THIS year's end to the electoral cycle won't be soon enough for the hapless Murray McCully's ride off into the sunset.
The quizzical slant of his pitched-roof eyebrows gives him the permanent air of an innocent who has stumbled into an active war zone, has bullets whizzing around his ears, but can't for the life of him think why people would want to shoot him.
The Saudi sheep farm saga, and his fronting NZ's co-sponsorship of the successful Security Council resolution censuring Israel for its continuing settlement encroachments, epitomise Mr McCully's inadvertent martyrdom.
Of course, the Israeli/Palestinian impasse -- and, indeed, Israel's parlous relationship with the wider Arab world -- is an absolute minefield.
My feeling is that the relationship has now reached a state of hyper-dysfunction, and entered a toxic zone of intransigence. Situation hopeless: it may now be officially recognised as a Grade A Intractable Problem.
Intractable because -- regardless of the labyrinthine catalogue of rights and wrongs -- the two main protagonists have culturally and psychologically become co-dependent: each now derives a significant portion of their identity from their mutual, now institutionalised antagonism.
This intractability is very much akin to the disastrous inter-iwi, two-decade-long, so-called "musket wars" conflict of pre-Treaty New Zealand.
Compared to traditional weapons, the muskets' much superior capacity to inflict casualties exponentially expanded the need for reciprocity demanded by tikanga of the time.
Exacting utu often involved incurred still more casualties, creating spiralling utu demands that depleted iwi resources as much as the physical casualties -- as substantial as those were.
The cycle was only broken as missionaries expanded their influence and offered an alternative religio-cultural world view that short-circuited the multiplying demands of kawa and tikanga.
This rats' nest of revenge and retribution is not dissimilar to that now bedevilling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The backlog of grievance and redress has turned into a log jam.
Ironically, though, the main threat to Israel's prospects for maintaining an island of Judaism in a sea of Islamic states may come from within.
A rapidly growing internal sector is that of the ultra-Orthodox Jews, known as Haredim, whose name and tenets have parallels to Quakerism.
Similarly, Haredi are exempt from the usual compulsory military service. Haredi men also do not work in a conventional sense, spending their days studying the Torah and Jewish lore in preparation for a decreed divine intervention.
Their dress is characterised by wide-brimmed fur hats, curled side-locks, and voluminous black coats or cloaks.
While Judaic faith and traditions run deep within most Israeli Jews, many are still resolutely concerned with the secular dynamics of nation-building as they see it.
But for the ultra-Orthodox, it's an entirely different kettle of fish.
Indeed, they regard the state of Israel as an insult to God, and a blight on Jewish interests. Their faith decrees that redemption of an Israeli state was meant to be by direct act of God -- not by mere men.
As such, the Israeli state as it exists now is considered a blasphemy, along with its Zionist precepts, and present dilemmas stem from this defilement. In short, they agree with those Palestinians and Arabs who maintain that the state of Israel as it stands now should not exist.
Additionally, there is the problem of extremist ultra-Nationalist Jews wedded to reclaiming the West Bank, which they regard as part of Biblical Judea and Samaria. Their actions are causing outrage not only amongst Palestinians but also within the wider Israeli population. And this is not forgetting the increasingly alienated Israeli Arab internal population.
About 40 per cent of 6-year-olds in Israeli primary schools are either Haredi or Arab children. And both communities have a much higher birth rate than average Israelis.
Within a couple of generations, the Israeli majority will comprise citizens actively opposed to the existence of a secular Israeli state.
The imminent majority verdict from this island of democracy, so assiduously and expensively fostered by Western interests -- notably the USA -- over many a year, may well turn to ashes in the mouths of both the Zionist Jewish population and its sponsors.