WATCH: Peres teams up with comedians in election vid

President releases video to promote voter participation, produced with 'A Wonderful Country' star and director.

President Shimon Peres in election video 370 (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
President Shimon Peres in election video 370
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
Concerns about the next career move by President Shimon Peres when he completes his term of office in mid-2014 were dispelled on Sunday by Yaron Shilon, one of the directors of the satirical television program Eretz Nehederet (“A Wonderful Country”).
He worked with Peres and the show’s anchor Eyal Kitzis to produce a video clip to encourage voting, that was launched on the president’s Facebook page.
Speaking to reporters after the launch, Shilon said that Peres was a natural comedian who could easily find his place on any television reality show.
“He’s completely with it and on the ball. He’s a very funny man. You should see what was not included in the clip,” he said. “He’s got a great future as a comedian.”
When asked if he could remember the feeling he had the first time he voted, Peres said with a broad grin on his face that it was both disappointment and elation. David Ben-Gurion had initially put him on the list of Knesset candidates, but then he was struck off. “I wasn’t voted in, but I voted,” he said, with the grammatical pun coming across much better in Hebrew.
The video clip is meant to get young people, especially those voting for the first time, to exercise their democratic right, Peres said. “It’s not good for democracy when there’s a poor voter turnout,” he added.
People spend so much time voting in reality shows, but the Knesset elections are reality, and that is where they should be voting, Peres said.
Present for the launch of the clip were 18-year-old Jewish and Arab high school students, from in and around Jerusalem, who can vote in this election for the first time.
Master of ceremonies, television personality Gilad Adin, rehearsed them for the launch telling them that they had to recite a loud countdown from five for the clip to appear on the large video screens flanking the stage.
Before Peres addressed the youngsters, Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein told them how important a duty it was for people to exercise their voting rights in a democracy.
Rubinstein said that his late father, who had lost his whole family in the Holocaust, had been very proud to chair a polling station for Knesset elections.
Though aware of popular opinion that youth are cynical about politics, Rubinstein did not share this view, noting the large numbers of young people who participated in social protest rallies in 2011.
“Together, young people will determine our future, your future in the years to come in matters of security, policy, the pursuit of peace, education, economics, welfare and quality of the environment,” he said.
Rubinstein pointed out that as most of them were going to serve in the IDF and would later have to perform compulsory reserve duty for the security of the state, they should also take into account their civic duty and privilege to vote.
Rubinstein also addressed the Arab students in Arabic, and received enthusiastic applause. If the minority groups such as Arabs, Circassians and Druse want to achieve complete equality for themselves, the only way to do so is to vote, he said.
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Calling on all young people, especially those who have just turned 18, not to squander the right to vote, Peres said that not voting was a sign of apathy, whereas voting signified their concern for the character of the state.
“You won’t be 18 again,” he told the 12th-graders in front of him. “When you’re older and have children, and they asked you when you voted for the first time, tell them that it was as soon as you were given the right to vote.”
In the video clip that was launched by Peres together with two Jewish and two Arab students, Kitzis, toward the end of the clip, asks the president to give him a ride.
“Are you going to the polling station?” asks Peres.
Kitzis replies in the affirmative.
Peres gives him the thumbs up sign and says “Hop in.”
The clip is based on the Facebook concept of inviting friends and each person who clicks onto the president’s Facebook page is asked to invite four friends to join him or her at the polling station on January 22.
When he was talking to reporters later, Peres was asked why he chose to put out the message on Facebook.
It was a simple decision, he said. “Facebook is the language of communication of young people today.”
When asked how it felt to be the first Israeli president to use a Facebook application, Peres said that apps had not been available to previous presidents and that he was just moving with the times.
Rubinstein said that in the previous Knesset election four years ago, one in three Israelis did not vote, and that was very disturbing.