'New media’ ahead of the pack on political drama

Late-night coalition deal was leaked by Likud MK Shama-Hacohen on his Facebook page.

By
May 9, 2012 01:04
3 minute read.
Youtube videos of Mofaz go viral

Video screenshot of Shaul Mofaz370. (photo credit: Screenshot)

 
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While traditional journalists continued to fume Tuesday over the national unity government arranged between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and newly elected Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz without their knowledge or input, citizen journalists and social media aficionados lapped up the political drama with creative online commentary.

Not to mention that Deputy Knesset Speaker Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud) leaked information about the deal on his Facebook page at about 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.

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“At 2 in the morning, suddenly the Likud Central Committee meeting is starting to get interesting….” he wrote.

Shortly afterward, Shama-Hacohen added that a “national unity coalition would make this government’s term stable.”

As newspapers clamored to reprint their front pages and broadcasters scrambled to make sense of the new political bedfellows and their future implications, citizens journalists and other new media addicts used social networking sites to made light of the events and provide commentary on its central characters.

Almost immediately on Tuesday, Hebrew Facebook group Status Chatter, which spotlights interesting status updates, reposted a March 3 Facebook update by Mofaz, which stated he would never join the current government.

His words and tone conveyed his opposition to joining forces with Netanyahu – “not today, not tomorrow.” This made the response to his political U-turn even more quizzical.

A short while later,  musician Noy Aloosh – who has become revered worldwide for his political commentary delivered via controversial remixes of well-known songs laced with speeches from political leaders – posted his latest: “Shaul Mofaz Hit: He’s a liar.”



Interspersed with a Black Eyed Peas track and other snippets from politicians condemning lies and corruption in the Knesset, the viral clip did not bode well for Israel’s newest cabinet member even though it received a lot of laughs.

Israelis also showed their sense of humor in dealing with the turmoil by posting a series of cleverly Photoshopped images commenting on the new political arrangement. One was a take on an advertisement for a comfortable black leather office chair: “An unprecedented sale for members of the Kadima party: Minister’s chair. An orthopedic chair made of elephant skin, particularly suitable for the spineless.”

Others who bore the brunt of online wisecracks also included journalist-turned- politician Yair Lapid, who recently formed his own Yesh Atid party and was gearing up for political success – had there been an election in September. His well-known face was skewered in a headshot, which was accompanied by a cartoon bubble caption reading: “What? B… bu… but… I am already….”

As the public mocking continued throughout the day, some politicians used social media networks to get their messages across to as many people as possible.

Following the Netanyahu-Mofaz press conference in the Knesset, Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich – who has more than 22,000 “likes” on her Facebook page – described it on her page as a “coalition of cowards.” Throughout the day, she used Facebook to reaffirm her intention to fight against the two ruling parties with gusto.

Lapid also took the opportunity to condemn the deal as a negative and old-fashioned political maneuver.

Meanwhile, both Netanyahu and Mofaz took the opportunity to promote their new-found partnership on Facebook. Mofaz, who is still learning the ropes of social media etiquette, posted a press release-type comment stating that the coalition will stabilize the country.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is apparently a big fan of social media networks and most recently got involved with the pictorial network Instagram. He posted a photograph of himself and his new friend Mofaz on both Facebook and his Instagram stream.

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