Sunday, January 29, 2006

Meet The Parties

The AACI, in conjunction with the JPost held a meet-the-parties event at the Great Synagogue tonight. Almost all the parties were represented. First a representative from each party spoke and then there was question and answers after. I couldnt stay for the question and answer, but it was very interesting to hear each party represented.
Labor went first. Collete Avital spoke. First she said that Hamas does not recognize Israel, and we will not negotiate with them. Then she went on about their socioeconomic policies. improving the education system, including higher education, fighting poverty, raising minimum wage to $1000/month (currently its about $730/month.), and putting in health reforms. "People are dying because they can't afford medication. Cancer patients wither away in front of us because they dont have the money for treatments. This should be happening in a Jewish State."
NRP spoke with joy about the downfall of Shinui. They went from the third largest party with 15 seats and are now for all intents and purposes disbanded. The NRP joined them in a coalition even though they were attacked for it because they knew someone needed to be there to balance out their hatred of all things religious. Said Shabbat needs to stay a day of rest, with everthing closed except entertainment and cultural things. He said whats inportant isnt just that Hamas is in power, but what brought it to power?
Likud was represented by Knesset Member Naomi Blumenthal. She went on a rant about how bad Kadima is, a party with no platform, how bad disengagement was, how she stood up and cried against Oslo, how bad Kadima is, and to vote for Likud. She said nothing about what Likud stands for, except that they are against disengagement, Kadima, and Oslo.
Yisrael Beytenu was represented by Yuri Shtern. The representative spoke a very accented English and it was very hard for me to understand him. He said Hamas is a death threat to us, the rest I couldnt hear.
Meretz was very interesting. A Charaidi women represented them, saying that there has been a lot of speculation in the news if she is really religious or charaidi, and that is no one's business what her religious affliliation is. She was very articulate. She knew she was in a hostile crowd when she got booed during her introduction for being a part in making the Geneva Accords. She said her number one interest is a Jewish Democratic State. For that to happen we need to fully disnengage from the Palestinians so as not to lose our Jewish identity. We have to think ahead for our children and the future of this state. Jews, as a nation, have been known to be very humanistic. We led the fight for civil rights in America. We have to also grant our neighbors their civil rights. Currently, Hamas does not recognize Israel, and we will not talk to them. But if they change their stance, we can negotiate with t hem also (she got a lot of booes for that as well) . she then pointed out that if we cannot totally cut ourselves off from them. If we cut their electricity, for whatever reason, then patients will die in their hospitals. We have to understand that our futures are tied together.
Moledet was represented by an American, Uri Bank. He said we are a Jewish Democratic State (I think that was the number one repeated line) and that, with all respect to our neighbors, we need to first and foremost protect ourselves. Netanyahu shook hands with Arafat at the White House. We need Moledet, and the whole Ichud Leumi, to stand guard. He also hinted at a possible joining up of Ichud Leumi and NRP. (it's been discussed a lot but hasnt gone anywhere)
Shas had an Ashkanazi lady get up and speak. She picked up a jar of gefilte fish, and said, why is a lady like me, who eats gefilte fish, voting for Shas, the Sephardi party? Because of (and she picked up) chocolate milk in a bag. Then she told a story of how her kid was the only Ashkanazi in a Sephardi school in Be'er Sheva that was veyr poorly run and for fun the kids would throw chocolate milk bags at each other. then Shas opened a school in the neighborhood, and she saw the change in the kids who went there. She was very impressed how these kids went from little anarchists to little tzaddikim. The Shas girls schools all score very well in national tests, the guys school need to be fixed a bit, but they dont do too bad. Also, there is a program for illiterate soldiers, and 98% of them are Sephardi. Shas schools stop that.
Kadima had economist Dan Ben David speak. He said that since the 70's Israel has been in a decline in terms of standard of living, poverty, and social gaps. He has a plan to fix this, which he presented to Labor, but they rejected it, but Kadima is making it part of their platform. Then they went to questions and I left.


Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

If this "economist" were right, then Israel would not be ranked as the 20th country in the world with the highest standards of living. We're ahead of the States. I guess Kadima's hopping on the anti-poverty campaign band-wagon.

4:36 PM  

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