Israel Elections: Parties tell Anglos not to vote for them - analysis

Each party leader sent a message to native English-speaking voters by not including a representative of their community on their list. The message was: Don't vote for me.

When New Hope released its list for the March 23 election on Wednesday night, Blue and White MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh was on a Zoom with 70 Australian immigrants, helping them with their absorption problems.
After she helped New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and initiate the election, she worked behind the scenes to persuade Sa’ar to include her on his list. She told him about the thousands of contacts she had made and the hundreds of immigrants she has helped personally in the Knesset.
Instead, the candidate Sa’ar plucked from Blue and White was Hila Shay Vazan, who was given the 10th slot on his list.
Sa’ar included immigrants to Israel from Ukraine, Argentina, Ethiopia and France. Former MK Sharren Haskel, who was born in Toronto but was never part of the Anglophone community, is in the respectable fifth slot.
The only representative of the 400,000 English-speaking voters in Israel, English campaign head Jonathan Javor, is 42nd on the list.
New Hope is not the only party that had a chance to choose an English-speaking immigrant and decided against it. Several well-respected native English-speaking candidates sought to run with Yamina, but party leader Naftali Bennett turned them all down.
Bennett put a French-speaker in his 10th slot and placed a Russian-speaker 12th. Longtime Bennett adviser Jeremy Saltan, who is running his English-speaking campaign for his fourth election in two years, was placed 16th.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz included South African-raised MK Ruth Wasserman Lande and North Carolina-born Alon Tal on his list, but only in the 10th and 11th slots.
Yesh Atid placed its Anglo division director Michal Cababia 29th on its list and demoted US-born Moshe Tur-Paz, who was not part of the Anglo community, to the 21st slot.
Even Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman, whose party is devoted to helping immigrants, did not include a token English-speaking immigrant on its list as he did in the past.
Each party leader sent a message to native English-speaking voters by not including a representative of their community on their list. The message was: Don’t vote for me.
“It’s not politically correct to speak this way, but these party leaders are idiots,” former MK Dov Lipman said. “Michal was the hardest worker in this past Knesset and was the representative for the English speaking population in Israel and Diaspora-Israel affairs. It demonstrates how out of touch the current party leaders are with the needs of Israel’s Anglo population. While it is their loss because she would have brought more mandates to their parties, it is also our loss.”
Anglo Vision founder David Fine, who lobbied party leaders to include a native English-speaker on their lists, also expressed disappointment.
“Unfortunately, the lack of any Anglo representative on any political list in a realistic position is a slap in the face for our community,” Fine said. “There are many other communities and special interest groups with much smaller populations that have been assured of representation in the next Knesset, but none from the Anglo community.”
Fine said that during the coronavirus crisis, immigrants need an understanding face in the Knesset they can turn to in order to help with travel for emergencies, and who represents their needs and can understand the challenges of aliyah.
“Hundreds of thousands of olim from English-speaking countries have been left without representation or someone to turn to,” Fine lamented. “Our issues – of aliyah and assistance with professional integration, greater governance and having some Sundays off, among others – are obviously not considered important by our leaders.”
Party officials vowed to help English-speaking immigrants and to compensate for the lack of candidates with their platforms. New Hope English spokesman Jason Pearlman noted that Javor was one of the people who initiated Yom Aliyah in the Knesset.
“We have in our professional team the people that brought Yom Aliyah to the Knesset, so we are very confident that we will represent the interests of the Anglo community and others very well indeed,” he said.