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What is an old fart like you, doing in a place like this?

In case anyone is confused, the old fart is me.

The idea for this piece came from Simon Hattenstone's opinion article in the UK Guardian newspaper.

The headline and sub-header read: “‘I’ve hit 60 – I’m officially an old fart and I’m going to embrace it’: the thing I’ll do differently in 2023” “People have started to offer me their seats on the bus. But I don’t mind. Far from denying my age, I am going to flaunt it”

Right on Simon.

The closing paragraph of this witty, thought-provoking article reads: “Best of all, being 60 and embracing my age gives me the licence to be young again. The 30s, 40s and 50s are all about dreary responsibility, caution and not upsetting the apple cart. Being a bloody grownup. Now I’ve hit the big six-oh and am officially an old fart, the pressure’s off. At 60, I have the freedom to be as immature as I want. Game on.”

While Simon is notching up the bug six-oh, I am edging towards the 7-4 signpost, although I find it hard sometimes to think that I am in my seventh decade. Don’t misunderstand me, while my brain thinks I am still 19, my body daily reminds me that that is not the case.

And there are of course many advantages to being an old fart. If for example, you use public transport, just occasionally someone, usually a younger female, will get up and offer you her seat.

At the supermarket counter, younger people roll their eyes in amazement that you don’t know how to use the automatic checkout machines.

The list goes on.

Although written in 2013 from a female perspective, the following from the Witty Woman Writing blog – “30 Unmistakable Signs That You Are An Old Fart” – is both potent and a reminder that nothing remains the same:

The WWW blog writer, Tammy Bleck, quotes Bob Dylan “The times they are a changing!”

They certainly are, and not always for the best.

Being an ‘old fart’; does that, like James Bond, give me a ‘license to be an old fart’ and to do and say what I please?

When I offend someone with a comment or deed, will they simply say ‘ignore him, he’s just an old fart’?

If the yes is a resounding YES, then that opens up a pandora's box of delightful and tantalizing options.

For example, when our Crime Minister rebukes protesters for calling certain members of the current government Nazies - - I can, on the one hand, support his reproach. By referring to Ben Gvir, Moaz, Smotrich, and their cohorts as Nazies, the protesters are diluting the contemptible actions of Nazi Germany.

Instead, let’s call a ‘spade a spade’ - Ben Gvir, Moaz, Smotrich, and their cohorts are ultra-nationalists. In simple terms, they are fascists just like Franco, Mussolini, Salazar, Peron, and BiBi’s good friend Victor Orbán. And of course Hilter.

Calling them Nazies, however, tempting is defiling the memory of millions, not only Jews, who died at the hands of Nazi Germany.

So, me calling - Ben Gvir, Moaz, Smotrich, and their cohorts are ultra-nationalists / fascists, is that going to get me into trouble?

No way, because I am an old fart.

It feels somewhat remiss for me to correct a former IDF CoS, however, as an ‘old fart’ I have leeway.

Instead of making the country tremble, the objective should be to make Netanyahu tremble.

The problem is that Netanyahu lacks a soul. He has no conscience and a total disregard for other people's feelings; in short, he feels he can't do wrong.

David Horovitz, writing in The Times of Israel refers to Netanyahu as a democratic dictatorship’.

In writing this blog during the past couple of years, I have referred to Netanyahu several times as a ‘benevolent dictator’. He alone, so he feels, knows what is best for Israel. How is it possible that he alone has the panacea to cure, so he feels, Israel’s ills?

Just maybe Israel’s judiciary does require reform. I heard a couple of times over the past few days the respected former minister of justice, Prof. Daniel Friedman reminded people that during his tenure (2007/2009), he tried to introduce several reforms and was not successful.

The issue appears to be the way that Netanyahu is driving this reform. Akin to a bull in a china shop or a bulldozer plowing through a village. In other words without clear thought. It is all very well for Netanyahu to ask for calm and assure people that the reforms will be handled responsibly, the issue is he is not believed.

Netanyahu appears to have given free rein to Ben Gvir, Moaz, Smotrich, and their ultra-nationalist cohorts. Is he hoping that they will fail and he will ride to the rescues as Israel’s savior?

Is it a question of divide and rule? What is his overall game plan? Does he even have one?

Understandably, people are pissed. It’s natural.

Just consider, a twice-convicted felon is set to become both health and interior minister. Is one ‘job’ not sufficient?

A pot-bellied rabble-rouser, with a record of run-ins with the police, is now in charge of the police and border police. In effect giving him control of a private army, assuming of course that ‘this army’ is willing to obey his orders.

And we have the ‘little man’ who is both minister of finance and controller of the civilian administration in the West Bank. Again, is not one ‘job’ sufficient? Maybe there is a need to reform the civilian administration in the West Bank, but it’s the way it is being done that gets people's goat.

And we must not forget the ‘bigot in chief’ the obnoxious Avi Moaz.

The reformed Three Stooges – Deri, Gafni, and Goldknopf, like sharks in the water, can smell blood and are after every morsel they can scrounge.

Unlike the genuine Three Stooges - Larry Fine, Curly Howard, and Moe Howard, Israel’s impersonators are sorrowful and pathetic, happy to drive us back to the stone age.

There is sympathy for the incoming IDF CoS Herzi Halevi who, at least on paper appears to be reasonable to two and a half ministers in this new government rather than just the minister of defense.

Instead of Being a Light Unto Nations, Israel is being driven back to the dark ages and a ghetto-like existence.

It is all very well for Netanyahu to request calm, but his assurances carry little weight. Too many people see Netanyahu for what he has become. His only agenda is securing his place in history as Israel's most accomplished prime minister.

To achieve this, he is more than happy to trample on whatever and whoever, regardless of the cost – both morally and financially to Israel.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” is of course not about Denmark per se but rather other places and other situations.

And yes, something is rotten in the State of Israel.

The country is tinder-dry. Even the smallest spark in the wrong place could set off a chain of events that would devastate the country. It is inconceivable that Israel would descend into a civil war, and yet bubbling just below the surface is both fear and resentment.

One spark is all that is needed.

A fearful prospect.

So where does this leave this old fart? Good question. I just don’t know.


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