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...

New Statesman
Naftali Bennett Casts His Vote In Israel's General Election, Getty Images

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...

 

Contenders

  • 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!"

 

Campaigns

  • 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.

 

PLUS

 

 

  • 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.