In the years following the forced removal of Jewish residents of the Gaza Strip I stopped participating in Israel’s elections. Despite the fact that in principle I could have supported the move to disengage from Gaza (this debate is *NOT* the point of this post), the anti-democratic way in which Prime Minsiter Ariel Sharon and the Knesset pursued the Disengagement Plan was a terrible blow to me personally and nationally.
I was even more disgusted by the failure of right-wing elected officials at the time to react in any meaningful way. Rather than resign in the face of such a singular, stinging defeat individuals such as Zevulun Orlev, Tzvi Hendel, Gilad Erdan and others simply moved on to the next item on their daily agendas as if nothing at all had happened.
(It should be noted that Binyamin Netanyahu did resign his position as Finance Minister in protest).
So while I stopped voting in response to the move, I didn’t publicize my decision, despite the fact that I had ample opportunity to do so. As opinion editor first of Ynetnews, and later of The Jerusalem Post, I certainly had a platform to put my feelings on the public stage. Uncharacteristically, I chose not to because I understood the seriousness of boycotting elections. I was not confident enough that I’d made the right decision.
Today, several hours before Benny Gantz’s mandate to form a government expires, I feel no such hesitation. As a citizen of this country I will not be treated as a punching bag by a pathetic, cynical group of convicted criminals such as Aryeh Deri and Tzachi Hanegbi, nor by individuals suspected of criminal activity including Mr Netanyahu, David Bitan and Yaakov Litzman. I will not be party to their efforts to “just say no” in order to prevent the emergence of a new government.
So in contrast to my previous (relative) silence, I hereby declare that I will not participate in another round of voting. I call on all Israeli citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, who care about this country, who are concerned about the vile tone of public discourse, about basic ethical behaviour in politics and basic governmental functionality to join me in boycotting this ongoing theatre of the absurd.