The Hebrew name for former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni’s new party was the result
of strategic research.
Hatnua Birshut Tzipi Livni, literally The Movement
Headed by Tzipi Livni, was chosen because: A) It is hard for the public to
digest the name of yet another new party so close to the January 22 election; B)
the brand name Tzipi Livni is known and relatively respected; and C) the word
“party” has negative connotations in Hebrew that the word “movement”
The strategists overlooked Hebrew slang in which “the movement”
refers to giving someone a middle finger. The people naming the former foreign
minister’s party also did not consider what it should be called in
At first, The Jerusalem Post website and wire services simply
translated Livni’s list’s name and called it “The Movement.”
resulted in unbecoming, scatological jokes on Facebook and Twitter about bowel
When Livni’s strategists were informed of this, they suggested
that it be called “Hatnua” in English, which would have tongue-tied foreign
observers of the party. But they ultimately agreed on The Tzipi Livni Party, and
the Post website was updated accordingly.
The strategists decided on the
name because the word “party” has no negative connotations in English, and their
goal was to highlight Livni. After all, in politics, an eponymous name beats an
They pointed out that former prime minister Yitzhak
Rabin’s name had been added to the name of the Labor Party in the 1992 election
in which the party came to power.
But some English-speakers had a hard
time accepting the name “The Tzipi Livni Party.”
One foreign media outlet
called Livni’s associates in disbelief because they thought it belonged to a
dictatorship like in North Korea.
In Judaism, names of individuals are
said to reflect their character and essence. This is also sometimes true of
parties, especially Kadima, which literally means forward, but has deeper
connotations of impatience.
If The Tzipi Livni Party becomes a one-woman
show, chances are it won’t last long.
Livni’s failure to get Center- Left
parties to merge and her failure to attract senior socioeconomic and security
figures are bad omens.
Her party could have gotten a big boost from
Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, who chaired the committee formed to respond to
the 2011 summer protests, or former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Shlomo
Yanai, who built up Teva’s annual earnings from $8.4 billion to $22b. in five
But both rejected her invitations to run with her.
course, there is still time for Livni to attract big names and prove that she
can work with them better than she did with her former colleagues.
lists do not have to be submitted to the central election committee until next
Thursday night, and a week is an eternity in Israeli politics.
Livni succeeds at that challenge will she be able to move in the right direction
on the long road toward the sought-after title of Gvirti Rosh Hamemshala – Mrs.