• Jeffrey Cohen US Director, Zehut International

Battered Citizen Syndrome

I have heard of battered wife syndrome, where a woman, who is abused by her husband, continues to go back to him and even defends his actions and makes excuses for them or even blames herself for the abuse. The same can be said for the relationships of the citizens of many countries and their elected officials. However, Israel is the worst case of battered citizen syndrome I have ever seen.

While I have never heard it formally called "battered citizen syndrome", what else would you call it when people continue to re-elect politicians who have broken every promise they’ve ever made and continue to make the same promises over and over again. Even disgraced former PM Ehud Barak is making a comeback and unless things change drastically, (which they certainly could) it looks like he will make it back into the Knesset. While it appeared that Benjamin Netanyahu was going to continue his reign as prime minister of Israel and the cast of characters in his cabinet, and of the 21st Knesset, were going to be almost the same as the 20th Knesset, a wrench (by the name of Liberman) was thrown into the works and Israel is going to elections again. If the Israeli people weren't feeling battered by their politicians before, they certainly are now.

Unfortunately the battering isn't stopping anytime soon. The question is how the Israeli citizens are going to respond. With a few parties just missing the voting threshold in the April election, will their supporters abandon them or come out with more vigor to get them into the Knesset? If their party makes a deal to run with another party, will that give them more confidence that their party will enter the Knesset or will they disapprove of the merger and find some other party to vote for? Or will the battered Israeli citizen just stay home (I mean go to the beach) on election day this time around?

With only one week to go before the official party lists need to be submitted to the election committee, you can bet that technical block agreements will change many times over the next few days. Only on the first of August will we know what parties are running together and who will face the citizens on their own. However, the Israeli people have one thing going for them in this forthcoming election campaign...most of them will be on vacation during the month of August. It is unlikely that there will be any heavy campaigning in August and with the elections being held on September 17th they will only have to endure about two and a half weeks of crazy campaigning and a new poll every five minutes.

Perhaps after the August siesta the citizens of Israel will see more clearly and run away from the battering of the tired old recycled socialist politicians and embrace the more liberal, small government, free market leaders for the 22nd Knesset...or maybe they'll just go to the beach.


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