Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.
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Tel Aviv, March 2 - A survey of personalities who proclaimed their solemn intention to depart from Israel and take up residence elsewhere in the event that incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu won reelection last March found that nearly one year later, those individuals have yet to make arrangements for departure.
Several prominent media figures on the political left and numerous less well known Israelis of similar political leanings made a dramatic show of declaring plans to leave the country if the electorate again made what they called the suicidal mistake of returning Netanyahu for another term as premier. Netanyahu won a convincing victory last March 17, defying polls and frustrating the left for the third time since 2009. As the anniversary of the episode approaches, reporters embarked on an assignment to determine where the various righteous leftists had moved. They have so far failed to find evidence that any have departed as vowed, and journalists are at a loss to account for the gap between the pronouncements and the reality.
"I could understand if some of the people who made that declaration were simply being melodramatic," said political journalist Hanan Crystal. "But the group included such figures of integrity and honesty as [Haaretz columnist] Rogel Alpher, and he hasn't so much as looked at apartment rental postings in Europe. There's something going on here, but we haven't figured out what just yet. Is it the crumbling economy - Bibi's fault, of course - preventing people from moving elsewhere? That's backwards. A bad economy should accelerate emigration. Is it the supposedly creeping fascism? Also backwards. We're missing something here."
Crystal said the dichotomy between the pronouncements and the subsequent behavior has had an impact beyond mere puzzlement. "There were actual economic consequences to this," he continued. "If all the people who vowed to leave if Netanyahu got reelected had actually made good on that promise, we could have gone a long way toward remedying the ongoing housing crisis. We're talking a large number of residences suddenly opening up primarily in the Tel Aviv area, which is where all the jobs are, but where young families can't afford to live. These people not leaving the country as they declared they would is proving to be irresponsible in more ways than one."
All the individuals contacted by PreOccupied Territory who had made such pronouncements on Facebook declined to offer substantive comment, explaining that they were not in the habit of justifying themselves to the Stasi.
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