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  Naomi Ragen

Naomi Ragen
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The Ghost of Hannah Mendes Jephte's Daughter Sotah (A Woman Under Suspicion) The Sacrifice of Tamar

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And Now a Word from the "Public…"

Hello? Is there anybody out there? Remember us? The "public"? The ones whose trust you all want, whose support you all crave, whose vote you’re determined to snatch away from the underserving other parties? If you politicians can spare a minute from talking to each other and to Nissim Mishal, Ilana Dayan, Dan Margalit, etc. etc., we’d appreciate a few moments of your time before you empty our pockets in order to hoodwink our votes.

In America, politicians have the curious notion that they actually have to succeed at one job before they go off and ask for a promotion. That is to say, a mayor whose city is drowning in crime and uncollected garbage wouldn’t think of presenting himself as the next presidential candidate.

Curiously, Israeli politicians have no such compunction.

Having failed at one job – whether it be a Chief of Staff who did nothing to improve the country’s defenses, or a former Minister whose ministry was awash in failures, or even a Prime Minister whose term has destroyed the economy and its foreign relations—Hey, that doesn’t mean the "public" won’t give you a bigger job and a fatter salary next time around!! So step right up to the podium, lift your pot-belly, and smile at us. Don’t forget to wave your hands like the image-makers say, and don’t forget the slogans; heavens, they cost enough, didn’t they?

We, the "public", may have given you reason in the past to feel that we are morons. But even morons have some capacity to learn from their mistakes. So,if you can tear yourself away from dividing up the spoils of an election that hasn’t yet taken place, here are a few words from the "public:"

We don’t care who your father was, or how many times you’ve been elected in the past. What have you ever actually done for our benefit?

Those new "centrist" parties you all seem so keen on forming are a great idea. Unfortunately, the people forming them are identified heart and soul with either the failed policy of the right or of the left. Same woman. Different dress. Do you think we’re idiots?

Even though we, the "public," have been taught to behave like in-laws with a new son or daughter-in-law ( ie. keep your mouth shut and your pocketbook open) there is something I must tell you. That half billion dollars you’re planning to spend on getting elected, it’s not your money. There are much more important places to put it, like creating jobs, paying salaries, caring for the disabled, and for the unemployed.

We don’t want to go with you on the five month-long election trip you’re planning. Not when katyushas are falling on apartment buildings, our boys in the army are being shot like sitting ducks, our treasury is being emptied by every tom, dick or harry with a beard or an amuta. In England it takes three weeks to have an election. That’s about right. I know it will be difficult for you to spend a half billion shekel in only three weeks, but, hey, life is tough.

We are not interested in reshuffling the same old deck of cards, to deal the same losing hand. We would like to see some really new faces. People with a record of success in some field, who don’t need the car, the pelephone, or salary. Who will lean down and lift the country up to where they are, not the opposite.

Dear Mr. Politician, if you want our vote, make this election quick and inexpensive. And don’t treat us like fools.



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Copyright 1999 Naomi Ragen
Last modified: February 04, 1999