I hated almost every minute of the election season.
I have never felt more acrimony among the candidates and, frankly, among the voters. I have never felt more lied to by all of the major candidates and most of the minor ones. I have never felt less like casting a ballot in my life.
I have voted in every United States and Israeli national election since turning 18. It is a great responsibility which I take very seriously. And for me, there has usually been at least one candidate that speaks to me and for me.
Until now. Even as my husband and I were walking to our polling place on the beautiful, sunny morning of election day, I still was not sure who I was willing to vote for. In the end, I held my nose and made a selection. But I have never felt this bad about voting before.
A few hours later, it was all over. By morning, we knew very little had changed. Benjamin Netanyahu would continue as the prime minister and the haredi Orthodox parties would have enough votes to threaten any right-wing coalition if they don’t get their way. On the other hand, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked will not serve in the next Knesset after bringing their fresh ideas to the last two Knessets. The left was swallowed up by the left-of-center Blue and White Party, leaving the Labor and Meretz parties diminished.
The horse trading is still going on. Avigdor Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and a good part of the reason we went to elections in the first place, is insisting a tough draft law that would force haredi yeshiva students to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces be passed during the new Knesset in order for him to join the government. The haredi Orthodox parties are insisting that such a law be dismantled in order to for them to join the government. Netanyahu really needs both of them, so what is it going to take?
And the truth is Bibi probably will pull it off. I would be quite amazed and intrigued if he announced his desire to form a unity government with the next highest vote-getting party, Blue and White, headed by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. They each got the same number of seats in the next Knesset, but Netanyahu gets to form the government because more parties told President Reuven Rivlin in the post-election interview they support Netanyahu for prime minister. The idea of a unity government is moot because Gantz has sworn up and down that he will not sit in a government coalition with Netanyahu, and Netanyahu ran on a platform of a strong right.
Then there’s the small issue of whether or not Netanyahu will be indicted in one of the three corruption scandals which the attorney general has indicated he has enough evidence to try in court.
All I can say is, thank God we here in Israel had something else to focus on after the dismal 2019 elections.
Because two days later, hundreds of thousands of Israelis and tens of thousands of other people around the world tuned in to watch us make history as the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon, well ... almost.
All day my brain buzzed with the knowledge the Beresheet space craft was close enough to the moon – the moon. And ready to land.
The selfie Beresheet took with the moon, less than a mile from its surface was one of the most amazing sights ever.
We all know what happened next. We landed on the moon, just not the smooth touchdown we were expecting. Beresheet even managed to get one more Hail Mary photo just before it crashed into the moon’s surface. I view it as a heroic gesture – the spacecraft was telling us goodbye, it’s been fun and don’t give up.
It could have been a crappy ending to a pretty awful week. But by the end of Shabbat, SpaceIL chairman and major funder of the Beresheet project, Morris Kahn, announced we would try again to land a spacecraft on the moon.
“We are going to complete the mission,” he said. “If it doesn’t work at first, stand up and complete it.”
I know we can land that spacecraft on the moon. Just as I know that there will be more elections and more opportunities to elect a Knesset that can take this country exactly where it needs to go.
Both may take time.
Marcy Oster is a former Clevelander who covers the Middle East for the Cleveland Jewish News from Karnei Shomron, West Bank.