Wednesday, September 12, 2012

// // 4 comments

Ari & Jeremy Run for Knesset

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

2012-09-05 Ari_and_Jeremy_Meeting 004

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.

What are their positions?

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.

Their web site is here.

4 comments:

Devash said...

Did you also know that they regularly visit and speak in J4J churches and receive financial support from XIans who are expecting their help to "make aliyah?"

josh said...

Besides the criticism below, I admire any initiative to run for office with intentions of good faith in general and also this initiative for the new Mafdal, even though I think the Mafdal is a thing of the past.

Given that, Reb Akiva, even in politics and politicians, we need to give kaf zchut so it is not fair to say 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. I think that many, if not most Knesset members have good intentions are nice people. We need to beware of the image the media paints.

We are all very, very ignorant about how the Knesset works and what our Members of Knesset (MoKs) actually do. We LOVE to say they are doing NOTHING. We love to criticise the system in general and how it is so bad (or worse than in XYZ country) but we (including Rav Ari and Rav Jeremy) should be wary of criticizing out of ignorance.

MoKs work hard, around the clock, and the pay is not that great for 24hr work. It is possible to say that some work harder than others. We should be careful about making generalizations. MoKs haveto work hard in order to show 'receipts' (to whom?) during the next elections that they actually have been doing something.

Unity: I actually like that there is a supermarket of parties. There are pros and cons to having choice in Israel than having only two choices in the US. I like that there is an 'Ichud Leumi' which is a unity platform of parties. The Mafdal is only one party. The Mafdal should join the Ichud Leumi.

Good Governance: This is a fairy tale or simply misleading potential voters with election promises. We are simple unaware of how the US, Canadian, and UK ministries work because we don't have to deal with them and also - we do not really care. In contrast, Israel is our country, we are running it and 'politics' is much more a percentage of our daily news than in other countries where the media reports news and too much about politics. Since we are much more aware of the bad, we think it represents all of it. I suggest that people go back to reading their 'old' newspaper and you'd be surprised to see the same corruption, influence peddling, etc... People are people, and I for sure do not want to bring foreign politics to Israel. 'Politics' is actually goyish system. It 'does not work' in Israel because we are trying to emulate a goyish political culture.

Representation: another ignorant view of Members of our Knesset. If anyone has a problem, call up an MoK office and you will get a response. I promise you. MoKs strive for attention. This has worked for many Haredi people with issues in school and the army. Dr. Michael ben Ari set up his external office in South Tel Aviv and deals with the personal issues of many regular people. In fact, all MoKs have the right to open external offices around the country with hours they meet with people.

More Transparency: We are already headed there, but it is great if we can get there faster. many MoKs have facebook and youtube pages (rahmana leitzlan?)

A while back, I was at a shul meeting that was not necessarily an election parlour meeting but there were politicians there. We talked about some of our local issues and someone blurted out in frustration something like - 'how come you only show up before the elections?!?!' They replied, 'it is the only time you invite us'.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

There was a time not so long ago when the United States was a great country as long as you were a citizen of that country. Something must have gone right for over 200 years despite how it treated people who were excluded from citizenship (Indians), were 3/5ths of a human being (black slaves), and foreign countries (Mexico and Israel)when its financial interests conflicted with being decent. Yet, internally, if one was a member of the Brit in Artzot HaBrit, the privileges of citizenship guaranteed by the US Constitution was the finest example of man-made government architecture in the history of the world. Any Americans raised to understand the Founding Fathers of Adams, Jefferson and Washington and how they understood our rights and responsibilities before G-d and to each other must take a lead in altering our Socialist/ Bolshevick inspired Republic here. Now that the Bolshevicks have been replaced by self-serving narcissists in Kadima and other political parties does not make government here better. At least the Bolshevicks were idealistic. Kudos to Ari and Jeremy for introducing good old common sense from America's Founding Fathers into how the inmates run our asylum here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Devash for the heads up.

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