Thursday, January 3, 2013

No one wants used up peace fantasies

No one wants used up peace fantasies

Dr. Haim Shine

This election has sparked feelings of deep, ongoing frustration among the Left. They were hoping that the election would revolve around social and economic issues. Strategic advisers, both local and imported, believed that they would be able to leverage the public's outrage over the cost of cottage cheese (as a symbol for the rising cost of living) and the protest movement over housing prices (which started, ironically, on Rothschild Boulevard, named after the famous philanthropist). It hasn't helped that the leaders of that protest movement have now officially entered the political arena. The media, which fanned the flames of the protest movement at the time, has now abandoned them. The slogan "Bibi is good for the rich" (a reference to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's nickname) hasn't caught on, mainly because most of the rich vote for left-wing parties.

The public understands very well that Israel is not detached from the global economy. Despite objective hurdles, Israel currently represents an island of stability in a turbulent sea of economic uncertainty. Since many of Israel's citizens were once subjected to the suffering inflicted by social and economic Bolshevism, there is no chance that Israelis will support such an approach. The idea of taking from the rich and distributing among the poor works only in fairy tales, not in a modern economy. The big, strong United States has become a lame duck within a matter of years, now that President Barack Obama turned it into a welfare nation where laziness is rampant at the expense of entrepreneurialism and hard work. Israel needs to encourage creativity and initiative and bring more and more people into the workforce. There cannot be any free lunches.

Despite efforts to sow gloom and desolation, Israel's citizens are naturally optimistic. Without an endless supply of optimism and hope, the Jews would have disappeared a long time ago. True, there are families that are having difficulties, but to say that Israel is an extension of Eastern Europe is a blatant exaggeration. Ultimately, the Left's campaign slogans will end up hurting the middle class, the very group that the Left is ostensibly trying to protect.

At the height of the Left's despair, suddenly a comforting voice emerged in the form of President Shimon Peres, the man who dreamed up the concept of a new Middle East (a concept that got old with record speed). The president saw that his work was going down the drain and that most of Israel's citizens were optimistic, and he decided to pull the old, tattered, scarred rabbit — the peace process — out of his hat. A not-so-innocent effort to jumpstart the Left's unrealistic agenda, which had served him so well over the years. The words "peace" and "peace process" and "victims of peace" have always been a runaway hit — the world's oldest Gangnam Style. The false prophets of Israel never talked about the economy, security or social issues, they always talked about peace that never actually materialized. These false prophets were able to read the public and discern their hearts' desires and they sold the people addictive candy in the form of peace.

Unlike many others, I have no criticism for the president. It is pointless and meaningless. There is only one fringe party that still shares the president's desire to market the peace fantasy. No one is buying this used up, worn out merchandise, for which many in Israel have already paid a very high price. It is true that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is the last of the Palestinian leaders who can speak two languages, Arabic and English, but he tells the truth only in Arabic. In Arabic, there is not much difference between him and Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal, or the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

It is true that Abbas has given up his home in Safed. He knows that the Breslav hassidim there will not welcome him with celebrations; he prefers the presidential mansion that Shimon Peres will build for him near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.