Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Israeli Elections… Again!

By Shmuel Sackett

When asked how much time there is between elections in Israel, I answer the following; “The Israeli election system works like the warranty on your car. When you purchase a new car they tell you that the warranty is good for 4 years or 40,000 miles – whichever comes first. It’s the same with Israeli elections. Once elected, the new government is good for 4 years or until it falls – whichever comes first!” In the history of Israel, I think only one government actually made it the distance. The rest fell before their time, resulting in early elections – well before the 4 year “expiration date”.
All kidding aside, this makes it almost impossible to run and manage a country. The party-based system is always fragile and prone to one crisis after another. Even if it makes it close to the 4 years, most of that time has been replete with “putting out fires” or appeasing one (or more) of the coalition partners. Simply put; it is not a good nor effective system but as we say in Hebrew; “Zeh Mah Sheh Yesh” (this is what we have) so instead of complaining, we need to get inside that system and make the necessary changes.
My team, led by Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Moshe Feiglin, has written dozens of articles about changing the system to a much more effective one. The problem is, that right now, those ideas and proposals need to be put aside since – like it or not – we need to run our own campaign to insure that Moshe Feiglin gets re-elected to the Likud Knesset list. Worrying about changing the system at this point and time is like figuring out how to fix your home’s leaky roof, as your home begins to burn in a tragic fire.
Nobody can figure out why Prime Minister Netanyahu called for these early elections. There’s a lot of speculation but nothing concrete. The best answer, however, came from Moshe Feiglin when he looked straight into the tv camera and said that Hashem is the one who decides who rules Israel – and for how long. We may think that these decisions are in our hands but in reality, they are 100% guided, directed and orchestrated by the One above.
Our role in this is clear, yet very difficult. I am, once again, the International Campaign Manager for Moshe Feiglin’s Campaign and at the present time, we are running TWO different campaigns. The first is for the head of the Likud party where we will be challenging Prime Minister Netanyahu for leadership of Likud. MK Danny Dannon, former Deputy Defense Minister (until Netanyahu fired him) will also be running and this three-man-race will be quite exciting. The heavy favorite is of course, Netanyahu, but we never were – nor will ever be – Jewish leaders who act based on polls. We have always tried to do the right thing to explain the concept of authentic, proud and strong Jewish leadership. Our goal is to educate through personal example, not just lectures or articles, and therefore we have always felt the need to show people what we mean by actually running serious campaigns. I believe that it was our “ice-breaking efforts” that cleared the way for Naftoli Bennett to enter politics and begin talking this way as well. Moshe Feiglin always said that while the Religious Zionists in Israel are first in education, army and settlement of the land, they are dead last in leadership of the country. Moshe changed all that when he came out of the box and reached way beyond the comfort zone. Back in November 2000 we entered politics and decided – not to lead the Mizrachi or National Religious Party (associated with the settlers and right wing) – but to swim against the tide and work our way into the Likud party. We weathered many storms and stood strong against fierce opposition and today, Moshe Feiglin is considered by many as the face of Likud’s future leadership. That future may come in this election, or in a different one, but that day is definitely heading our way.
The second campaign we are running – simultaneously – is for the Likud Knesset list. In Israel, on national election day, every citizen 18 and over gets a chance to cast one vote – not for a person – but for a political party. At the rate things are currently going, there will be around 35 political parties to choose from. Each party must state the exact list of names that appear on their election-day slate and they do this in different ways. The Haredi parties have their slate set by their Rabbonim. Other parties, such as the new Moshe Kahlon party, have one person who controls everything and he – and ONLY he – decides who is on that list and in what position. Likud, as well as a few others, actually hold primaries so that all members of that specific party can vote on primary day for the Knesset list. These members decide who will be #2 on the list, who will be #3, who will be #4 and so on… This is the second campaign we are running – the one where we want Moshe Feiglin to be somewhere on the Likud Knesset list in the top ten.
These 2 campaigns; the first one which will determine the head of the party (which is #1 on the list) plus the second one for the “lineup” of the Knesset list will be held in a few weeks. About 100,000 people have the right to vote since they are members of Likud. Just like in the USA when you need to be a member of the Democratic party (for example) to vote in the Democratic primaries in your state, here in Israel you must be a member of Likud (for example) to vote in the Likud primaries. As stated above, just 100,000 have that right and these people will determine who will lead Likud and who will be in the Knesset on behalf of Likud in the coming years.
Exciting, hard-working, long-hour days are headed our way as we campaign across the country with Moshe Feiglin. My comfort in these long days is that our Rabbis have said that every 4 steps taken in the Land of Israel is a mitzvah so by the time this is over, our 40 MILLION steps will serve us well. With Hashem’s help we will reach our goals in the election and bring new leadership to the State of Israel. Please follow our campaign and get involved! Our special campaign website is:www.MFLikud.com

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