An Almost Choice

The Election Conundrum

In Israel, elections can be held so frequently, they can make your head spin. In fact, we have elections coming up March 17, to be exact. Now, I do not enjoy politics and make a concerted effort to choose a candidate who for me, is the least problematic and whose platform mostly suits my values.

Israel US flagsIn spite of its young age, Israel has caught up with the US in one respect; it has managed to eradicate all true, visionary leaders and raise a crop of opportunist, shallow, empty, “petty politicians,” to quote the late Harry Rosen of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The one for whom I voted in the last elections is no exception and he is again running in the upcoming ones.

I “liked” his Facebook page and thought that his relatively younger age would give him a fresher approach. I was very wrong. After he wrote outright that people should register for his party, I sent him a direct message. Here is an exchange I had with “him” via his public Facebook page:

Conversation started December 22

12/22, 2:06am

Orit Dagan

Hi, I voted for you in the last elections and now you want people to join the party.

Practically speaking, I need a job and have a truckload of skills and abilities, so do you have a job for me?

After some time with no answer I wrote:

You can choose to ignore me and I can, in turn do the same to you, can’t I?

Chag Urim Sameach [Happy Festival of Lights, a Hanukkah greeting].

12/22, 10:38pm

George Berns (not his real name)

Hello Orit. Jerry (not his real name) here. I respond to many of George’s messages because he gets 100s daily. Thanks for reaching out. It would be nice if you joined the party and influenced the next list but you don’t have to if you are not interested. We do not have any job openings at the campaign if that is what you are asking (pay isn’t anything to write home about). Perhaps you are referring to the government employment office? -Jerry

12/22, 11:30pm

Orit Dagan

Hi Jerry,

Yes, I can ignore George’s campaign and not join his party. I can also change the settings to not see what he wants to tell the public. For some reason, I doubt that this is what he really wants.

12/22, 11:37pm

Orit Dagan

As for a job, I’m not clear to which government job, etc., you refer. I’ve been in Jerusalem for over 23 years and learned the hard way, that connections here have more weight than anything else. You mean to tell me that George Berns can’t help me from his position as Cabinet Minister? I do not buy that and I don’t mean at his campaign office.

I did vote for him in the last elections, or rather, his party. If that means nothing to him, I’ll live with that.

Wednesday

12/24, 2:57pm

George Berns

Orit, it sounds like you are pretty frustrated. Many Israelis are. I know because I respond to thousands of these types of messages every week. There is a law that prevents government ministers from officially getting involved at the level you are suggesting. These are issues that are supposed to be dealt with by ministry officials (clerks) and not political appointments. I believe today in the news we are all reading about a particular party that did not follow those rules. I think you made the right decision to vote for us last time, I hope you do again. I understand your frustration and feel that the person that cares the most about helping you within the legal framework is the guy who hired someone to respond to your messages. Wishing you a happy last day of Hanukkah. -Jerry

Monday

12/29, 1:01pm

Orit Dagan

Aha. Well, does it occur to the ministers that if there won’t be jobs, Jews won’t live here? Do you know that my son never lived here for fear that he might not find a suitable source of income? Maybe George should chew on that one for a while?

For a party that is so nonchalant on whether people join or not, I just got an SMS from George’s campaign headquarters, which I resent, by the way.

Monday

12/29, 8:47pm

George Berns

Unemployment was actually the lowest in the history of the state before Operation Protective Edge so it is possible we happened to be going in the right direction. -Jerry

Summation

I found Jerry very inexperienced, spouting no more than the political rhetoric one can expect from any PR intern. Who writes a potential voter who did elect his candidate in the past “but you don’t have to [join our party] if you are not interested”? This to me would indicate that George is also too inexperienced and even mendacious.

I have sacrificed and invested in this country and, unlike much older and larger societies, here it makes a much bigger difference. If I’m recently unemployed through closing of our offices, is asking about a job a sign of frustration or optimism and perseverance? I think dear, young Jerry needs a reading comprehension course.

This politician’s platform uses the Jewish home as its trademark. Tell me readers, can any home be run with no income? How do you raise retirement age to 67 and not care whether people have jobs or not past the age of 40? Please, enlighten me.

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  • Gillian

    Bibi HAS to go home, no matter what…

    • It wasn’t Bibi. Whenever I’ve written to Bibi or phoned his office, I always got results!