Now that the actual elections (though not the coalition-building process) are behind us we can stop and think about what we have all just been through here in Israel, and what awaits us in the near future.

Apparently this election campaign was the nastiest in living memory, which isn’t saying very much as these inevitably tend not to be filled with sweetness and light. Probably what lay behind the unusually vituperous nature of the 2019 campaign was the very real threat to the long-standing hegemony of the right-wing Likud party, together with its head, Benjamin Netanyahu, who have been ruling the country for over ten years.

This is, in my opinion, a sorry state of affairs. Many people had pinned their hopes for a regime change on the Blue-and-White party, led by former Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz. Pre-election polls showed that the threat posed by that party was very real, and in the event they received the same number of seats in the Knesset as the Likud.

However, Netanyahu is assured of coalition partners from the various religious parties, so that there is every indication that in the final event he will form the next government, and introduce more right-wing (some might even say fascist) legislation.

What is surprising to onlookers from both within and outside Israel is the fact that Netanyahu has managed to be re-elected despite the fact that he will soon be facing charges of bribery and corruption in Israel’s courts, and that the process for bringing him to justice has been ongoing for several months, if not years. While he is undoubtedly a clever politician, brilliant speaker and charismatic individual, it is nonetheless surprising that support for him remains widespread among the Israeli voting public.

Behind this there would appear to lie a social phenomenon that is unique to Israel. Long-held political allegiances and family traditions are often difficult if not impossible to shift. Many of these go back to the period before the establishment of the State, when various para-military groups resisted British rule, displaying differences of attitude and approach that cut deep into pre-State society.

And so, whereas in France we have the ‘gilets jaunes’ demonstrating in the streets against a system they regard as unfair, and in Sudan the people are holding sit-ins in order to change the regime – and succeeding – in Israel the people who are suffering poverty and inequality continue to vote for the ruling party that has kept them poor and underprivileged for generations.

In my opinion, this is also due to the failure of the education system to educate youngsters and enable the younger generation to think and judge for itself. The same can perhaps be said for the education systems of the UK and the USA, explaining the phenomena of Brexit and Trump.

The future is looking bleaker by the day, as ignorance, racism, xenophobia and prejudice gather ever more support. As goes Israel, so goes the world, it would seem.

A line in the London production of the play ‘Pompeii,’ which I saw last year, comes to mind. The play showed how politics in Ancient Rome bore many similarities to events that are taking place in the world today. When one of the characters said ‘Stupid people vote for stupid things’ the audience erupted in laughter, presumably thinking of Brexit.

All that remains for us, then, is to laugh at the folly of those around (and above) us, and to pin our hopes on the ancient saying: ‘Pride goeth before a fall.’