Monday, January 5, 2015

Israeli elections: the Jewish WrestleMania

WrestleMainia is an American entertainment phenomenon. It’s an annual made-for-TV pay-per-view event that bills itself as ‘the most successful and longest-running professional wrestling event in history’ (Wikipedia). To most critics, America’s professional wrestling scene is as real as a wooden nickel.  It’s fake. It doesn’t present athletic competition (ibid). It’s contrived (ibid). It’s about as authentic as a magic show.

Americans love it.

Well, those who follow it love it. They don’t care that it’s faked. They don’t care that competition outcomes are probably predetermined.

They follow these professional wrestlers because they love the drama. They love the sweat. They love the strutting. They love the storyline of Mr good-guy versus Mr bad guy.

They love the tension of, you’ll never beat Mr bad-guy; you’re not good enough to beat Mr bad-guy.

It’s so good, Americans pay to watch it. In 2013, they paid half-a-billion US dollars to watch faked wrestling.

If you live in Israel, you probably think this mania for a fake show is nonsense. You might even conclude that Americans are crazy to pay for something like this. In fact, if you’re an Israeli, you’ll know that Americans are crazy to pay for something so fake—because you do the same thing for free.

You just don’t call it WrestleMania. You call it Israel’s elections.

This is a story you won’t see anywhere else. It’s an exposee. You’ll only read about it here.

You’ll only read about this exposee of Israel’s elections here because this story is exactly like WrestleMania. It’s fake.

There’s been no research. There’ve been no interviews. There’s been no data-mining after dark with people who are afraid to be identified.

Still, like those Americans who love WrestleMania, you’ll love the drama. You’ll love the tension. You’ll love the Mr good guy versus Mr bad guy.

Israel’s elections have it all. They’re as exciting as the best promotions for WrestleMania. Just look at how this latest election cycle has unfolded so far. It looks like a WrestleMania promotion. It feels like a WrestleMania promotion.

By golly: it is a WrestleMania promotion.

Here’s the bad guy: Benjamin Netanyahu.

Here’s the good guy: Isaac Herzog, Tzipi Livni, Naftali Bennet, Avigdor Liberman, Yair Lapid.

It’s a tag-team match: six against one.

That’s where the drama is. Will the tag-team gang up on the bad guy—or will it try to take on the bad guy one-at-a-time?

Can the tag-team win? Or, will the individuals of the tag team accidentally knock out each other instead? Or, will the tag-team forget about the bad guy and turn on each other?

According to one recent poll, no one knows how the voters will vote (“Poll: 61% of Voters Haven't Made Up Their Minds”, Arutz Sheva, December 28, 2014). But according to one spoil-sport, the election’s already over except for the voting part (“Israeli Right to Dominate Election”, frontpage mag, December 30, 2014).

Mr bad guy (you can’t get rid of me) Netanyahu will win.

Shhh, don’t tell the candidates you know this. You’ll ruin the excitement.

It’s already exciting. The tag team has started to practice. It practices by beating on each other (“Likud bigwig Katz disparages Lapid for his height”, Jerusalem Post, December 30, 2014). They practice by beating on Mr bad guy (“Lapid slams Netanyahu's policies after Gaza war, Likud fires back”, Jerusalem Post, December 27, 2014).

They practice by getting their friends to beat on each other (“Yinon Magal: The latest member of Bennett's scary-nice blue-eyed Jewish dream team”, Haaretz, December 30, 2014; “The Lion’s share of corruption [bad news for Liberman], Times of Israel, December 29, 2014; “Tzipi Livni as forest zombie and other scenes from the Israeli right’s 'war on women'”, Haaretz, December 26, 2014).

They practice by getting their friends to beat on Mr bad guy (“Netanyahu foes lose bid to postpone Likud primaries”, Jerusalem Post, December 28, 2014; “Netanyahu using Peres as his scapegoat”, YNET, December 28, 2014).

They even practice by devouring one of their own (“Who 'Assassinated' Feiglin in Likud Primaries?”, Arutz Sheva, January 2, 2015).

Go ahead: accuse me of ruining the election with a fake exposee that’ll probably prove accurate. If you think I’m wrong, think again. Consider how this election got started. Do you remember? Mr bad guy (I’ll walk all over you) Netanyahu set it in motion. Do you really believe that Mr Bad guy (I know more about this stuff than you) Netanyahu collapsed his coalition by firing Livni and Lapid on a whim? He did it because he knows something you don’t; and, because he’s Mr bad guy, he ain’t gonna tell you what he knows.

Be prepared: we could get to see Mr bad guy Netanyahu appear in public wearing the political equivalent of face-paint and a too-tight speedo. We could end up watching him thump his bare chest and grunt.

Remember: this is Israel’s WrestleMania. It’s not pretty. It's for adults only.



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