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?