Tuesday, November 29, 2005

my kind of party

I’ve always loved watching how people interconnect with each other. The most obvious example of this is my interest in genealogy. But there are many others. As a kid I always liked the midrashim that explained who the unknown people in Tanach stories are, and how they appear in multiple legends. And l’havdil, when we studied Greek mythology in English class, I was fascinated with who was related to whom. As I mentioned, I had my own version of “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” before that game was invented, and pre-IMDB. In general, I liked studying history when I could see the connection between individuals and generations.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that pre-elections is one of my favorite seasons. I love to watch people joining parties, switching parties, creating parties. In 1996 we were still in the States, but by 1999 I was in a classic position to watch this spectator sport. First of all, I had a job that allowed me to listen to the radio as much as I liked. Yaron Dekel was an excellent political commentator in election time. (He’s good in Washington now, but it would be nice if he’d come back every election.) Also, I got to listen to the show HaMila HaAchrona on Galei Tzahal. Back then it was one of the few opportunities to hear people with different opinions without them shouting at each other Popolitika style. (I haven’t had a job that allows me to listen to them for 5 years - and I still miss the show.) I also read HaAretz daily, and enjoyed the writing of Akiva Eldar and Yossi Verter (even if I didn’t agree with their politics.) I would follow the developments in all the parties, read every name on all the lists, and even organized a debate between Rav Yehuda Gilad (Meimad), Rav Benny Elon (Ichud Leumi), Nachum Langental (Mafdal) and Yechiel Lasri (Merkaz - anyone remember him?).

The 2001 elections were pretty boring since they were only for the Prime Minister. But in 2003 I was good to go again, and this time even better, because I was working in a government ministry, so I could watch developments close up.

And now, with the “Big Bang” of Israeli politics in full swing, I can watch it to my heart’s content. Who will leave Labor, Likud and Shinui to join Sharon? Who will be on the Mafdal-Ichud HaLeumi list? Will Avigdor Lieberman join Likud? I can’t wait.