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Inside Israel

A great article on business as usual inside the Knesset:

Can Two Walk Together?
Knesset Conundrums
by URI AVNERY

Tel Aviv.

“Compared to the Knesset it could have been, this is a very good Knesset!”

I heard this, in so many words, from at least ten former Knesset members and others, as we were drinking orange juice in the Knesset foyer. I could have said it myself (and probably did).

It was the opening session of the new Knesset, and former members were invited to a reception with the new ones. Then we were seated in the plenum hall.

I did not attend the last few times, but this time I was curious to see the new members – 49 out [“of”] 120, an unprecedented number – some of whom I had never even heard of before.

It was really a good sight. Some of the new people were leaders of the social protest movement of summer 2011, some investigative reporters from the media, some social workers. Some fascists remained, but the worst were gone.

The change was not large enough to make me jump into the air from sheer joy, but enough to be glad. Beggars cannot be choosers.

* * *

It was a ceremonious occasion, with trumpets and all. Up to a point.

Unlike the British, Jews have no talent for pomp and circumstance. Real Jewish synagogues – not the Western European copies of Catholic churches – are quite chaotic.

In my ten years in the Knesset, I took part in many “festive” sessions, in honor of this or that historic event or personality, and not one of them was really uplifting. We just haven’t got it.

This one was no exception. The President of the State, Shimon Peres, who enjoys much respect abroad but very little in Israel, arrived with an escort of motorcyclists and horse riders, trumpets sounded. He entered the building, made a dull speech full of platitudes. So did the oldest Knesset member (a youngster of a mere 77 years, 12 years younger than I.)

Many members were dressed casually, in shirt sleeves or sweaters. Few wore ties. Very Israeli. During the speeches, members wandered in and out. All the Arab members left immediately after being sworn in, with Hanin Zuabi in the lead, before Hatikvah, the national anthem, was intoned.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/08/knesset-conundrums/

I read a lot of posts about Israel, mostly negative, some quite sweeping indictments, but almost no one discusses Israeli politics. I hope this may interest some people.

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Monday evening

BUMP!