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Things you may not know about the Israeli elections

Did Bibi hide stolen money in his socks? Will Donald Trump bring Mid East peace? And other important questions...

The rise of the right-wing dominated Israeli election coverage this year, but many lesser known parties also battled it out for seat in the Knesset. Here is a round up of what you might have missed...



  • Among the less well known of the 34 parties running in the election was an Israel Pirate Party...

a fringe anti-Zionist rabbi who's trying to bring secular Jews back to religion, a joint party of Ethiopian and Indian Jewish immigrants and a charismatic Hassidic movement famous in Israel for blasting religious rock music out of vans and starting impromptu dance parties on the streets.

Above- Pirate party campaign advert - barman leans over, "what'll it be?" he asks, "two chasers" the customer answers "freedom and democracy-please!"



  • Ultra-orthodox religious party, the Shas party, were forced to remove a campaign ad about a Russian convert after being accused of inciting racism.


  • for mocking the national anthem.


  • Likud stirred up controversy with an internet spoof featuring finger puppets in which, according to the Times of Israel:

The leaders of the center and left are represented by finger puppets. Zehava Gal-On of Meretz is portrayed saying “End the occupation” again and again, while a man mimics Shelly Yachimovitch of Labor harping endlessly about the convergence of “wealth and power,” utilizing the time-honored tactic of debating an opponent by repeating his words in a silly voice. In the end, all of the left-wing puppets are blown to confetti by an Iranian bomb, and they learn that they shouldn’t drone on about things like the occupation and the economy when Iran might be developing a nuclear weapon.





  • Jeremy Gimpel, number 14 on the list for the right-wing party, Jewish Home, told an audience in the US that “it would be incredible” if the Dome of the Rock were “blown up.” Gimpel later told the Jerusalem Post that he only “made a few jokes” and the outrage at his speech was “ridiculous” and taken out of context.


  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept his election day schedule a secret from the press, but did post a handwritten note on Facebook, complete with a doodle of a voting slip. It was translated by the Times of Israel as “I ask of you: Go and vote for Mahal [the Hebrew letters on the Likud Beytenu voting slip]. Only a large Mahal will keep Israel strong.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plea to voters via Facebook (photo credit: Publicity/Facebook)



** Update: As of 23 Janaury Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu bloc gained 31 seats in parliament. Centrist Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party came second with a predicted 18-19 seats. Labour gained 17. A cabinet will now be formed.


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Must I unremember the day I wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man?

At that time we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

The misremembering of history interrupts these tales of my own squalid past. Very often I find myself wishing my memories were wrong, or that I’d forgotten more than I have. This would certainly be the case were I to be a politician, albeit a small-time one in big-time government. In the era of renunciations and sincere apologies, I would have to say sorry most of the time.

But I can’t. I can’t get past that clear day in May 1981, when the tangy cold spring air of a New York day got right inside me. Ambling home from another long, messy night in the Village, I was near 52nd when I saw people carrying a coffin.

“It’s not him, of course. It’s a fake coffin,” said a woman who saw the shock on my face. Maybe I was already crying. I knew and didn’t know but asked anyway.

“Yes. Bobby.”

Bobby Sands had died. Crowds were gathering with banners about Smashing Long Kesh and Smashing Thatcher.

The shock of it has never left me and God knows “martyrs” come two a penny now. Yet the idea that someone can starve themselves slowly to death for an idea is shocking. The idea that someone can let them do it, either “for” a United Ireland or “for” a United Kingdom, remains profoundly disturbing to me.

I need no lectures about what vile and murderous bastards the IRA were, or the numbers of innocents they killed. Nor about the smeary sentimentality of martyrdom itself. All I can say is that I had little idea of what “we” did in Ireland as long as I lived in England. A boy at school had run off to join the IRA. My mum said, “Well, he’s always been tapped, that one.”

We were kept ignorant. For some stupid reason, I did not think that Thatcher would let the hunger strikers die.

Their demands, remember, were the right not to wear prison uniform or to do prison work, rights to free association and education within the prison, one visit, one parcel, one letter a week. They wanted to be treated as political prisoners. Thatcher said Sands had no mandate. He was actually an MP, with more votes than she ever won in Finchley.

In New York that day, when we got to Third Avenue, there was anger and then solemnity. There were mumblings about what a death like that entailed . . . Mandela then instigated a hunger strike on Robben Island. There were protests in Milan and Ghent. French towns would name streets after Sands.

At that time, though, yes, we did talk about the occupation of Ireland. Now we have to pretend we didn’t and it’s all the jolly UK and thank you, England for the peace process.

So, must I unremember that day when I sat down on the pavement and wept over the long, slow suicide of a 27-year-old man? Let me know how to uncry all those tears shed for that terrible, terrible waste.

Suzanne Moore is a writer for the Guardian and the New Statesman. She writes the weekly “Telling Tales” column in the NS.

This article first appeared in the 01 October 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide