Why Israel’s Crazy Electoral System Might Be Best Idea Ever

Haim Watzman My piece praising Israel’s proportional electoral system is now up on the Forward’s website. Jewish suffragettes scored a signal achievement in 1920, when the first nationwide elections were held in the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine. They received 600 votes. This smattering of women — we may presume that nearly all of … Read more

Standing Up for Man’s Right to Cheat

Haim Watzman

<em>       Anastasia in a thoughtful moment</em>
Anastasia in a thoughtful moment

I wasn’t planning to post today but I couldn’t let South Jerusalem’s readers head into the holiday season without alerting them to Anastasia Michaeli, the superwoman who is headed for the Knesset on the Yisrael Beiteinu list led by Avidgor (“the only thing to my right is the wall”) Lieberman.

When it comes to role models for Israel’s young women, you can’t beat Michaeli. A Russian immigrant who has pulled herself up by the straps of her high heels, she’s a tv star, former beauty queen, and a mother of seven. She’ll be the first Knesset member to bring a baby to full term in term and (so the papers say) the first convert to Judaism to serve in that august body.

Michaeli will be the Knesset flagbearer of third-wave feminism. First-wave feminists demanded equal rights and opportunities; second wave feminists stressed female distinctness and pride. Third-wave feminists have taken the bold step of proclaiming that men can do whatever they like; they can trust their women to remain pure. Here’s Michaeli on how every woman should treat her husband:

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Black and Blue: Obama and Golda

Haim Watzman

There wasn’t much to read in this morning’s Ha’aretz. Nearly every one of the paper’s senior writers has written a piece about how amazing it is that the United States is on the verge of electing a black president.

It is amazing, of course, especially for anyone my age and above, those who can still remember segregation and Jim Crow. But there’s something patronizing about all this going ga-ga over Obama’s race–as if voters are choosing him because he’s black. In fact, it’s his policies and his personality that are attracting Americans; if he wins it will be despite, not because, he’s black.

Ha’aretz‘s swoon over Obama reminds me of how American Jews tend to melt inside when they talk about Golda Meir. Seeing Israel through the lenses of American liberalism, many American MOTs view Meir as a paragon of liberalism and feminism. After all, she was a woman elected to Israel’s highest political office at a time when American feminism was just taking off. So her choice must demonstrate the maturity and lack of sexism of Israeli voters.

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