I was all ready to sit down on Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night) and write my postscript on this round of national elections in Israel, when a friend called asking me if I'd heard about the shuttle accident. When I showed surprise at the question, my friend said to go to the radio or internet because he didn't want to be the bearer of bad news.

And so, I logged on and read the sad and terrible news of the accident and of the deaths of the Columbia crew, including our Ilan Ramon. Am Yisrael is still low over all of the deaths, but particularly that of our two-time national hero, Ilan Ramon, of blessed memory -- first as a pilot in the squad that bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, and later as Israel's first astronaut.

I sat debating whether or not to write this article about our "Superbowl Tuesday" at all. Finally, seeing that we needed some comic relief after the continuing dosage of Arab terrorist acts and the fatal end of the Columbia mission, I decided to pen this account.


Election day started early for me with a trip to Jerusalem and a subsequent 45 minute bus trip outside of the city, to one of Israel's "finest" medical institutions, to begin research for a future investigative article.

I arrived back in Beit Shemesh to vote at about 1pm. Once inside the polling station and registered, I received my official envelope and was able to go behind the flimsy, cardboard partition to take a chit (slip of paper) of my chosen party and to emerge, sealed envelope in hand, to drop my vote into the blue cardboard box. My vote was cast.

That night, anyone who has two ears, a pair of eyes and a brain knew that we were in for a Likud blowout of the Labor party, of greater magnitude than the number that Jon Gruden, Brad Johnson, Dexter Jackson, Warren Sapp and the Tampa Bay Bucs did on Rich Gannon and the Oakland Raiders in the Superbowl the previous Sunday.

Even in the election blowout, we still had some aspects of the Superbowl. As one followed the ebb and flow of whether or not various small parties like Herut or the Green party would gain sufficient votes to crack the threshold, it seemed evident that Am Yisrael apparently has her own Ronde Barbers and Dexter Jacksons, who managed to swipe huge numbers of Herut ballot chits, leaving many thousands of voters unable to cast votes for their party of choice. And intrepid Herut party head, Michael Kleiner, couldn't even stop play and ask for an official review and instant replay. There were no hidden cameras behind all of those cardboard partitions to record the illegal swipes. Not that Justice Chesin would have been inclined to do justice, even had he witnessed instant replays of illegal use of the hands by one or more of the other parties. The difference is that in NFL football, the winner is the one who plays the best, mistake-free offense, and who forces errors, fumbles and interceptions while on defense. As Lombardi said, "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." But it's about democracy (what's that?).

And so, throughout election night, the various exit polls were mixed as to whether Kleiner and Baruch Marzel would actually go over the top. But, in the end, it appears that Team Herut fell just short of the threshold, as numerous illegal swipes of hundreds and thousands of ballots throughout the day by the "Knesset Plumbers" of competing parties did them in.

I received an email message from a friend back in Philadelphia, in "the old country", in which he opined, "Looks like everyone right of Sharon burned a vote!"

Heck, no. I'm proud of my vote. Voting Herut was something I felt compelled to do, particularly after ?Hizzoner?, Justice Chesin, disallowed my man, accusing Moshe Feiglin of "moral turpitude" for daring to lead demonstrations against the murderous Oslo process in the mid-1990s.

As I think of ?Chaver? Kleiner, I still hear the echos of former Eagles coach Richie Kotite, who would bellow at the Monday post-game news conference after a loss, "Dare's no quit in dis team. Dey left nothin' in da locker room, okay!"


Moshe Burt, an Oleh Chadash for three and 3/4 years, writes news and current events commentary. He is also the Founder of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network.