The State of the State of Israel, Part II: Are Israelis Actually Emigrating Because of Judicial Reform?*
As do many Israelis, I leave the country in August to escape the oppressive heat and humidity. It is particularly punishing in Tel Aviv, where I reside.
I begin to write this piece in paradise, which for me is a lakeside cottage north of Toronto, my hometown. Everything about this part of Canada at this time of year is perfect. Local fruits and vegetables are in abundance. The lakes are at their warmest, days are not too hot, nights are cool and conducive to outdoor campfires. Black flies are long gone and mosquitoes are almost all dead.
A month ago, for the sacred August long weekend in Ontario, Victoria and David Beckham – aka Posh and Becks – told the world about their sublime visit to these parts at the summer home of close billionaire friends. Vic posted shots of her waterskiing (terrible form – her back must have been aching something fierce the following day) and snuggles on the boat and dock with Becks. If her Insta persona and reveals are to be believed, she had a real lightbulb moment while here, finally stumbling upon what’s important in life. Her thoughts, paraphrased.
Supermodel Cindy Crawford shouted out that she and her husband hosted Shaq and others at their island retreat in the same area, bringing bling and cachet, for some. (And the commenter on Crawford’s post has it wrong. Her island retreat is in the Muskoka area, not eastern Ontario.)
Most of the folks in these parts are just regular, happy Canadians – among them more than a few NHL stars - who know how to enjoy a short summer like champs.
My northern summer getaways are restorative like no other holiday. Freshwater lakes, fresher air, sunshine and outdoor activity do, undoubtedly, have an overall positive effect on the soul and body. As does serenity. The contrast between my lakeside idyll and the overheated environment which I left behind in Israel could not be more stark.
The toll of the last eight months on all Israelis has been immeasurable.
II. November, 2022
I recall very clearly on the evening of November 1, when results began coming in after the polls closed at 10pm, following the fifth election in three years. Turnout had been high and the stakes were enormous. It was no cliffhanger, with the Likud and various right wing and ultra-orthodox extremist parties - which had taken to referring to their group as a “right wing bloc” - posting a clear and early majority.
Negotiating coalition agreements proved to be more challenging than many had anticipated but by the end of December it was official. Agreements had been inked, forming the most extremist government in Israel’s short history. By the end of January the cabinet was appointed.
I refuse to refer to this coalition as “right wing”, which is its preferred branding and nomenclature, because, in fact, there is virtually nothing “right” or conservative about this awkward coalition. It is comprised of extremists; extreme messianists; extreme ultra-orthodox; extreme corruption; and extreme ideologues.
III. Second Passports
From the very first moments, you could smell it in the air. The whiff of panic.