Likud Anglos point to US as a model

4 Americans running for Knesset in Dec. 8 primary say Israel can learn from US how to improve country.

Israel can learn a lot from the United States about how to improve the country, the four American citizens running for Knesset in the December 8 Likud primary told an audience at the capital's Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Tuesday night. Yechiel Leiter, who is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, spoke about how Israel could cut down on crime by reorganizing its police using New York as a model. Yossi Fuchs, who is from Brooklyn, said that as an MK, he would push to change the political system so that all 120 lawmakers would be elected regionally, and for a cabinet of professionals in every arena. Danny Seaman, who considers himself a New Yorker, said Israeli politicians could learn how to better serve the public from the civil servants of the US. And Tal Brody, who is from Trenton, New Jersey, said the Knesset needed to learn parliamentary decorum from Congress. Brody announced on Tuesday that he would run for the 23rd slot on the Likud list, which is reserved for a candidate from the coastal areas between Tel Aviv and Haifa, including Ra'anana, where he lives. Seaman is running in the Southern District, which has spot No. 28 on the list. Fuchs is running for the Judea and Samaria seat, which is No. 37. Leiter is the only candidate of the four running on the national list, slots 2-19. Each candidate described what compelled him to run, outlined his ideology and answered questions from the crowd about how to fix the electoral system, improve education and preserve a united Jerusalem. Leiter accused Kadima of ideological corruption for running on a platform of withdrawing from Judea and Samaria after the failure of Oslo and the Gaza Strip disengagement. He said he preferred that the Likud form a coalition with Labor and Meretz, which, he said, believed in something, and not with Kadima, which believed in nothing. "If the Likud triples its size and forms a government that is strong and has a clear agenda, a statement will be made to the world that is organizing a diplomatic tsunami against Israel that the people of Israel reject that ideological corruption," Leiter said. "The Likud's MKs will need to help [party chairman Binyamin] Netanyahu when he will be a lonely guy fighting against that tsunami." Fuchs, who lives in Neveh Daniel in Gush Etzion, said he assumed that the fate of Judea and Samaria would be put on the table once again. He said he would work to prevent withdrawals and ensure that no one would have to endure what the people of Gush Katif had gone through. Seaman, who is from Ashkelon, complained that the current government had "spent more time and effort trying to remove citizens from a house in Hebron than it has protecting the people in Ashkelon [from Gaza rockets]." Brody said that as an MK he would advance sports, helping children and Diaspora relations. He said that to prepare for the race, he had to write his resumé in Hebrew for the first time. "Tal Brody put Israeli basketball on the map and he will help put the Likud on the map too," Netanyahu told reporters at a press conference with the former Maccabi Tel Aviv great at the party's Tel Aviv headquarters earlier Tuesday. "He is a lot more than a basketball player. He is a man who has helped kids at risk through sports." World Likud chairman Danny Dannon, a hawk who is running against Brody in his district, said that Brody's ideology and his commitment to the Likud were uncertain. "I am sure the Likud members will pick players from their own team, who believe in what their party stands for, and not in players from the past, whose ideology is not clear and whose obligation to the party's values is a puzzle," Dannon said. "As a sportsman, I am sure he knows how to lose."