by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
I was invited to a political rally for Ari & Jeremy, two guys who have been building a career in the Israeli PR and Aliyah outreach business, with successful radio and video media programs.
What makes a couple of guys drop from a growing and promising business and media path to suddenly run for the Israeli parliament? I attended to find out.
Simply stated, these guys are passionate about Israel and passionate about making a difference. That in and of itself differentiates them from possibly all of the members of the Knesset.
So are these guys a joke or are they serious? And can they get anywhere?
What’s shocking is that not only are they serious, but they’ve already had a serious impact. They’re getting enough attention and taking serious enough positions that other candidates and party officials are having to respond and in some cases match them.
1. Unity. They think it’s crazy for parties in a similar space to be divided, resulting in a bunch of tiny parties with limited or no voice. They’ve committed to giving up their seats if that results in a single party block. (Their area of focus is the national religious parties, but this statement could apply equally as well to the ultra-orthodox parties.)
2. Good Governance. This is an issue that’s uniquely American, having a government that actually works. No crony-ism, no influence peddling, an actual government that works, and works fairly.
3. Representation. Israel works by a parliamentary majority system, meaning elected officials are not beholden to voters of a particular area. Therefore they offer no constituent services, and when you have trouble with the Israeli system you have no “representative” to turn to. Ari & Jeremy committed to providing actual constituent services to their voting public.
4. Transparency. They’re report on who they’re meeting with, what they’re doing, what they voted for or against. And they hope when they start, the rest of the Knesset will have to follow.
Frankly these are hot button issues in Israel. EVERYONE, not just American immigrants, agrees that the Israeli system doesn’t work well (at all?) As I’ve told some secular Israeli co-workers, the fact that the State of Israel survives and thrives is an obvious example of Hashem’s miracles at work – because it’s a nes min hashamayim (it’s a heavenly miracle!) that anything gets done here.
EVERYONE feels disenfranchised, knowing there is no one to turn to when dealing with challenging government interactions.
And EVERYONE feels that the politicians are taking advantage (whether true or not, that’s due to the lack of transparency.)
These guys say they’re going to change that, and they’re already forcing some of the politicians to improve their positions in response. I’m impressed, as these guys are ALREADY making a difference (and they haven’t been elected to anything or gotten onto a party list yet.)
Here’s a video clip of them sharing some key points… (Direct link here.) My final thoughts after the clip.
Their initial target constituency is English speaking immigrants of the national religious bend. As a black hat beard wearing guy, I challenged them on this. Do they intend to be a narrow interest, or narrow constituency, focused team? Why haven’t they reached out to the large number of ultra-orthodox English speaking immigrants (of Jerusalem and Ramat Beit Shemesh for example)? Or for that matter secular English speaking immigrants of Tel Aviv? Or the many Israelis who have spent time in America and “get it”.
The answer I received was they started with what they know and where they have connections. They’re very respectful of the Torah learning community and would be thrilled to gain traction there as well. But given the time available until their party elections, they focused where they had an immediate in.
Unfortunately the registration deadline for their party elections has passed. But if they make a realistic position on their party list, these guys are worth supporting in the next Israeli election.
Though I didn’t sign their party papers in time (not knowing the deadline was so close), these guys have my support.