2 more Anglo candidates to vie for Knesset seats

Two more Anglo candidates have emerged in the race to be included on party lists for the upcoming elections. They both credit their American backgrounds for helping to shape the way they see politics. Dan Ben-David, a 48-year-old economics professor at Tel Aviv University who is running for a Labor seat, was born in Israel but lived in the US with his family from the age of five until 17. After he finished high school, he moved back here to serve in the army and go to college. He returned to Chicago - one of the five places he lived as a child - to get his doctorate in economics. One of his major concerns is to reform the political system, including imposing fixed terms for members of Knesset to ensure stable governments, holding direct election of candidates by their constituencies, and finding a solution to the situation in which the prime minister's arch-rival can be the second-most powerful minister in the country. The country, the Kochav Yair resident said, needs "something along the lines of the American system." His exposure to life abroad also highlighted the urgency in fixing what he sees as a broken economic system, whereby more and more of those Israelis with the choice to leave the country might very well do so. As an economics professor and father of three, he has spent years expounding on economic solutions to legislators and ministers, but now, he said, "I came to the conclusion that it is time for me to either put up or shut up: either try and get myself elected in order to personally fix things from the inside, or go back to what I love doing at TAU, hunker down and hope for the best." The other new Anglo candidate, Yossi Fuchs, 34, also said that his expertise in his profession would make an important contribution to the Knesset. A lawyer, he stressed that he has the know-how to make laws and legislate effectively. Fuchs, who lives in Neveh Daniel in Gush Etzion, sharpened his legal teeth as the founder of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, which battled the disengagement plan in the courts. He described himself as an ally of Uzi Landau, and said his party, the Likud, needs as many seats as possible to "prevent the next disengagement that Sharon wants." Fuchs was born in Brooklyn, immigrated to Israel with his family when he was three, and later served as a Jewish Agency emissary in Memphis, Tennessee. He said the time abroad helped broaden his perspective. "It gives you a wider angle to look at things," he said. "You have to go out for a while to know better what's going on here." Also important, he added, were the special ties he has with American Jewry. "We have to unite all the Jewish people," he said. "I have the connections between the Jews in Israel and the Diaspora." In other Anglo election news, Alon Pinkas, formerly Israel's consul-general in New York, officially announced his intention to run as a Labor candidate Thursday, something first reported by The Jerusalem Post. Also, National Union candidate Uri Banks has started a petition among his party's Anglo supporters demanding that he be placed higher on the Knesset list. He currently has the number nine slot. "With the rapidly growing demographic of new olim from North America and other English-speaking locations around the world, it is crucial that the National Union Party recognize the power of this group and appeal to this constituency in Israel," the petition begins. It attributes the notion that the National Union is "losing ground in recent polls" to "the fact that it is lacking an appeal to specific demographic constituencies," something which could be somewhat rectified by moving Banks up on the list. The undersigned are Anglos who say they will consider voting for another right-wing party if Banks isn't moved to a more "realistic" slot.