With the mail today came a small postcard bearing no pretty picture on its back side. It is my "elections notification", telling me at which school in the neighborhood the ballot will await me in three weeks. I seldom get mail in my part of Jaffa, where mostly Arabs live. Arabs don't deserve to have their mail delivered regularly. It's a miracle this notification came on time. I wouldn't have been surprised had it arrived following the next elections.
The National elections comittee banned the two Arab parties from participating in these elections, claiming that they "pose a risk to Israel's Jewish nature". Arabs don't deserve to run for office. The supreme court is expected to overturn the decision, but even if it does, a lot of racist harm was done. The comittee used the hateful tide the Israeli public experienced during the war to perform a gravely undemocratic act. Who poses the real risk to this nation?
So far the decision has not been overturned. Should I vote? should one vote in a country that is only semi-democratic or even mock-democratic? Don't we find the Zimbabuans and Belorussians, who's votes can only be counted if the go a certain way, somewhat pitiable for cooperating? The sitiation here is not as dire, but it's quite dire. Dissenters are out, other smaller parties are either un-democratically marginalized (a.k.a. Chadash, which will never be invited to join in a coalition, since it's mixed. Arabs should refrain from joining hand with Jews), or play a non democratic role of expoliting the coalition system for sectorial power (a.k.a. the Ultra Orthodox parties, which will always be invited to join a coalition) or simply oppose democracy openly (a.k.a. Liberman's party, which seeks to deprive Arabs of their voting and civil rights).
Meanwhile the major three juggernauts reflect one another to the point that they could have easily been a single party, "The Party". Livni may be a new face, but her team is pure Likud. Netaniahu may be a death sentence for both the economy and any hopes for peace, but the war record of Barak, who's hardly an economist, is growing darker... funny how one little postcard can carry so much disturbing content. Israel's democracy was blessed with very fine handwriting.
This does not mean that the first day of Obama's reign is spoiled for me, but it does mean that while preparing the morning coffee, rather then whistling along to my usual Brassens, I put on something angrier. Enjoy.