‘Tea Party’ group meets in Tel Aviv

Israeli Kosher Tea group member says Israel has long pushed capitalism to a corner, Israelis are realizing we need a free market.

US Rep. presidential candidate Michele Bachmann 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)
US Rep. presidential candidate Michele Bachmann 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)
Around three dozen Americans and Israelis crowded into a conference room in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, for a roundtable discussion of the Israeli branch of America’s conservative Tea Party movement.
The participants, about half of whom were US citizens, some of whom were in town for the Glenn Beck rallies this week, sat around a table that included two plates of tea bags.
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Outside the room, there were a few posters of Atlas Shrugged author Ayn Rand with the word “shrugged” written at the bottom.
The meeting was held by American activists from the organization FreedomWorks, as well as an Israeli organization called the New Liberal Movement.
Wearing a black t-shirt with the words “Kosher Tea” written on it, Wednesday, Brendan Steinhuser – a native of Flatonia, Texas, and the director of federal and state campaigns for FreedomWorks – said the meeting was part of “a great coming together of things; you had the Glenn Beck rally here, and so we came to be here for that and we brought volunteers from around the country for that and we found interestingly enough that there is a group here that wants to start a Tea Party in Israel.
“We were thrilled to see so many people there in the room. Everything they’re talking about are the same issues people are facing in the States.”
He said the discussion was “a chance to talk to them about the choice between more government and less freedom or less government and more freedom.”
Boaz Arad, a partner in the Kosher Tea group, and one of the founders of the New Liberal Party, said “Israel has for many years believed in the free market and capitalism and this was pushed to the margins over the years. The Israeli state was built largely by capitalist wealth but the socialist ideology has taken it over and since then people in the state of Israel have learned that we need to have a free market and the people must be independent.”
Arad framed the meeting in light of the recent social issues protests taking place in Israel, saying “the cost of living is insufferable in Israel but the solution won’t come from asking the state to give us more and more, what we need is for the free market to be stronger and to be loosened up from government control.”
Basically, Arad said, “like the American Tea Party, we want less government, fewer taxes, and more freedom.”
This past October, an event was held in Tel Aviv to announce the launch of a different group calling itself “The Israeli Tea Party,” but it has not made waves since.