| The Rose Report |

Loud, Viral, and Fresh

Latest polls show the upside surprise of this election could be Israel’s most disruptive politician — Itamar Ben-Gvir

Israel has caught the same political virus that’s infected the anti-Trump crowd in America. It’s called “anyone but Bibi.”

The same party leaders who vowed to boycott Netanyahu in the last election have doubled up on that platform for the upcoming November 1 vote. Due to the quirks in Israel’s parliamentary system, they were able to paste together a shatnez coalition for one year, but the seams unraveled quickly. Despite their failure, they are trying to sew the tattered rags back together, led by Yair Lapid, who now thinks he’s a war hero after a three-day fight with Islamic Jihad, and Benny Gantz, who has realigned his party for the sixth time since entering politics in 2018.

The polls show Israelis aren’t buying it. Three weeks remain until the deadline for parties to finalize their slates. The latest polls show the upside surprise of this election could be Israel’s most disruptive politician — Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Ben-Gvir’s split from Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionist faction is not final until it’s final. But Ben-Gvir is encouraged by polling that shows him winning seven seats if he runs alone, compared to just five for Smotrich.

Ben-Gvir’s political manifesto calls for the death penalty for terrorists, deporting their supporters, and legal immunity for soldiers and police for actions performed in the line of duty. Ben-Gvir’s party, Otzma Yehudit, which could be translated as Jewish Fortitude, also supports declaring sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and reinstituting courses in Tanach in public schools.

These positions are the exact opposites of the policies embraced and endorsed by the present government. Ha’aretz reported last week that beginning with the new school year, high school students will no longer learn “politically incorrect” topics such as the Babylonian exile; the Jews’ return to Eretz Yisrael after the exile; or anything about the Hasmonean and Bar Kochba rebellions. This decision was made by the same government that crafted a policy of appeasing Israel’s increasingly restive Arab population by incorporating an Islamist party into its coalition and budgeting 50 billion shekels to fight crime in Arab communities still run by clans.

The Times of Israel has labeled Ben-Gvir an “incendiary patriot” and “political provocateur.”

To rebrand himself, Ben-Gvir has retained Nebo Cohen, the CEO of C.I.Y. Global, a political strategy firm founded by former Mossad chief Danny Yatom. The firm employs behavioral scientists who nano-target small audiences with personally tailored messages.

On their website, they advertise their services to political candidates by saying: “We create your new voice. Loud, Viral, and Fresh.”

That’s today’s brand of politics, all over the world, whether we find it dignified or not.

You can tune it in or tune it out, but don’t expect the politicians and their handlers to tone it down.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 925)

Oops! We could not locate your form.