Israeli Realities

Reporting (almost) daily from Israel.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Disengagement show

I reconnected my cable services after 5 years of being blissfully "disengaged", recently my only source of news is the internet. But there came the disengagement and I just had to watch it, just had to, and now the show is on, but my TV is off...Two days were enough for me.

People in Israel are aware of the dramatic flair added to this truly important event. We have to show the world that pulling out is painful, bloody and complex, otherwise the assessors from the White House will not give us all the money they promised. Some of us (I am among them) thought the "lynch" in Shafaram was orchestrated by the secret services, as were other provocative acts. The wisest advice I could think of therefore, was to ignore the show and go on with life's routine.

However, having said that, the disengagement DID open up certain Pandora boxes of feelings, mainly hatereds among the religious right and the secular left. Some of the less refined and not very sophisticated commentators couldn't hold back their joy. The joy of witnessing the collapse of the settlers and their holy occupation. Others, restrained and noble, forced out empathy and support, if only as lip service for public peace.

The main battles, surely, are happening elsewhere, in the USA, among the ministers in the cabinet and in the kitchens of mighty bureaucrats and millionaires . There is no media there...And whatever reaches the media here in Israel, is usually so "spun" you really have to apply Talmudic exegesis and kabbalistic interpretation rules to make up the grain of truth under the propaganda. I gave up on this guessing game long ago.

My initial position was to keep my distance and ignore this fiasco. However, one cannot remain totally insulated, and so I recorded my changing sympathies as events unfolded. Apparently, most of the Israelis had to contain changes and contradictions to the point of explosion OR of blessed enlightenment as the Buddha espoused (transcending oppositions).

In the second day, while still watching the very boring TV coverage, I had one moment of joy, seeing settlers throw eggs on Matan Vilnai's (Labor) shining bold head. Vilnai was going to capitalized on the events, by playing the noble opponent who goes down to the trenches, where even angels fear to tread. While receiving very positive comments from reporters and politicians, suddenly the camera moved closer to his envoy, the reporter's voice turned hysterical "Matan Vilnai is injured, he was attacked"...We all saw him covered by bodyguards and pushed fast into his car.

Later, it turned out it was just a rotten egg, on his shining bold scalp...Exposing the idiocy of the guards (it could have been a rock...) with their pompous postures and suits, and exposing Vilnai as well. Even to people like me, who support the end of all occupation, this was a moment of joy.
Those brazen brats, usually barely teenagers, made a fool of the ruling Junta, and acted on the secret wishes of many (to throw at least eggs on those pompous and self righteous generals regardless of their partisan affiliation).

For me, this was the highlight of the show, and as far as I was concerned, my cable services can be disconnected again for the next five years. I think I was lucky to catch the only spontaneous moment in this disengagement show, live in broadcast.

This moment captured the essence of this fiasco and the entire political scene in our "only democracy in the Middle East".


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