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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Turkey Warns Citizens Against Travel to United States Due to Violent Protests

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

Turkey has warned its citizens against traveling to the United States in an advisory on the website of its Foreign Ministry posted Saturday.

The warning comes in the wake of the coast-to-coast protests by supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton that have taken place in some two dozen major American cities following Tuesday’s election of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States.

The ministry said in its warning, “It has been understood from protesters’ social media accounts that the protests will continue for a while.”

The ministry also advised Turkish citizens to be “calm” about possible “xenophobia and racist abuse” and to “contact local security forces in the event of such incidents.”

Turkish media has been closely watching events in the United States.

“In Indianapolis, some protesters began chanting threats including “Kill the Police,” and officers moved in to arrest seven demonstrators. Police briefly fired pepper balls into the crowd during the confrontation,” reported the Hurriyet Daily News.

“Protesters rallied at New York’s Union Square before taking their cause up Fifth Avenue toward Trump Tower, where they were held back by police barricades. The Republican president-elect was holed up inside his tower apartment, working with aides on the transition to the White House.

“Among those railing against him was filmmaker Michael Moore, who tweeted a demand that Trump ‘step aside.'”

The new president-elect was reported to be “making some headway in forming a new administration.”

Hana Levi Julian

Israel is the Sane, Stable Democracy

Friday, November 11th, 2016

{Posted to the author’s eponymous website}

What can one say about the ghastly US presidential election campaign that is (thankfully!) coming to an end next week? That we cry for America, the greatest nation on the face of this earth, which is self-immolating; sunk by candidates who are insincere, uncouth, and unprincipled.

The crude campaigns of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton leave the US badly divided along the lines of race, economic status, and political ideology; with dark forces of intolerance dominating every talk show and rally. Alas, there is almost no discussion of important policy issues in a world where US leadership acutely is being challenged.

What can we say? Say this: In comparative perspective, Israel seems like the sane, stable democracy these days!

Consider the situation in America to the situation in Israel on almost any foreign or domestic issue, and you’re forced to admit that, heck, Israel is in a better place.

To begin with, perhaps Israel’s system of government – long maligned – is more satisfying and representative. Voters here in Israel have more than two binary choices for leader of the country. Don’t tens of millions of Americans wish that they had a serious third party candidate to vote for this year?

And for all the rough and tumble nature of Israeli party politics, hasn’t the cutthroat, populist primary system in America disappointed Republicans and Democrats alike?

By the way, Israel had a female leader (Golda Meir) more than forty years ago, while in America they’re still arguing about the glass ceiling and wondering whether a woman can be trusted with the highest office in the land.

It’s true that Israel hasn’t had a black, or a Sephardic, prime minister, while America has elected an African-American as president twice. But given the ongoing and escalating race riots in US inner cities, I’m not sure that America has too much to brag about in this field. In any case, Jews from Arab lands have served as Israel’s military chief-of-staff, defense minister, and president, as well as Supreme Court justices.

As for the quality of candidates for national leader: I bet you Americans would bus themselves in droves to the polling stations in order to vote for Benjamin Netanyahu if he was running as a third candidate in this US election!

Now consider the language used in campaigns. Here, Israeli politicians regularly accuse each other of fascism and corruption, which is bad enough. But no-one mixes female hygiene, the size of male organs, and other deplorables into political discourse.

Nobody in Israel has questioned the integrity of our electoral system either, even when the result was decided by a hairbreadth; for example, when Binyamin Netanyahu edged Shimon Peres out of office in 1996 by less than one percent of the vote. Nobody claimed that this was “rigged,” and nobody threatened to reject the result of the vote.

Israel’s prosecutors have actually put corrupt politicians behind bars, including a president, prime minister, finance and interior minister, and more. They didn’t cover-up and close the books on crimes akin to “extreme carelessness” in handling “very sensitive, highly classified information that possibly was accessed by hostile actors” – which is what the FBI did this year.

MORE IMPORTANT than the above is the fact that Israel has charted for itself intelligent courses in foreign and domestic policy; which is far more than can be said of the US in the Barack Obama era and likely beyond. Furthermore, such issues are actually debated intensely in Israeli elections campaigns, whereas the 2016 US presidential campaign has been dominated by personal insults and peccadilloes, not policy.

Israel has a working national health system that, for all its problems, is the envy of most countries in the world. Everybody benefits from quite comprehensive mandatory coverage. Obama’s health reforms have been a disaster, yet neither presidential candidate has bothered to present a realistic plan to fix things.

Israel built a fence to keep millions of illegal immigrants from Africa from flooding into the country through Sinai, and passed several iterations of tough yet humanitarian immigration/deportation law that have been debated at length in parliament and the highest court. It’s a controversial policy area that has been met head-on by intelligent debate and determined government action.

And in the US? Beyond Trump lazy, hazy and haphazard Mexican wall idea, neither he nor his opponent have offered any realistic approaches to dealing with immigration issues.

There is a serious and worthy debate underway in Israel about the direction, composition, and scope of powers of the Supreme Court. The justice minister is also seeking to reform the selection process for justices, in an above-board and open process that will involve give-and-take between conservatives and liberals.

In the US however, the Supreme Court has become an ultimate political football, with presidents unabashedly yanking it left and right, and the fiercely partisan Congress flat-out blocking presidential appointments just because.

Who has handled relations with Russia better in recent years, Netanyahu or Obama? The Israeli prime minister has managed a difficult situation with Russian fighters flying on our northern border, backing our enemies – without incident; while the American president has completely botched his ballyhooed “reset” with Moscow, and let Putin muscle into Eastern Europe and the Mideast.

Who has done a better job of setting down red lines regarding the conflict in Syria? With determination, Netanyahu has telegraphed the limits of what Israel can tolerate north of its borders, keeping Hizballah and Iran at bay for now. He quietly and smartly has used humanitarian diplomacy with rebel groups to safeguard the border too. Obama on the other hand, wimply whimpered down from the red lines he himself loudly had set regarding chemical weapons and other war crimes in Syria, leaving America with little credibility or clout.

Who has more allies now in the Arab world, Israel or the US? The Egyptians, Jordanians, Saudis and other Gulfies today tacitly rely on Netanyahu’s acumen and security assistance more than they count on Obama’s. Only the mullahs in Iran have a better relationship with the White House than they do with the Israeli prime minister’s office; and the Obama-Rouhani nuclear accord ain’t a great feather in America’s cap.

This listing of America’s woes and foibles, and the comparison to Israel’s relative resiliencies, is not meant to gloat. It is with sorrow that I chronicle the yanking of America off its solid policy moorings by an outlier president, and its sullying by a loutish election campaign.

I weep for America and wish it a refuah shleima; a speedy and full recovery. The world needs America to bounce back, and I am praying that it will.

But the contrast detailed here should instill some modesty in American politicians and pundits (and Jewish community leaders) who are quick to lecture Israel about what it must do on a range of external and internal matters. Hey, American friends, get your act together before hectoring Israel.

Also published in The Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom

David Weinberg

Iranian President Mocks US Elections, Favors Own Brand of Democracy

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani on Sunday mocked both major party presidential candidates in the US elections, criticizing their behavior during their recent debates. “Did you see the debate and the way of their speaking, accusing and mocking each other?” Rouhani asked an audience in the city of Arak, in a speech that was broadcast on national TV. He added contemptuously, “Do we want such a democracy in our country? Do we want such elections in our country?”

Iran’s own presidential election will take place in May 2017, and Rouhani is likely to run for a second term. Any Iranian citizen born in Iran, who believes in God and Islam, who has always been loyal to the Constitution and is above 21 years of age may register as a presidential candidate. The Election Monitoring Agency (EMA), which is managed by the Guardian Council vets registered candidates and decides who may run (36,000 candidates signed up to run in 2009). No women have ever been approved by the EMA. It is doubtful either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would have been approved, even if they had agreed to embrace Islam…

The minimum voting age in Iran is 15.

“You see the United States that claims it has had democracy for more than 200 years,” Rouhani said, encouraging his audience to “look at the country, what the situation is where morality has no place.”

Rouhani said that last September, when he attended the UN General Assembly in New York, he was asked which of the candidates he preferred, and answered, “Should I prefer bad to worse or worse to bad?”

Iranian state TV broadcast two complete debates between Trump and Clinton and has been closely following the campaign, using the candidates’ statements as fodder for anti-US observations. They were particularly unhappy with candidate Trump’s declaration in September, after Iranian naval vessels repeatedly shifted close to American warships in a harassing and unsafe manner, that when “they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats, and they make gestures at our people, that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, they will be shot out of the water.”

JNi.Media

Justice Minister Shaked Issues Manifesto on Jewish Democracy, Based on the Teachings of Chief Justice Barak

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

“The Knesset is attempting to legislate away our lives and the High Court is invading territory to which it is not entitled,” declares Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), in a lengthy but exciting essay in the inaugural issue of Hashiloach, an Israeli Journal on thought and policy. The essay, titled “Tracks toward Governing” (the Hebrew title is a play on words between Mesilot-tracks and Meshilut-governance), suggests that the behavior of some of Israel’s branches of government is threatening individual freedoms as well as the ability of elected officials to govern. Shaked is urging a return, as soon as possible, to the proper governing on the proper tracks, from within Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state.

“Good governance is not a blind force, certainly not a strong but silent engine,” writes Shaked, stressing that “the ability to carry out goals in the way they have been defined is a prerequisite condition for good governance, but is far from being sufficient in itself: good governance is measured above anything else by the ability of government ministers to establish their own goals.”

“A politician who knows how to bring the train to its destination, but is unable to set the destination, as senior as he may be — is not governing but merely subcontracting; he may have been appointed Minister, and he may get to cut ribbons in the end, but he is nothing more than a contractor,” Shaked argues. “To move down a track laid down by others does not require leaders; any driver could do it just fine. The essence of governance is always setting down directions and posting goals. This requires of elected officials to lay down new tracks only after they had decided for themselves where they would like to take the train.”

Shaked asserts that every time the Knesset votes in favor of any given law, it is also voting against the freedom of individuals to take care of their issues on their own. She calls it a vote of no confidence in the autonomy of communities and individuals. Indeed, as Chair of the Ministerial Legislative Committee, Shaked laments that she has processed more than 1,500 legislative proposals, from amendments to existing laws to fully realized, new bills. Suggesting the Knesset is by far the most prolific parliament in the entire Western world, Shaked describes this abundance of new laws as a hospital that’s being built underneath a broken bridge to care for the people who fall off.

Referring to economist Milton Friedman’s impressions following his visit to Israel in the 1960s, when he predicted that the historic spirit of Jewish freedom would eventually overcome the newly bred spirit of Socialist bureaucracy in Israel, Shaked admits she’s not so sure Friedman was right. “Without our firm push on the brake pedal of this locomotive, week in and week out, those legislative proposals would have created for us an alternative reality, in which government controls the citizens through the regulation of more and more economic sectors, with the individual being left with precious little freedom to manage his own affairs.”

Shaked provides several examples whereby proposed legislation would have, for instance, created a world in which a landlord would be forbidden to raise the rent for several years. Of course, rents would soar on the eve of this new law going into effect, followed by a loss of interest on the part of investors in creating new rental stock, leading to a drop in available apartments and, of course, another rise in rents. It would also be a world in which employers must comply with pensions set by the legislator, until, of course, they go bankrupt. And a world in which police would be bound by a two-strike law that compels them to arrest any individual against whom someone has filed two complaints. Running down some of these “bizarre” proposals, as she calls them, Shaked eventually describes a proposal to compel the state to solve terrorism by distributing bulletproof vests to every citizen against knife attacks, as well as a proposal to eliminate the reference in the law to “Beit Av,” which is the Biblical term for Household, because it has a reference to a father rather than to a mother.

Shaked reports that she requested, for the 2017-18 budget, that the ministerial committee would no longer consider bills that add new criminal offenses to the law books, without a thorough investigation of similar legislation in other countries, of the ramifications of the new criminal law on the books in Israel’s society, and, most important — of existing, non-criminal alternatives.

Alongside the need to restrain the legislator, Shaked sees a dire need to restrain Israel’s expansionist Judiciary. She notes an ongoing war between the Supreme Court and the executive branch, which necessitates the passing of a new constitutional-level legislation (Foundation Laws in Israel’s system) to regulate once and for all this combative relationship. She cites several cases in which government was blocked by the high court in areas that are clearly the executive’s domain, such as the law regulating the treatment of illegal infiltrators from Africa, and the government contract with natural gas companies to exploit Israel’s rich deposits.

Shaked laments the fact that the Supreme Court so often usurps the right to kill an entire legislation, as if it had appointed itself the 121st Knesset Member (or more than that, since it so frequently joins with the opposition parties to defeat a majority coalition). She has no problem with individuals seeking remedy in the lower courts to damages they claim to have suffered from, say, the new gas contract. That’s a legitimate use of the court system. But how can the unelected high court delete an entire legislation passed by elected officials? Who, after all is said and done, is the sovereign, the people or their appointed judges?

As a result, the art of politics in Israel is practiced as follows, according to Shaked: first the different parties vie for the voter’s trust; then, in the Knesset, the coalition negotiates with and fights against the opposition over a proposed bill; finally, after the bill was passed, the opposition parties appeal it before the Supreme Court, which reverses it. That, in a nutshell, was the story of the natural gas bill earlier this year.

JNi.Media

Burkini Bans and Jewish Democracy

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

The ban on wearing burkinis at the beach, which was recently enacted by some 30 French municipalities and even won support from French Prime Minister Manual Valls, was rightly deemed an unconstitutional infringement on several fundamental liberties by France’s highest court this weekend. Yet the French controversy highlights something about Israel that is too often overlooked: the degree to which being a Jewish state, far from undermining Israel’s democracy, actually reinforces it.

The burkini ban was enacted in explicit reaction to Islamist terror attacks in France and the concerns they have raised about the integration of the country’s Muslim minority. As Christian Estrosi, the deputy mayor of Nice, told the New York Times, these full-body swimsuits, worn mainly by religious Muslims, constitute “unacceptable provocations in the very particular context that our city is familiar with,” referring to a July 14 terror attack that killed 86 people.

Yet Israel has suffered far worse Islamist terror and over a far longer period of time. Terror attacks in France have killed 234 people over the last 18 months, according to one British newspaper’s tally. That is just over half the 452 Israelis killed by terror during the single worst year of the second intifada (2002). And since France’s population is 7.6 times the size of Israel’s, that means that as a proportion of the population, Israel’s losses during that one year–without even mentioning all its losses to terrorism in other years–were almost 15 times as large as France’s have been over the past 18 months.

Moreover, as a proportion of the total population, Israel’s Muslim community is much larger than that of France. Muslims comprise an estimated 7.5 percent of France’s population, but almost 20 percent of Israel’s population–and that’s counting only Israeli citizens and legal residents, i.e. the Muslims who would still be there even if Israel quit the West Bank tomorrow.

Finally, though Israel’s Muslim population has largely shunned terror, its leadership is actually far more radical than France’s Muslim leadership seems to be. Israeli Arab Knesset members openly back anti-Israel terror organizations, actively incite to anti-Israel terror, and tirelessly libel Israel overseas. The head of one of the country’s largest nongovernmental Muslim groups–Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, which has tens of thousands of supporters–routinely spews anti-Semitic blood libels such as accusing Jews of baking matzo with Christian blood. And all that is without even mentioning the Palestinian leadership in the territories, where both the main political parties, Fatah and Hamas, routinely deem killing Israelis to be their main accomplishment.

In other words, if any country were going to lash out in response to Islamist terror by restricting Muslims’ freedom to observe their religion in public, one would expect it to be Israel, not France. But in Israel, no one has ever even suggested banning burkinis. Nor has anyone ever suggested forbidding civil students or schoolgirls to wear headscarves, as stipulated by other French laws that the courts have upheld. Nor has anyone ever suggested barring mosques from building minarets–a law approved by popular referendum in Switzerland, even though that country has so far no had no Islamic terror problem at all.

Clearly, Israel’s religious tolerance can’t be attributed solely to its democratic norms. After all, France and Switzerland have impeccable democratic credentials, but that hasn’t stopped either from passing anti-Muslim laws. Nor is it because Israeli Arabs are a powerful enough minority to prevent such legislation: Arab Knesset members’ anti-Israel positions make them unacceptable as coalition partners in any government, and they would actually have no power to block anything the coalition majority wanted to pass. And it certainly isn’t because Israelis are saints who remain serenely forgiving of Arab terror and anti-Israel incitement; there’s plenty of anti-Arab sentiment in Israel.

Rather, the main reason why Israel never has and never would consider legislation like France’s bans on burkinis and headscarves is precisely because it is a Jewish state. In other words, it was created to take Jewish interests into account, and those interests include the freedom to observe traditional Jewish praxis. But the moment a democratic country starts making allowances for one religion’s traditions, those allowances inevitably spill over to other religions as well.

For instance, Israel could never ban headscarves in the civil service, because religious Jewish women also wear head coverings. It could never ban modest swimwear because religious Jews also insist on modest clothing. It could never ban minarets because the analogy to banning synagogues would be all too apparent. In contrast, France and Switzerland can do all those things, because they have no interest in accommodating any religion in the public square.

In short, Israel’s identity as both a Jewish and a democratic state is the main reason why Islamist terror has never prompted the kind of anti-Muslim legislation that it has in secular democratic France. So the next time someone tells you Israel’s Jewish identity is inherently at odds with its democratic identity, remember the burkini. And remember that sometimes, Israel’s Jewish identity is precisely what protects its democratic one.

Evelyn Gordon

The Real Threat to Israeli Democracy

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Commentary Magazine website}

After a year of talking about it, the Knesset has finally passed a watered-down version of its controversial NGO law. The vote has unleashed a torrent of criticism from left-wing critics of the Netanyahu government, defenders of the NGO’s who are targeted by the bill, and the European governments whose funding of these groups is at the heart of the controversy. For its supporters, the bill is a long overdue attempt to expose an ill-intentioned effort to undermine Israeli self-defense and back Palestinian attacks on the Jewish state. Opponents consider it a blow to Israeli democracy and an attempt to suppress dissent. But for all of the hot air and ink expended on this topic, the truth is that it is really neither.

What exactly does the bill that finally passed the Knesset do? The short answer to that is not much. The sum total of its impact on affected groups is to marginally increase requirements about transparency. Non-profit groups that receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments must now include a disclaimer of the sources of their support in all communications much like the warnings on cigarette packs. That’s it. In the end, a much-criticized provision of one of its original drafts that would have required representatives of such groups to wear an ID badge noting their status (something that is required on Capitol Hill and most state legislatures in the U.S.) was dropped. They aren’t prevented from receiving such funds and their activities are not in any way restricted.

All of which is to say that the effort expended on debating the bill seems like a tremendous waste of time for both sides. But it would be wrong to merely dismiss the topic as much ado about nothing. The issue isn’t a meaningless bill but how one feels about foreign-funded left-wing groups that work to oppose Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the West Bank as well as to buttress Palestinian claims of ill treatment at the hand of the Jewish state. The issue here is democracy but not the right-wing conspiracy to suppress dissent alleged by the left. Rather, it is an understandable backlash from the center-right majority about the efforts of the Israeli left to leverage foreign backing in order to make up for the fact that it has been marginalized at home.

Of the 27 groups that would be affected by it, 25 are left-wing advocacy groups. But many more groups supported by the political right are not touched by it because they get their foreign funding from private donors or foundations. The modern Jewish state was built in large measure on foreign donations largely raised by Diaspora Jews for philanthropies like the Jewish National Fund. As J.J. Goldberg also notes in the Forward, there is also nothing unusual foreign governments funding NGOs. The U.S. and other Western governments have been supporting NGOs around the world that promote cultural exchanges and democracy ever since World War II. So what’s the real issue here?

The problem with the NGOs in question is that, unlike the sorts of groups that get U.S. funding in Eastern Europe or Asia, the Israeli left is not really interested in promoting democracy. Their basic goal is to delegitimize the Jewish presence in parts of the country and to undermine the efforts of the government and the army to keep tabs on and to suppress Palestinian terrorism. The funding they get from the European Union and other largely hostile foreign governments is not about making Israel more democratic. It’s about building support for pressure on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians, to undermine its claims to disputed territory and to handicap its counter-terrorism work, as the support for the anti-Israel Defense Forces group called Breaking the Silence attests.

Israelis are free to support those positions and some do. But their problem is that while the majority of Israelis may not be happy with the current stalemate with the Palestinians, they also view Western pressure to force their country into more suicidal territorial retreats as unreasonable and unfair given the intransigent nature of the Palestinian Authority and its Hamas rivals. Moreover, they view groups like Breaking the Silence and others like them as crossing the line between loyal opposition into sympathy for their country’s avowed enemies. They also keep electing Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners and have relegated left-wing parties that sympathize with the NGOs to marginal status. So the left must rely on foreign governments rather than Israelis or even Diaspora Jewish donors to keep their groups going. If most Israelis, including the majority that elected the current government as well as some opposition parties that are equally hostile to groups like Breaking the Silence, resent such efforts, who can blame them?

So while the NGO bill does nothing, the arguments about foreign funding are about something important: respecting democracy. Right-wingers who obsess about foreign involvement in Israel’s affairs are a bit hypocritical since their side also benefits from money raised elsewhere. But the Israeli left needs to stop looking abroad for support they can’t find at home. They should concentrate their efforts on persuading Israelis, not the EU, to back their positions. Until they do, they will remain a permanent and increasingly unpopular minority. And that is something that no legislation can save them from.

Jonathan S. Tobin

New US-Funded PA Reality Show Teaches Candidates How to Buy Votes to Win Elections

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

And ……. we’re back! Cast your ballot for the candidate of YOUR choice for only 80 cents, voters! Who will become the NEXT.President.of.PALESTINE!’

Sound a little weird?

Well yeah, maybe, but this wildly popular reality television show, ‘The President’ has been going on for two seasons now here in the Middle East, and it’s the closest thing to real elections that Arabs in the Palestinian Authority have had in more than a decade.

PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has made sure of that, after having been “elected” 11 years ago. His presumed five year term hasn’t ended yet.

This show, is being broadcast on the Ma’an satellite network, funded primarily by a U.S. State Department grant to the NGO ‘Search for Common Ground.’ It was originally aired in 2013, and supported by a two-year grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The show reaches viewers in PA-controlled areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza as well as elsewhere in the Arab world. And it has an impact, quietly teaching the concepts of how a democratic election really operates.

In the first season, 1,200 candidates ages 25–35 from Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and Israel auditioned to compete in an elimination-style series of trials designed to test their political skills. They were called upon to act as a PA ambassador in a foreign country, managing a large corporation for a day, answering hard-hitting questions on live TV on various political, social, and economic issues affecting Palestinians, exhibiting sufficient self-discipline to be “on-call” and “on-message” 24/7 while on the campaign trail, and keeping their cool in an intense, televised political debate.

In this second season which just culminated this past Thursday (Congratulations to Wa’ad Qannam!), 24 contestant were winnowed out from 1,200 people who sat down to take a series of exams on politics in the Palestinian Authority, international law, development and gender equality.

It’s also an unparalleled learning opportunity for the contestants: at the end of each week the competitors must face a panel of judges to explain what they learned after having shadowed a PA minister or business leader for the entire week prior — and then also tell the judges how they would improve on their “mentor’s” performance.

Both male and female candidates run in the election for leadership and hold rallies while cameras are rolling.

(The top three political platforms this season: Boycott Israel, seize half of Jerusalem for the capital of ‘Palestine’ and reconcile the two estranged ‘halves’ of the PA — Hamas-controlled Gaza with Ramallah-controlled parts of Judea and Samaria.)

The audience is drawn from viewers who can vote via text message at 80 cents per text. Votes from judges and the audience determine who make it from one round to the next – but it’s only the audience who decides in the finale.

Because there are no caps on how many times a voter can send a text, money plays a big part in how far a candidate can get.

A NY Times article pointed out exactly how much money a number of the candidates paid to buy votes to better guarantee their democratic victory. One candidate’s family complained that 24,000 votes they bought and had receipts for had disappeared.

Just like in a real third world kleptocracy.

The point of the show is to groom young citizens in the Palestinian Authority to take on leadership roles in the future, NGO co-director Suheir Rasul told the Associated Press.

Ma’an general director Ra’ed Othman called the show “a message for the Palestinian leadership,” and said bluntly, “Elections are the solution. Democracy is the solution.”

However you get your votes.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/eye-on-palestine/mr-president-we-want-you-new-arab-reality-tv-show/2016/06/05/

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