There are about 300 of you, Zehut International members, last I checked. (If you’re not one, click here now and you can vote in the December 17 primaries.) There are 3 of us campaigning for your vote for slot #10 on the Zehut Knesset list.
I’ve been in contact with Rav Spitz and David Sidman. They are both great candidates. There really isn’t much we disagree on substantively. So why vote for me?
When I went to the meeting at Zehut headquarters in Tel Aviv for all our Knesset candidates, we introduced ourselves, naturally. Most of us spoke briefly about our qualifications, what we want to do in the Knesset, what we want to accomplish and why, our backgrounds and such.
When we were all finished with our schpiels, Shmuel Sackett got up and said the following (paraphrasing). “I don’t care what your background is or what degrees you have or what your qualifications are. The only thing I want to know is this: How many votes can you bring to Zehut?”
That, of course, is the essential question.
Let’s put this starkly. Besides G-d, Zehut is Israel’s last hope. I firmly believe that. Because I have faith in G-d, I also firmly believe Zehut will succeed, because we have to. At the same time, we have to elect people who will bring the most votes possible to our party in order to succeed. It’s that dialectic between reliance on G-d and hishtadlus, making a real effort and doing our part.
I will bring the most votes to Zehut for two reasons, both of which play off the other. First, I have an insatiable need to tell the truth. I cannot stop myself. No matter how ugly the truth sounds or how crazy it makes me look or how much I know people do not want to hear it initially. I can’t even sugarcoat it in the most superficial way to make it sound better. When I try to dress the truth up and blunt the sharpness of my words to make them sound more pleasant to the political ear, it just doesn’t feel right and it sounds awkward coming off my tongue. I feel like it’s someone else talking when I try.
I can’t even use nice words to convince you to vote for me!
Second, I can’t stand politicians. I just cannot play their game. Go through the actual content of what any of them (except Moshe Feiglin) say, Right or Left, very carefully, and you’ll realize there is no substance to any of it. The same generalities over and over, spoken so you’ll feel nice and gooey and apply whatever beliefs you may have to the extremely loose and imprecise language they use. Whichever empty shell of a man is best at saying nothing but making you feel that your values are somehow contained within the absolute vacuum of nothingness he spouts off, is the man that wins and runs the country.
Benjamin Netanyahu is the absolute best at doing this. He’s Prime Minister, but nobody likes him.
I am the absolute antithesis of this. A vote for me means a vote for dropping an antipolitical bomb right into the heart of the Knesset.
Now, I fully understand that a man like me cannot lead Zehut. I’m too one-dimensional for that job. I should not be permitted on the front lines and will never vie for that position, because I understand it’s not for me. That’s Moshe’s job.
But Zehut needs a man like me to make headlines, to get up in the middle of the Knesset and say straight out with an acid tongue how much I disdain the place and the politicians in it. How everything they do, almost without exception, just makes all of our lives worse, desecrates the Name of God and embarrasses the Jewish People globally. I say what all of us think and feel but don’t want to say out loud because for many it causes despair. Not for me. It gives me hope, and it will rub off on voters.
The very first thing I will do in my inaugural speech as a Knesset Member is paint a big fat target on myself and tell the MKs that I am not a “Chaver Knesset“, meaning Knesset Member or literally “Friend of the Knesset.” Rather, I am an Enemy of Knesset and I am here to stop them from abusing the Jewish People.
I won’t even be addressing other MKs whenever I speak (excluding Zehut MKs of course). I will be talking directly to the Jewish People, the ones producing value in the economy, off whose work politicians live, so we can eat and live and survive. The victims of the political class and bureaucracy who get taxed and regulated and tazered at the Temple Mount for praying to HaKadosh Baruch Hu. The Jewish People who get bombed and killed by Arabs because the politicians are too cowardly to cut a deal with the Arabs to leave our land and finally end the war because it is the war that gives the politicians the perpetual power they love so much.
The politicians that take our children into Gaza and Lebanon to fight and die with no strategic goals whatsoever, using our kids as cannon fodder for their own political power so they can give sickening stump speeches taking advantage of our nationhood screaming Am Yisrael Chai while they have absolutely no plan to actually win anything. It drives me out…of…my…mind.
The solutions are not complicated. You just need to implement them. For example, say a rocket falls on Ashkelon from Gaza and hits a house. Simply pinpoint the exact area the rocket came from, expel the people living there within an X-mile radius, seize all their assets, and offer the property and assets to the victims of the rocket attack to do whatever they want with it. Simple criminal-victim restitution practiced everywhere.
My point is this. I do not believe there is much of a substantive difference between myself and my co-runners, at least not from what I can tell. Perhaps I’m wrong and of course I’ll let Rav Bentzi and David speak for themselves. The difference between us, I believe, is a matter of style.
I am shock value. Am Yisrael is drowning in a swamp of government. We need to get their votes, and in order to do so we need to get their attention. You don’t get a drowning people’s attention by lightly tapping them on the back as they’re sinking. You grab them, pull them, scream, and wake them up before they sink.
Why will my style get the most votes? Because at bottom, everyone who is not a politician or a bureaucrat in Israel, does disdain the Knesset and the government as a whole, just like me. I just have the ability, or perhaps handicap, of being absolutely unable to hide it.
Whenever Israelis speak of the place they roll their eyes at it. They’re embarrassed by it. I remember this from as far back as when I was a kid in sleep-away summer camp. The camp had Israelis come for the summer to introduce kids to Israel and its culture. One of them, I distinctly remember, and this was back in 2000 and he was a left-winger, was talking about the Knesset.
“You come out of that place embarrassed to be Jewish,” he said.
Yes. Israelis do feel this way. It’s a real thing. I will tap into that reality and give the people some release. I’m the one who is telling them that these feelings, these true negative feelings they have towards this place, are good. They’re OK. They’re correct. They can indulge in them. It means they’re normal.
I won’t be leading Zehut. I will be adding hot sauce to the party. Zehut needs its soft-spoken candidates for sure, but it also needs a flavor of righteous anger so that frustrated Israelis can look at Zehut and say, “There’s a party that has just had enough!” Nobody does that better than me.
What will keep my head straight? What ensures that I won’t become a politician myself? Because they’ll have nothing over me, nothing on me, no leverage. I won’t be taking a salary, I’ll drive my own car that I bought with my own money, and I won’t be seeking any special positions, committees, or anything. I don’t want any of that. I just want to talk to the Jewish People and tell them I’m on your side. I’m not taking any of your money. I am fighting for you. Now get up and fight with me.