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Netanyahu ‘babysitter’ ad warns that Labor will give away Israel’s house and carpet

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As Israeli elections near, another round of campaign ads were posted to the major parties’ social media pages, with Netanyahu throwing in his own campy video bid for ballots. While most of the elections ads thus have centered on who is exactly are the “real Israelis” and who is the most qualified candidate to serve them, Netanyhu’s is more political. Playing the part of a babysitter, the “Bibi-sitter”, he says that his opponents cannot be trusted to watch after Israel’s children.

The commercial involves a middle-class couple’s surprise that their babysitter turns out to be Netanyahu in jeans.

Netanyahu explains that he got the job because his opponents in the “Zionist Camp,” the coalition of Labour and a centrist party, don’t know how to manage a state, let alone children. The three take turns ribbing the Zionist camp’s leadership. “Buji,” a nickname for Labor leader Issac Herzog, is disqualified because, “By the time we get home we won’t have a house left!” says the wife. “He’ll give away the carpet,” adds the husband. They are saying that a lib-centrist government would agree to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and turn over the occupied territories to the Palestinians. In the mindset of the commercial, this is as disastrous and foolish as giving away one’s own house.

On Tizpi Livni, Herzog’s partner, as leader of Hatnua, a centrist party, Netanyahu jabs that if the couple leaves for a few hours, by the time they return, “she’ll have moved on to the neighbors.” Here he’s saying that Livni has flip-flopped. She’s running under a new political party, and some of her positions, namely on economy and negotiations, have shifted– ever so slightly– to the left.

“It’s us or them,” says a tagline that closes the video. It is a play off of the opposition’s theme, “It’s us or him,” meaning anybody but Netanyahu.

The ad makes the claim that the right,  Netanyahu’s party Likud, will keep the occupied territories occupied, and therefore Israel will be secure, while left will negotiate them away and usher in Israel’s demise.

On another level, Netanyahu promises normalcy and keeping everything as it is. He does so in a down-to-earth style, wearing jeans and a dark open shirt, perhaps a nod that he is shedding his (and his wife’s) image as big spender, draining Israel’s economy for the settlements. Israelis have to choose, are they satisfied with a very abnormal situation of a protracted conflict that has become normal?

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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22 Responses

  1. amigo on February 3, 2015, 3:20 pm

    “On another level, Netanyahu promises normalcy and keeping everything as it is. He does so in a down-to-earth style, wearing jeans and a dark open shirt, perhaps a nod that he is shedding his (and his wife’s) image as big spender ”

    Funny from the guy who ordered a 127,000 dollar bed to be installed for a one night trip to the UK .What does that equate to, four years salary for your average Israeli, (Jewish, that is) Hopefully they forget about that and vote for him.Wouldn’,t want people thinking Israel would be seeking peace under Livni and Herzog.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-slammed-for-spending-127000-on-bed-for-flight-to-london/

  2. Krauss on February 3, 2015, 4:25 pm

    Gotta say that Israeli ads have always been funny, even if many of them have also often been racist(like the Shas ad in the previous election year where the Russian bride had to telefax her ID to her wedding; a warning against assimilation and a shot across the bow against Lieberman’s ground people).

    Still, this ad is funny in a different way; it looks like an ad transported from some 80s Iron Wall country; everything looks so stiff and fake. Including Bibi.

    In a sense, he doesn’t need more. The opposition is toothless. They are never going into a coalition with the Arabs. I’ve been looking at knessetjeremy.com (independent polling blog) and basically it has been a slam dunk for Bibi and the gang since day one.

    The media is trying to invent a race where there is none.

  3. pabelmont on February 3, 2015, 4:28 pm

    It’s all a lie, according to Gideon Levy, the Laborites won’t give away anything. They’ll out Clinton (Clinton-1) and out Bush-1,2 and out Obama them all: let’s have another 5-year plan called stalling under a banner which reads “peace process”.

    • Blownaway on February 3, 2015, 7:43 pm

      Exactly…putting a pretty face on the occupation. According the the Palestinian papers Abbas gave Livni everything and she still couldn’t say yes. If I could vote for Netanyahu I woukd he is the best chance to mobilize the world to work for peace in Palestine… Go Bibi go

  4. David Doppler on February 3, 2015, 5:09 pm

    Thanks, Allison, for this valuable flavor of how the election is developing. I see Wikipedia is publishing and updating the polls. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_Israeli_legislative_election,_2015

  5. Kay24 on February 3, 2015, 7:31 pm

    Typical Bibi action. Make enemies everywhere, attack your neighbors expecting retaliation, and then tell your people only HE can take care of them. The is Bibi Bull Shet. Only naive Israelis will believe that doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting things to change, will be the way to go again.

    Despite the numerous investigations into the various corruption allegations against the Netanyahus, including a HUGE alcohol bill, it seems Israelis are not smart enough to gauge this man, and he is soaring in the polls. What a shame.

  6. PeaceThroughJustice on February 3, 2015, 9:10 pm

    I would have thought the most telling aspect of the ad was the closing message: “Peace, but not unconditionally”.

    By the way, why does Allison assume that Israelis’ desire to keep the territories is born out of a desire for “security”? I know that’s the message that’s been sent to the world, but there’s no evidence either they or Netanyahu actually believe it.

  7. DaBakr on February 3, 2015, 10:51 pm

    as a political spot-its near perfect. bibi – probably near the end of his historic run as pm- is nothing if not a ‘caretaker’ gov’t. obviously he does not have what it takes to make a bold decision towards a negotiated peace – or- he is simply holding together a deeply divided body -waiting for a time when another push for a treaty is more opportune. without discussing exactly what each person who votes thinks is opportune he is playing upon the exact theme which has kept him in office for so long. he’ll work hard to keep the ‘status quo’.
    like it or hate it (or him) he is an expert at status quo and this is what the add is about. the people who hate him will still hate him but in general-it should play very well- he comes off much better then he has in other spots from past.

    * have to laugh at the comment ‘supposing’ israeli voters are not “smart enough” to gauge “this man”. its either extremely condescending or perhaps the poster also thinks Americans were not smart enough to “gauge” Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Nixon, Bush2, etc. That makes a lot more dumb Americans then it does Israelis. I always worry when an internet warrior starts making assumptions about who they think is not “smart enough” to decide what they believe is in their own interest and what lengths they would go to making sure those not “smart enough” would not be able to be so stupid.

    I’m not sure if MW readers get the play on words that “carpet” in hebrew is similar in sound to the word for “territories” {shtichem – shtachem]

    • JeffB on February 4, 2015, 9:27 am

      @DaBakr

      I’m not sure if MW readers get the play on words that “carpet” in hebrew is similar in sound to the word for “territories” {shtichem – shtachem}

      Excellent point, thank you for that.

      I agree with you about status quo and Likud. IMHO the Bennett plan seems like the most likely next step though I can imagine many other opportunities for solution arising as the region boils. I’m starting to suspect though that the Gazans might be willing to give up on Hamas and accept economic development.

  8. a blah chick on February 4, 2015, 7:28 am

    That is one creepy babysitter.

    The Occupation is coming from inside the house!

  9. peterfeld on February 4, 2015, 8:47 am

    The caricature of average affluent Israelis that you see in these campaign ads, this one, the Shas ad and Bennet’s hipster ad, is very unattractive.

    Who besides me remembers the classic opening/closing music from these 1981 Begin ads?

  10. ckg on February 4, 2015, 10:51 am

    Another Netanyahu ad shows him as a kindergarten teacher. Slate has an article on it.

  11. kma on February 4, 2015, 11:15 am

    So, Netanyahu goes on record AGAIN with a PROMISE that there will be NO two-state “solution”.
    When does that become a problem for Israel and its unjustified approval from the international community?
    I’d also like to see the albatross hung around the neck of US congress. “There is no daylight” means “There will be no Palestinian state”.

  12. piotr on February 4, 2015, 12:21 pm

    Could be worse, Mrs. Netanyahu as a baby sitter.

    I am not sure if she has an image of “big spender”. I think of her as compulsive penny pincher. The latest revelation about getting bottle deposits of drinks charged to the treasury of the State of Israel fits that. Even with a relatively high deposit (8 cents a bottle) and thousands of bottles, what was it?

  13. wondering jew on February 4, 2015, 8:59 pm

    I’m no fan of Bibi, but the commercials are effective. There are not many voters who are choosing between Bibi and Herzog/Livni. Those who are still undecided are bordering between Bibi and Jewish Home and/or Lapid or Kahlon or Lieberman. But using Herzog/Livni as his foil is effective advertising.

    I think the two state Israeli left needs to come out and say, “Borders First”. Israel should negotiate the borders of the Palestinian state first and then other issues can be resolved. This way there will be a defined future Palestine where settlements will be problematic or forbidden and an Israeli border wherein settlements will be less problematic or allowed. I don’t expect Bougie/Livni to advocate this, but Meretz should advocate this.

    • Teapot on February 4, 2015, 10:08 pm

      This way there will be a defined future Palestine where settlements will be problematic or forbidden and an Israeli border wherein settlements will be less problematic or allowed.

      Call me stupid, but wouldn’t “settlements” within the Israeli borders just be called towns? And I am pretty sure that Israeli settlements outside the borders will not just be problematic, but illegal. In fact, they already are completely illegal. Just because Israel refuses to recognize its own borders doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

  14. W.Jones on February 5, 2015, 7:54 pm

    This is a strange ad. How many other politicians refer to their constituents as children who need babysitting?

    If you follow the analogy closely, Bibi is not appealing to voters so much as to the voters’ “rulers” and “creators”.

    If the children are the population and society, then who are their guardians and creators? Perhaps Bibi is making a reference to the massive donors. I think I read 90% of his donations are from the US.

    • JeffB on February 6, 2015, 7:50 am

      @WJones

      Campaign finance laws are rather strict in Israel. Actual donations while they exist don’t have much impact and also you must be an Israeli citizen. So the idea of American donors having a big impact is not true at all.

      Where Netanyahu gets advantages is from American society more broadly supporting institutions in Israel which support Likud. For example Sheldon Adelson pays for a daily free newspaper Israel HaYom which has a Likud biased editorial policy. So every Israel can get a high quality free newspaper but in doing so they get the news presented to them with a Likud slant. There is no way to measure but most people suspect Israelis moving from leftwing papers to rightwing papers has likely shifted political opinion a bit to the right.

      Though honestly what Adelson is doing pales in comparison to how much the failure of the peace process has discredited the left.
      a) The fact that the people of Gaza choose Hamas over Fatah after the Israelis left Gaza.
      b) The suicide bombings from the West Bank inside Israel proper even while Arafat was claiming to embrace a 2 state solution.

      That’s what discredit the Israeli left that had promised that the Palestinians just wanted a limited amount of land.

      Longer term:
      c) Politically affiliation has a strong serial correlation between generations. In Israel there is a huge discrepancy in birthrate between the secular and religious. While the most religious are moderate to dovish on defense the people slightly less religious (religious traditionalist) are the most hawkish Israelis. Religion tends to serially correlate but decline between generations which means demographically Israel likely gets more hawkish than it is today for the next century or so. Getting to the topic of the board, this is one of the many reasons that I think the South Africa analogy in inapplicable. 1970-1990 the European style democratic left / moderates with its stronger cultural ties to Europe was gaining culturally in South Africa (that has reversed quickly since the government fell). The opposite is happening in Israel, the left (cultural) was much stronger 20 years ago than it is today and is much stronger today than it will be in 20 years.

  15. W.Jones on February 8, 2015, 6:17 pm

    Jeff B,

    You wrote: Actual donations while they exist don’t have much impact and also you must be an Israeli citizen. So the idea of American donors having a big impact is not true at all.

    Campaign funds are the lifeblood of political campaigns. They pay for advertisements, TV time, brochures, campaign staff, etc. The Jerusalem Post on January 7 reported that “90%” of campaign contributions came from US donors.

    Second of all, we agree on a main point: ” in Israel, the left (cultural) was much stronger 20 years ago than it is today and is much stronger today than it will be in 20 years.” In your opinion this comes from Israelis’ own development as secular and therefore more hawkish.

    This actually puts in question your claim that they are electing Netanyahu and right wing candidates because of Hamas’ election in Gaza. The fact is, whether there was a Hamas victory in Gaza or not, Israelis would, as you say, become more and more right wing every 20 years, and vote accordingly.

    If that is true, the Hamas victory would not be seen as a result of the “peace process” but rather that given a free choice, palestinians want a political party that resists the total suppression that it looks like they are destined for under more right wing Israeli governments.

    • JeffB on February 9, 2015, 10:54 pm

      @W Jones

      Most of that stuff is not paid for that way. They can’t have paid campaign staff for example. Total allowed donations are approximately $100k + $.40 per vote. Everyone can get to the limit.

      This actually puts in question your claim that they are electing Netanyahu and right wing candidates because of Hamas’ election in Gaza.

      There are three things going on.

      1) A gradual shift rightward because of demographics (i.e. conservatives are having more babies)
      2) A specific shift rightward because the left was discredited from the peace process.

      Things like the Palestinians electing Hamas and and 2nd intifada shifted the Israeli population strongly to the right. The left had promised that land for peace would work and it didn’t. You can see that most acutely in the 2003 election results vs. earlier elections. There is also at the same time the gradual shift. There may be no way to go back to a government as leftwing as the mid 1990s Oslo government for 2 generations or so.

      America, which has better polling, tends to have these fairly large shifts within voters of certain ages (for example people who turned 18 during Eisenhower era are more heavily Republican) while at the same time there are situational shifts.

      rather that given a free choice, palestinians want a political party that resists the total suppression that it looks like they are destined for under more right wing Israeli governments.

      What total suppression were the Gazans resisting in 2005? The Israelis had left. They wanted out of Gaza. Certainly you can argue the Israelis left Gaza possibly to focus on other more important goals like Jerusalem, but regardless the Gazans weren’t facing total suppression.

      • W.Jones on February 10, 2015, 3:31 pm

        Gazans were at least, if not worse off, than the West Bank in 2005 when they voted in Hamas. Very many of them are refugees from the rest of Palestine due to the Nakba. It’s unnatural how many of them are crammed into tiny Gaza with no natural economy able to sustain them.

        Your complaint that the Gazans voted for Hamas is like British complaining that when they left southern Ireland, it allowed the irish TO EXPAND THE IRA into Northern Ireland. The fact is, the British shouldn’t have been occupying Ireland anyway.

        But being very right wing in the first place, the Israelis were not open to realizing that, while the British population was shifting to a less imperialist position.

        The main issue is not really whatever specific policy, by itself, is adopted in Gaza, as far as voting patterns are concerned. Rather, it is, as you said, that they have a generational, steady shift to the right. We’re going to see more and more Israeli racism in the years ahead, and that’s extremely sad.

  16. JeffB on February 15, 2015, 7:55 am

    @W.Jones

    Gazans were at least, if not worse off, than the West Bank in 2005 when they voted in Hamas. Very many of them are refugees from the rest of Palestine due to the Nakba. It’s unnatural how many of them are crammed into tiny Gaza with no natural economy able to sustain them.

    The obvious natural economy of course is would be a coastal manufacturing hub for Israel. The reason Gazans don’t have that is the 1st intifada. Sure the Gazans do themselves damage over and over and over again.

    Your complaint that the Gazans voted for Hamas is like British complaining that when they left southern Ireland, it allowed the irish TO EXPAND THE IRA into Northern Ireland. The fact is, the British shouldn’t have been occupying Ireland anyway.

    I didn’t complain I simply indicated there is a cause effect relationship there. The Gazans given the choice between war and peace consistently choose war. The Israelis started to realize that. You have to deal with an enemy who is situational and can be satisfied easily differently than an intrinsic enemy. On a scale from: guy who wants to get ahead you in line as a 0 and ebola as a 100 where are the Palestinians?

    If the answer is the “Jews shouldn’t be occupying” and by occupying you simply mean existing then they are pretty close to 100. That was the right’s position. The left had argued that they were closer to 0. You aren’t disagreeing with the right’s assessment when you calmly say “well they shouldn’t be occupying” you are just rooting for the other team.

    The main issue is not really whatever specific policy, by itself, is adopted in Gaza, as far as voting patterns are concerned. Rather, it is, as you said, that they have a generational, steady shift to the right. We’re going to see more and more Israeli racism in the years ahead, and that’s extremely sad.

    Yes it is. It is something that the Palestinians for their own safety should be avoiding desperately. But because of the injustice of their situation they are bad at look at the pragmatics. Over the years in poker I’ve made tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars from people who got treated unfairly in a few hands in a row and because of the unfairness of it decided they were entitled to extra luck over the next hours only to learn that everything is random and there is no justice.

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