Friday, December 27, 2002

Ruminations of a floating vote.
Call me crazy, but I can’t help feeling sorry for Likud members with criminal backgrounds. For many years the party has wooed them. Knesset members and government ministers have dined at their tables. They have found, in the Likud, a warm home and respectability. Everyone knew people with criminal connections, and even some actual criminals and ex-criminals, were among local party activists and even members of the party center. And make no mistake, Labor is just the same in this regard. Being anti-elitism and open to people from all walks of life is very important in gaining the Mizrahi vote. That’s one of the reasons why left-wing Meretz is not perceived as a party that looks out for workers rights and won’t be, in the foreseeable future. Too pompous and intellectual and snobby.

Now, these criminals and ex-criminals, long welcome members of the party, probably even regarded as assets, are, not surprisingly, being dropped like hot potatoes. And they are terribly offended. They obviously can see that the politicians are no better than them. What am I talking about? The politicians are worse.

Last night, a major persona non grata, Shlomi Oz, was interviewed on TV. I usually can’t be bothered with this sort of thing, but for some reason, this guy I wanted to see, maybe to judge if he’s on the level. He has not been connected to the allegations of corruption in the party “primaries”, as far as I can tell, and he claims he hasn’t been involved in criminal activities since he got out of prison, twelve years ago (although his name is currently being connected to a big bank scam, which he denies). But still he has become the main bad guy, since the media cottoned on to his connections with Omri Sharon (son of). Anyway, he didn’t look good on TV. A quiet man, certainly not a thug, he seemed shifty, but maybe that was because he was really nervous. My verdict? I wasn’t really convinced of his innocence or of his being rehabilitated, as he claims, but I mainly felt embarrassed. He seemed too pathetic and defensive to be much of a threat to Israel’s democracy. According to this Haaretz article he is very powerful and charismatic. This didn’t come over on TV at all. In a passage in the Hebrew version of the article (requires registration) that was cut in translation Oz explains that he shies a way from publicity and exposure because his past is always brought up and it ultimately backfires. Therefore he is unaccustomed to it. That could explain his poor TV performance.

Politicians really are the lowest of the low. Now we’re getting a daily opportunity to see just how low they are. This is what we, picturesquely, call in Israel “hamitz shel hazevel” (the juice of the garbage). They (the politicians) don’t know them (the criminals). They’ve never spoken to them. They’re no friends of theirs (insert indignant guffaw). The party is fortunate to be rid of them. And so on and so forth. And these were their best buddies just a fortnight ago. It’s really nauseating.

I think the Likud is reeling from a serious slap in the face, with all this corruption business, and is in shock about the effect the criminals in their midst and mainly the open criminal activities party members have been engaging in should have on the anticipated outcome of the elections. I do believe they are earnest about cleaning the stables (as much as politicians can be earnest about anything). If this is indeed the case, then something good could come out of all this “go’al nefesh” (disgustingness).

I still don’t know if I could vote for them.

Yippee! I’m a floating vote. (I don’t intend floating anywhere near Mitzna, though).

Update: OK, OK, I went a bit far. I accept that, as Alisa says, there are good politicians. They just don't have much chance of being in realistic spots in the Likud list this election, probably for no fault of their own.