “New York Jew,” it made sense to acquire a rudimentary grasp of my heritage, which, in turn, resulted in a deeper faith and spirituality.
While it may be true that “the best defense is a good offense,” I’ve never felt sufficiently well-read or otherwise informed about budgets, the military or even the history of the Middle East to voice cogent opnions akin to those of Dershowitz, Pipes or Glick.  My sphere of expertise runs more toward a euphoric feeling, knowing that children in Israel can walk the streets at night without fear, Jewish education and synagogue membership are free and stockings and neckties are not listed in the dress code.  What I can never wrap my head around are data revealing that there are Jews who have never visited the only Jewish country in the world and that Jewish “literacy” is woefully absent except for discussions about where to get the best bagel in New York.
Rarely complaining aloud, I’ve accepted an unofficial role as champion of all things Israeli and have led many flag-waving-let’s-dance-the-Hora-celebrations of my beloved country.
Until today.
We are both healing and/or reeling from recent municipal elections throughout the country.  And I’m angry.  Angry because the country I love, have sent my sons to fight for, pay my taxes to and will continue to praise (lest some Jew in the West thinks for a moment that this isn’t the Emerald City) is rife with political con men, thieves, hookers and bums.  On a good day.  And we old-time, grizzled Anglos and the neophyte Nefesh B’Nefesh idealists, still impassioned Zionists, have been numbed into muttering en masse, Kacha zeh.  (“That’s the way it is.”)
J’accuse.  The fraud perpetuated by elected officials in many Israeli cities was staggering to behold.  Forged voter registration cards and fake IDs were seized hours after polls closed, and several mayors were re-elected while under indictment!!!  And in the same weekend paper that threatened an already hard-to-digest meal from revisiting the dining table, reports of pension gouging and attacks on hospital personnel dwarfed every glorious attribute of my country, leaving me struggling to recall anything and everything I’ve giddily shared with readers over the years.
Shamelessly paraphrasing, I’m mad-as-Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.  Neither, hopefully, are the good people of Beit Shemesh, who were dragged through indescribable political slime only to see their incumbent mayor, at best a thug-protector and, at worst, himself a thug, reelected by 900 votes.  It was reported that at least 20,000 took to the streets in protest, demanding a new election; in addition to the aforementioned fake registration cards and IDs, also discovered were assorted hats, wigs, scarves and other accessories to disguise the fraudsters.  Pinch your nostrils tightly, because, amazingly, the mayor was heralded into office by quite a few votes from dead people.  No joke.  Names of deceased citizens appeared on the rosters, and, they all voted to keep Moshe Abutbol in office.
Some in Beit Shemesh are selling their homes: others talk of secession.  Regardless of how defiance manifests itself, I pray that our nation of kacha zehniks becomes stricken with a condition called New-Think and symptoms of morality and purpose.
Consequently, I’m slipping into a fearsome role of local crazy lady who shouts at people who don’t leash their dogs or pick up their excrement, scold bus-riding children who don’t stand for the elderly and bang on the windshields of drivers who block crosswalks.
I’ve developed a zero-tolerance level for abhorrently behaved service providers, politicians, medical staff and children.  If pierced lips and body-tattoos are accepted fashions in the Jewish state, I’ll try to introduce another red-hot trend: Civility.
Dreams unrealized kill the spirit and my spirited Israel boasts dancing in the street, courtesy and a shared understanding that we’re not “all that.”
My new clubhouse is open, and the door is ajar.  A simple sign bears the name “Civility, Morality, Accountability Now.”  All are invited 24/7.  Coffee and cake are free.

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