Weasel words and chutzpah can’t sustain the myth of democratic Israel, but nobody cares | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Weasel words and chutzpah can’t sustain the myth of democratic Israel, but nobody cares

The word “chutzpah” has its roots in the old Hebrew “?utspâ” and, as adopted by Yiddish, basically means “audacity bordering on downright cheek”. We’ve seen and heard plenty of that in Israel this week as triumphant right-wing blocs head to the Knesset after Tuesday’s General Election.

Predictably, Benjamin Netanyahu has been ladling out chutzpah in huge dollops, insisting that his was a convincing political victory despite a historically low voter turnout in the Arab community after it emerged that his Likud Party had deployed 1,200 hidden cameras on its activists to monitor — and, no doubt, to intimidate — Arab voters in local polling stations. It was a sinister move in what is supposed to be a democracy — the only one in the Middle East, we are told ad nauseam — and one which has already compelled Israel’s Central Elections Committee to lodge an official police complaint.

Of course, Netanyahu dismissed this and other reports that certain locations had a higher than 100 per cent voter turnout; even the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein never achieved that, no matter how much chutzpah he deployed. According to election statistics, voter turnout was a staggering 167 per cent in the illegal settlement of Brukhin, while the Bedouin village of Bir Haj managed a turnout of around 117 per cent.

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