Semion Grafman has hundreds of thousands of followers on his social media accounts, where he posts humorous videos, and makes regular appearances on Channel 13’s late night show.
Before that, the Ukraine-born immigrant who served in the IDF was a businessman in the US. He owned a clothing factory and made millions in investments in a medical equipment company, before being convicted of money laundering and tax fraud in 2009. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison, and served one before his release.
Now, he has decided to try something new and run for the Knesset in April’s elections.
Grafman came to the Knesset on Wednesday, when parties began submitting their final lists and requests for the letters to represent them on their voting slips.
His party is called “Social Security, like in the US,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
One of the letter combinations he requested was peh sofit and kuf, which, as Grafman put it, “in English, sounds like f***.”
“All of the citizens of Israel are freaking tired of the bureaucracy in our country and want to show all our government and our ministers to f*** out and give to the young people and the smart people a place to make our country strong and beautiful again,” he said in Russian-accented English.
Grafman claimed that a quarter of Israelis live under the poverty line, lamenting the situation.
“I’m not talking about Russia. I’m not talking about Ukraine. I’m talking about Israel!” he said, sounding incredulous.
Grafman said he would be willing to sit in any coalition, as long as it “will give our people everything they deserve. This is what is important.
“If it’ll be [Israel Resilience leader Benny] Gantz or [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu, if they’ll provide our people with whatever they should give them, I’ll sit with either one,” he said.
Grafman and Netanyahu go way back – or at least, since December 2016, when they made a video together sending Russian-speaking Israelis a greeting for Noviy God, or a happy new year. They got together the following year to make another online clip.