Around Israel many preparations are being made, since soon, 17th of March, 2015, the 20th elections will occur. Politicians are promoting themselves and one of their ways of doing so is by going around schools and sharing their agenda.
Today, the 26th of January, I got the opportunity to attend a speech made by Tzipi Livni in the HaKfar HaYarok school auditorium.
To make sure we are all on the same page I will quickly explain that Livni is part of a centre-left political party, known by the unofficial title ‘The Zionist Camp’.1 Surveys are being held to the Israeli public weekly; latest data tells us that 21% would like to see this party in power (keep in mind that the current party stands on 34%).2
I came to the assembly with pen and paper, my mind prepared to criticize and ears longing for information. I thought I would share some of my findings…
As I see it, her speech was constructed in the ‘sandwich method’- good-bad-good kind of thing. She began by reminding us of her latest position, Minister of Justice, followed by her accomplishments, mainly constructed by the laws she put forward. They mostly have a great emphasis on transparency, one of them being ‘the law of freedom of information’.
She did not fail to mention corruption, notifying us that every citizen who decides to expose it will be granted the support of any lawyer in the country. “Those who are corrupt mustn’t be in the government”, she says, “even if they share my opinions”. Here, she is referring to the large amount of corruption exposed in the past few years, fearlessly stating that she is not a part of that group and therefore she is one of those who should be in the government.
Now comes the middle part of our sandwich; security. Livni talked about Israel’s relations with the U.S.A (“The world’s largest superpower”) and its necessity. She was commenting on Netanyahu’s relationship with them, later stating that they (Netanyahu and his fellow associate Naftali Bennett) “Don’t know how to provide security for the state of Israel or for you”, meaning they don’t communicate with the U.S well enough so conflicts rise between the countries. Even though she spoke negatively about Netanyahu’s speeches and their frightening nature, I felt that she was trying to scare me just as much; emphasizing Israel’s need of the IDF, reminding us about the Iranian threat and talking about radical Islamic groups such as ISIS, which “will not accept our existence no matter what we do”.
After all that, I was quickly reassured that we can “break the isolation” and that “not all are anti-Semitic”. I will give her that though- Charlie Hebdo’s incident was not used to tell me why I must fear the outside world. And so the last part of the sandwich begins, with a handful of feminism: “To all the girls here, men don’t know how to handle security better than women”. With that said, social rights were mentioned after quoting Jabotinsky: “every individual is a king”, talking about the ‘Basic Law on Social Rights’ (food, residence, clothing, medicine and education) and about her intensions to “cut the price of land (housing)”.
Even though she continued, once again, to portray Netanyahu in a negative light, she did not disgrace him as a private figure like many tend to do. She simply focused on his political actions, within good manners I must add. “A government that will put you in the center. Thank you very much” were her concluding remarks. I hope she is not using her words lightly.
Actually, I think that Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog (the additional leader of the party) make some good points. Moreover, the two share different opinions: Livni focusing on law and security while Herzog puts his main focus on socialism. They still decided to work on some compromises for the sake of the country because they believe that this is the only way towards change. But when we are listening to a speech, reading an article or even attending a lesson at school we have to criticize, we have to find the subtext and we have to question the words we hear. How did she decide on what she will talk about in front of a group of teenagers from Northern Tel-Aviv? These things matter.
Let me propose a question before your eyes shall part my words- why do politicians feel that it is important to speak to minors? The law does not allow me to vote yet, my voice will have to wait for the 21st elections.
If after some thinking you will decide that we, the teens, are important, maybe you will be able to tell me why we are not allowed to vote from 16? From 17? I would like to think that they are afraid of our critical and inquiring minds. Yes, let’s keep it this way.
Written by Ma’ayan Agmon
Edited by Maria Tirnovanu and Carlos Sevilla