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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Election Fever, Israeli Style

Israeli culture's concept of time is rather different from the American one I was raised in.  In school, classes began exactly on time, and teachers were expected to be in the classrooms before the bell rang. 

As a teacher in the Israeli system for over twenty years in various schools, I could never adjust to the custom of the teacher entering late, the grand entrance when the students were supposed to rise to greet me.  My students never did that.  Maybe because I was frequently one of the very first in the room and started asking why everyone else was late.  I considered the bell as an announcement to start class, while most everyone else (the rest of the staff and the students) considered it a reminder to do a few last minute things before sauntering in.

Except for total emergencies, like the day President John F. Kennedy was shot/assassinated, you could set your clock on the timing of television shows, starting, commercials and ending.  When we finally got our first tv in Israel, I was horrified that the schedules were more "suggestions," and we never quite knew when a show would begin or end or what show would be broadcast.

Our national aka Knesset Elections are timed even less predictably than the television program schedule.  A successful "no confidence vote" can "call elections" even a short time after the government has been sworn in.  As soon as the Prime Minister loses control over his coalition he's old news,  and the new election process has begun. 

In short, the opposition is constantly trying to campaign to unseat the government/Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister is constantly trying to add to his coalition.

The media plays this game, too, since nobody here is apolitical.  I was very angry with the Jerusalem Post on Simchat Torah for featuring a big promotion of MK or minister wannabee Yair Lapid as cover story in its holiday magazine.  I even reverted to my old hobby of newspaper letter writing:

Why promote Lapid's Party in the Holiday Magazine?
It's one thing if you had compared a number of competing politicians who have/had well-known fathers, like Dr. Arye Eldad, son of Professor Yisrael Eldad, in an election magazine.  But you have Yair Lapid unfair and disproportionate publicity in "Not his father’s keeper" in the Simchat Torah Magazine.
What does Yair Lapid have to do with Simchat Torah?
I guess someone in your editorial staff doesn't like the fact that a lot of your readers are looking into the NRP aka Jewish Home party, because there are a number of anglos trying to get realistic spots on their list. 
Personally, I prefer keeping religion out of political parties, so I don't vote NRP. And you should have kept politics out of your Jewish holiday magazine.
I don't know if they'll publish it.  But the advantage of having my own blog is that I control editorial content here.  It's my very own internet magazine.  And just in case you don't know yet, not only don't I support the NRP, I don't trust the Likud to lead us.  I believe in the importance of a strong opposition, and that's why I do support Eldad's National Union.  You're welcome to give your opinions via the blog's comments.


Hadassah said...

What will you do if they merge?

goyisherebbe said...

So far I am in Manhigut Yehudit, voting in the Likud primaries and voting for NU in the general election. I felt that that combination gave me the most leverage. But now that the merger looks like a done deal with old NRP and Yesha Council locking it up, we'll see. What I don't want to see is disgruntled people who have no chance of getting in running and taking votes away from someone who can, making the results much worse. 1992 all over again, and you know what happened in 1993. As bad as it looked when Rabin came in, it ended up even worse.

Batya said...

goyish, exactly
Hadassa, a nightmare

Hadassa said...

That was Hadassah with an "h" at the end, but I agree with her. The last time they merged I didn't vote for them. I'm thinking that maybe if they officially merge before the next election I won't vote at all.