Kosher Tea Party

The New Liberal Movement favors less rather than more government in citizens’ lives.

Kosher Tea Party 521 (photo credit: BOAZ ARAD)
Kosher Tea Party 521
(photo credit: BOAZ ARAD)
“RADICAL ISLAM threatens the Western way of life, and Glenn Beck understands this,” Chen Gutman, 25, a court stenographer who attended the controversial right-wing media personality’s rally near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on August 24, tells The Jerusalem Report.
“But he spoke mostly about personal responsibility. People need to be given more control over their lives. There will be more social responsibility. Cut off government support for a lot of things and people will learn not to be freeloaders.”
If you’ve been following the development of America’s Tea Party movement, this probably sounds familiar. Going along with Chen and what she says, there are dozens more Israelis who belong to what for now is being called the New Liberal Movement, which favors far less government in the Jewish state.
One of those behind the movement is Boaz Arad, a 49-year-old media strategist. “I don’t know why everyone thinks Israel’s economy is based on capitalism. It’s not,” Arad, who says he’s an admirer of the late writer-philosopher Ayn Rand, a champion of individualism, tells The Report. “This is a state of government interference in every sphere and a state of monopolies. We’re trying to explain what capitalism really is, why we don’t have it, and why we need it.”
The only way to free the economy, he says, is to reduce government and its intervention.
“In Israel we have mechanism on top of mechanism that are designed to enforce protectionism,” he explains. “Get rid of them and you can also lower taxes because there’s less government to pay for. Today, when you buy a car, you pay more for taxes than you do for the car itself.”
For help in establishing their movement, which is being officially launched on September 8, Arad and his fellow Israeli libertarians turned to a Washington, DC-based group called Freedom Ways, which says it has been providing organizational and political know-how to Tea Party movements all over the US.
“Some folks reached out to us,” says Brendan Steinhauser, 29, Freedom Way’s director of federal and state campaigns.
“They wanted to bring free-market economics to Tel Aviv. They also wanted to know how we organized our movement.
We’re happy to show them.”
Steinhauser wore the Israeli group’s black T-shirt to Beck’s Jerusalem rally. Emblazoned across the front was “Kosher Tea.” “I’m not Jewish and I don’t know much about what kosher really means,” he tells The Report, “but in my book these people [in Israel’s New Liberal Movement] are kosher. They believe in the right things.”
Arad runs a website called Anokhi, Hebrew for “myself” (although it also means selfish).
He lives in Ramat Hasharon, an affluent northern suburb of Tel Aviv, and is asked what will happen to the country’s social services if there’s less government. “We should leave the provision of these services to the local community and volunteer groups,” he declares.
“We have to get rid of the social affairs ministry.
We should also dismantle the National Insurance Institute [Israel’s social security].”
He is asked what he thinks about those living in poverty.
“I call the poverty line the ‘jealousy index’ because [in Israel] it’s based on average income, meaning it’s relative,” he says.
“Have Bill Gates move to your neighborhood and you, too, will be living below the poverty line.”
Gutman agrees. “The state should be responsible only for defense, public security and the court system,” she says. “People will have more control over their lives.”
And what does she think about Glenn Beck?
“I admire his love of Israel. I think he’s right about a lot of things, such as less government and more freedom,” she says immediately.
“The media make him out to be a religious nut. If he is, that’s his right. He should be free to practice whatever he wants. I’m an atheist but I’m sure we could get along.”