Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Israeli Politics for Dummies


I would normally never read anything from the Huffington Post, let alone post something from the Huffington Post, but this column from Omri Marcus is witty, snarky, and a little too true.

All things I greatly admire.

Enjoy! It is hysterical (especially the part about the Green Leaf Party).

Posted February 3, 2009 | 01:37 PM (EST)
Israeli Politics for Dummies
Omri Marcus

In a few days, Israel will vote, and the polls predict another major political change. Unlike the States, Israel has a multi-party political system, or in other words - more headaches for us all.

No one really understands who's who in Israeli politics - so I devised an easy technique to memorize all the parties in the political game - all you need to remember is which TV show is attached to which party and bang, you have all the information you need.

Here is a very quick guide to Israeli politics that will make everything less confusing - but not less crazy.

Likud (lit. Consolidation) - Right-of-center party that, based on current polls, will once again become the ruling party. The party's political platform might sound a bit schizophrenic. It is in favor of a peace process - but against any withdrawals. It is in favor of strengthening the moderate parts of the Palestinian authority - but against providing them with weapons, money or basic supplies. Actually, you can say that they're in favor of peace but not with the Arabs. In a way, it's the Israeli version of the Republican Party, an unbearable mixture of redneck voters who elect representatives that have one solution to every problem - violence. Representing an ignorant racist center, with a thin crust of dignity and pretty words on top.
TV show: Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?

Kadima (lit. Forward) - The current ruling party was established by a group of politicians such as Ehud Olmert, Zachi Hanegbi and Avram Hirschzon in order to cleanse the government from the infamous corruption of the Likud. They achieved their goal and today Israeli police no longer has to deal with Likud's corruption - mostly because they have so much work dealing with the corruption of Ehud Olmert, Zachi Hanegbi and Avram Hirschzon.
TV show: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Avoda (lit. Work) - Israel's Labor party. It is the remains of what used to be Israel's ruling party and these elections will fight hard to come in fourth. The only laborer you can find there is the cleaning lady and she's going to vote for the Likud.
TV show: The Biggest Loser

Israel Beitenu (lit. Israel is our Home) - Extreme right wing party that acted under the banner of producing Israel's version of the TV hit Extreme Makeover - Gaza Edition. Well maybe not the whole show, but at least the first half where you take poor people from their house and ruin it completely. Well, maybe without the taking them from their house part, either.

Gil (lit. Age) - The pensioners' party. The only party who's representative's average age is over 80. Their goals are to increase the pension of Holocaust survivors and well...to stay alive. They are not asking for a seat in parliament, they expect young people to get up and let them sit.
TV show: Survivor

Hadash (lit. New) - Left wing party that supports the complete withdrawal of Israel from all occupied territories, and proposes sending a "forgive me" card to all the Palestinians. Anything for a peace treaty.
TV show: The Price is Right

Haichud Haleumi (lit. The National Union) - Extreme right wing party with a surprising green agenda. They are in favor of transferring all the Arabs from the country - but insist Israel transfer them in hybrid trucks.
TV show: Men in Trees

Ale Yarok (lit. Green Leaf) - A popular party best known for its ideology of legalizing Marijuana. Although the party scores high in pre-election polls, it never actually gets enough votes to enter the Israeli parliament. Commentators usually blame two major factors: first, that most of the potential voters tend to forget the day of the elections and second - those who get to the polls, tend to use the ballots as rolling paper.
TV show: Weeds

Shas (lit. Six Orders - it's a religious thing) - Extremists party of ultra-orthodox Jews. Their agenda is to restore former glory, or in other words: return to biblical times and stone all the homosexuals.
TV show: the Flintstones

If you made it this far you have the all the relevant information you need. Now all you require is an opinion, Israeli ID and some extra time and cash to fly here and place your vote.

Next week, I'll share with you my method to remembering the bones of contention between Israel and the Palestinians by linking them to songs by Madonna.

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