Monday, October 08, 2007

Our Twenty Percent (Part I)

An acquaintance of mine, who happens to be a Psychiatrist, once observed that many people suffer from unnecessary stress and anxiety that are brought on by frustration at things over which they have no control (e.g. traffic jams). People, he offered, would be much better off if they concentrated on their twenty percent, the portion of their lives over which they have some degree of control and influence. (Or, if you wish, one should adopt the philosophy advised by the Serenity Prayer.)

When you live in Israel, especially, this is more easily said than done. The culture, garrulous and raucous in character, conditions you to rail for or against things over which you really have very little impact. On the other hand, it is very difficult to know wherein lies one's own twenty percent.

I was thinking about this quandry today, as I watched the introduction leading up to the opening of the winter session of the Knesset. Olmert's government has already as much as announced that it is prepared to: a) Divide Jerusalem and thereby expose the Jewish sections to ongoing terror or worse b) Hand the Temple Mount and other sacred places to the Jordanians (whose record between 1949 and 1967 was horrific) c) Withdraw from over 92% of Judea and Samaria (leaving over175,000 more Jews homeless) and d) Allow for the return of some so-called refugees to Israel. In order to save his 'Diplomatic Initiative,' the government refuses to protect the Jews of the south from daily, incessant missile attack. In addition, the Prime Minister is under criminal investigation on four counts.

Despite all of this, the political commentators are all united in their opinion that the government will not fall and that there will not be elections in the foreseeable future. The reason is simple. Even though every poll shows widespread disgust with Olmert and opposition to his policies, the members of the Knesset, who know that most of them will not be returned to office, are more concerned with their status and perks than with the will of the people. At best, as with Shas and UTJ, they are more interested in their narrow interests than those of the people, at large. So, Olmert can buy them off. The PM himself, incorrigibly corrupt and cynical, is protected by the media as long as advances their Post-Zionist agenda.

So many times I have thought of Oliver Cromwell's words to the Rump Parliament: '
"You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately… Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!" However, whereas Cromwell was a political leader and could act on his words, for the average Israeli, they are just more bluster. Bringing down the government, at present, does not appear to be within anyone's twenty percent (not even that of Bibi Netanyahu).

I fear that we will pay a terrible price for this. It would be healthier for us all, though, if we acknowledge our own impotence and seek out that which we can do.

More on that, later.


heddy said...

The bleakness of the picture leaves me with 2 thoughts: 1)Let's place our faith in Arab rejectionism- even this enormously generous (and self-destructive) offer on our PM's part is not enough to satisfy the hungry tiger on the other side, compromise has never been their strong suit, 2) Let's place our faith in the hands of G-d, who handles the 20% for us all.

Old city resident

zalman said...

Heddy's post highights another danger in our readiness to withdraw unilaterally. Arab rejectionism is irrelevant.

CYH said...

The Serenity Prayer was published recently by Hanan Porat in his M'at min Ha'or quoting from Shuly Natan's sung version.