Woof! Hugo the Dog joins politics

Online campaign tells MKs "don’t behave like animals," encourages political participation.

Hugo the dog (photo credit: Avital Sahar)
Hugo the dog
(photo credit: Avital Sahar)
It’s a political slogan never attempted before – he may poop, but at least someone cleans up after him – but Hugo the Dog isn’t a typical Knesset candidate.
Following the launch of his online campaign, including a Facebook page he uses to taunt Yair Lapid, Hugo gave an exclusive interview to The Jerusalem Post, which was translated by Avital Sahar, his spokesman and owner, a media consultant and former adviser to Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz and spokesman of the Betar movement.
“I don’t usually bark at reporters, because they misquote me anyway,” he quipped.
According to Hugo, “if someone is going to bark nonsense from the Knesset, it should at least be a dog.”
“The Romans had a horse in the Senate in Caligula’s time, and some MKs speak like animals, so how much damage can a tiny French Bulldog do?” he asked.
Hugo, who is almost five years old in human years and 35 in dog years, has a long list of campaign promises. For example, the French Bulldog says he will be the “true watchdog of democracy,” a job usually saved for the press.
A dramatic campaign video on YouTube presents Hugo as leader of the Woof Party, “a fighter and a lover,” and says whoever doesn’t vote for him is a dog.
“Israel needs a leader that stands on all four feet and bites, not only barks,” he said. “Vote for me and we’ll wag the Knesset.”
Hugo also picked a fight on Facebook with Lapid, posting an image of his campaign poster on the Yesh Atid leader’s profile.
Lapid responded that Hugo should join his party, and the dog wrote: “Don’t you threaten to put me on a leash! That’s animal abuse.”
Sahar sees Lapid’s response as a sign that his “joke with a message” is a success.
The Hugo campaign is not about a specific political issue or a business promotion, the media consultant explained.
“In the past few weeks, as a citizen, I have been hearing MKs making comments I didn’t like, and I am saying they need to act and talk like human beings,” Sahar stated.
Sahar referred specifically to the migrant issue, saying he “wants all of them out of the country” and has firsthand experience dealing with migrants from his IDF reserve duty, but at the same time, he took offense at MKs calling them a cancer or saying they should be shot as they cross the border.
While Sahar made sure to point out that he is complaining about “a few rotten apples” in the Knesset barrel, he said “several MKs are not taking their job seriously. They don’t realize that words have power.”
“This is not about policy, this is about behavior,” he explained, adding that there should be honor and respect in the “temple of Israeli democracy.”
The consultant said he looked for something “creative, funny and naughty-in-a-good-way” to get his message across, and chose Hugo, who he called “my angel.”
Sahar hopes his campaign will convince people to be more politically active.
“Israelis – don’t just complain. Vote, join a party, run for office,” he said.