Israeli politicians should stop copying the US election model

People cast their ballot at a voting station in Jerusalem, during the Knesset Elections, on March 2, 2020. (Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

By Gary Schiff

Political strategists in the United States who were working against the Trump administration deduced that the best way to be victorious in November was to stay away from issues and focus on personality. They were successful.

Fifty-six percent of then-candidate Joe Biden’s voters said that the main reason they voted for him was because he was not President Donald Trump. Only 9 percent polled by Pew said that their vote had to do with Biden’s positions.

Some of those same U.S. strategists, such as the Lincoln Project, which until recently had been advising Israeli New Hope Party leader Gideon Sa’ar’s campaign, are trying to steer Israeli voters away from issues as well, thus reinforcing the “anybody but Bibi [Netanyahu]” camp that has been gaining momentum since the first round of Knesset elections nearly two years ago.

The main issue that heads of parties are being asked by Israel’s mainstream media is: “Will you serve in a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or not?”

Hopefully, Israeli voters will see through this ruse and focus on issues of major import to the nation’s future.

What are these issues? Where do the current candidates stand on them? If they want us to hire them to lead the government, they need to answer the following questions:

• How do you plan to stand up to the existential threat of a potential nuclear, terrorist-supporting Iran, in light of overtures to Tehran from the Biden administration?

• What is your plan to proactively stop Palestinian incitement to the murder of Jews, and what will you do to prevent the “creation of the next terrorist,” rather than waiting to pay the next shivah call?

• How will you require or encourage greater haredi participation in the military or, alternatively, in community service? Are you willing to meet with the haredi leadership to try and resolve this and other issues?

• What is your view of the judicial system and its rulings, and what about the introduction of jury trials?

• What is your plan for the communities of Judea and Samaria? Do you believe in applying civil law, without the need for the military to be involved, in minor expansion plans? Will you take action to protect against ongoing encroachments by the Palestinian Authority? Does your long-term vision include the principles of the Oslo Accord principles or not?

• What can you do to lower the cost of housing?

• What is your plan to broaden the Abraham Accords?

• What is your position on upholding Torah values? Do you support imitating the U.S. when it comes to “gender fluidity”?

• How will you manage the COVID-19 crisis? Do you favor increasing or reducing restrictions in the near future?

If Israeli voters knew where Netanyahu, Sa’ar, Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett, Yesh Atid Party chairman Yair Lapid, Shas Party chairman Aryeh Deri and Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich stood on these and other issues, they would be able to make an intelligent decision.

A campaign is a job interview. Tell us why we should hire you. Israeli voters must demand what Americans did not.

Gary Schiff is a resource consultant connecting Israel and the United States.

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