Israeli politics

For decades, Israeli was noted for its high voter turnout. Call it cynicism, disgust at continuous stories of corruption, or a reflection of the performance of political leaders, participation continues to fall away.

In February 2009, the country will be asked to trot off to their polling stations yet again. On the radio this morning, I heard two anecdotes, which indicate towards yet another lowish turnout.

First, last night, Channel 2 broadcast the final (thank goodness) episode of Israel’s version of “Big Brother”. The ratings were close to 40%, far more than that expecedfor the party political broadcasts next due shortly. More significant, the winner – a 28 year female – received around 2 million votes, way above any number a political party has ever received from the electorate.

You can decide for yourselves what this says about the two “groups”. I noted that the participants had been locked away for 107 days, about the same length as the election campaign. And I did not watch ANY of the former. A clear lesson for me for the rest of the campaign.

Story number 2 features the primaries for the Kadima party, led by Livni. Apparently, earlier this week, a fax was sent round, supposedly from a government minister and party prominent, Edri, asking people for his support. But the message was spelt out in a very tasteless manner.

The point? It was not just that it was obvious that Edri would not do such a deed. The guy, who sent the fax, relayed it to the world from his own home. So the sender’s own name and phone was on the letter, which he tried to frame Edri for!

Only 8 weeks to go. Now that the Big Brother house is empty, we could lock up all the politicians in there. Would you miss ’em?

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