Sunday, February 22, 2015

A 19 Year Old's Vote

For the first time, David will vote in national elections. Our home is a political one (shocker there, right?) and we often discuss politics. We are, relative to most Israelis, on the political right. It isn't that we are against compromise; it isn't that we are intransigent or love war.

I have three more reasons, five, and six and seven or eight, actually, to be more anti-war than most of the world. My sons' lives have been and, God watch over them and protect them please, likely could or will be on the front line in the future. But we have never understood the idiotic concept of compromising alone, of giving when no one else does, of acting unilaterally when we well know that our action will be misinterpreted.

All the stupid things our governments have given up with no results, no peace partner, nothing. My city suffers, not from Palestinian actions but from our own government - we don't have enough housing for our young; what there is, is priced very high - it's a seller's market here with houses and apartments sold very quickly - other than the few that are priced out of greed, waiting for someone stupid enough to meet the exorbitant prices being asked.

All this and more, David has heard growing up. In his 19 years here in this country and in this world, he's learned the horror of terrorism, of war. Even before his bar mitzvah, that moment in Jewish tradition when a boy crosses the threshold to have the responsibilities of a man, he was worrying and praying for a brother in the midst of battle.

And now, less than a year before he is drafted into the army of Israel, he will step forward to vote. As much as all citizens feel the results of their government's actions, a young man in the army or going into the army knows that it is his life and those of his friends that is on the line. When the politicians say we must defend ourselves, that we have the right to protect our people - it is the soldier that steps forward.

Davidi is listening to the news, thinking about who he will vote for. He hasn't asked and I haven't said - he knows already what I am thinking. We have to ensure the Benjamin Netanyahu is the next prime minister because the option of Herzog and Livni is the surest recipe for disaster.

There is talk that Meretz might disappear after this election - one can only hope.

Yair Lapid is about to get a well-deserved slap in the face; a clear message that his talk was only talk, his message a farce. He failed and though he will likely get in, half those that came along with him most likely won't. Step one to showing him that politics is a hard and serious business that does not support fools easily.

Bayit HaYehudi with Bennett as a leader is a promise of freshness and strength and it's easy to see how he may well be tomorrow's prime minister, but we all know it won't be in this election.

"They all attack each other," says David. "Only Bayit HaYehudi and Alei Yarok [the green party pushing for the legalization of marijuana] says what THEY will do." Welcome to politics, my son.

He doesn't yet know completely who he will vote for - it's a safe guess that like me, his choices are between Bennett and Bibi. I have little faith in Likud but I understand that Bibi needs enough votes to get a sure ticket to hold his seat, not enough to think he can abandon the right and play as he did in the last elections.

It is interesting to see this election through his eyes, as he debates who to support. But more, I wish I could speak to the politicians, just once, to tell them that as has happened to me two times before, this election is critical because my son's future rides on the decisions they make.

I look back at the "predictions" I made two years ago and find them sadly accurate. I predicted that Netanyahu had formed a coalition that could not be sustained, that we were likely to end up in another war. Here we are, just two years and one war later, going for elections again.

I'm almost afraid to predict and yet I believe with certainty that if the Herzog/Livni team is given power, they will broadcast a message of weakness that will quickly encourage the Arabs to attack. I don't know what coalition Netanyahu would go for and yet he is, at this moment, the only viable option we have.

The message that Bayit HaYehudi offers is one of strength and yet this was not the message they gave throughout the last two years of the coalition. They joined with Lapid, and I find that hard to forgive. Time is running down on this election - only weeks to go.

I've voted enough to know that even after you give a party your vote, there is no guarantee they will honor the platform and the message they proclaim proudly before the elections. Time and time again, the Likud has shown there is no honor, no guarantee. Then again, Livni easily outshines Netanyahu when it comes to lies and a lack of honor and, if possible, Herzog even beats her.

Davidi has not yet experienced the terrible betrayal of knowing that with the vote you give a politician, they can turn and do the opposite. The one great truth in politics is that what they say now to get our vote means little even the day after the election. It is a depressing fact that Davidi and his older siblings have learned or will learn in the years to come.

For me, at this moment, I feel more concern than at most times. Elie and Shmulik have finished the army, are older and wiser and mostly safe. They may do reserve duty that will again take them into danger, but I have grown to trust their maturity and honor the men they have become in so many ways. They have wives to live for, children here or yet to come, God willing.

For now, I fear for David in ways that bring my heart to panic. We've begun to talk of units - the idea of ground forces terrifies me; I don't want him in tanks...I will argue each unit away because unlike what our enemies would portray about us, the real truth is that if I could lock him in a room and not send him to the army at all, I might do that.

This election is just another step he takes...away from the little boy who sat on the ground and picked blueberries just yesterday. It was yesterday, wasn't it?


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