Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday season and Election season

It's my favorite day of the week, shabbat shalom! Also equally exciting, we're back on track for holiday season in Israel, Hannukkah begins on Saturday night.

It's been a weird couple of weeks. I've been busy, but not in the same sense that I was before or during the war week in November. The election season in Israel has started and my favorite story is the birth of "The Tzipi Livni party." Tzipi Livni is an interesting politician to me. She is a woman who I find has a strong presence. She is most recently known for being the former head of the Labor party and won the majority vote in the last elections. Livni would have been the Prime Minister but in a story reminiscent of the US elections of 2004, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyhu was able to form a majority coalition within the government and he became Prime Minister, creating a "center-right" government.

When I was first starting to read Israeli news I would see Livni's picture and read her soundbites interjected on popular issues within Israeli news reports. I wasn't sure who she was or what she stood for but she always managed to stand out. In the beginning of 2012 she announced she was resigning from politics. I remember reading the story and thinking it was a shame, there shouldn't be even one less woman in anything, especially politics. Within the last couple weeks she had been teaming up with former prime minister Ehud Olmert and the rumor mill was running on over time if the two would form a party and run in the next elections.

I was in the breaking news room when Livni held her press conference to announce that she would indeed be returning to politics and with a new party of her own. She introduced her party as "The Movement," or "Hatanua" in hebrew. We immediately started making jokes in the newsroom. "If you can't join 'em, make your own party!" "The party is 'the movement,' I think it's more forward than the 'forward' party."

But what jokes we did make didn't stoop to bodily functions. This was unfortunate because apparently "the movement," for most Hebrew speakers, conjures up ideas of evacuated bowels. This apparently came to light to Livni and her staff because very shortly, maybe even 10-20 minutes after announcing, in a press conference, the name of "The Movement" party, it was then changed to "The Tzipi Livni party."

If ever there is a politician (and a woman) I admire, it's Tzipi Livni. I think she has balls. To have the audacity to come back into politics, make your own party and then name that party after yourself, that takes chutzpa.

I can't decide if Israelis view politics and politicians as much as a popularity contest as American's tend too. I believe Livni aims to be "center-left" in her politics, balanced but liberal. But I could be way off base and just put under a spell of a woman putting forth a strong presence and speaking out.

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