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Israeli Elections Elicit Little Hope for Change

Elections in Israel are two weeks away, but the electorate shows little sign of interest in substantive issues, writes Yossi Melman.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) is seen during the launch of his Likud Beiteinu party campaign ahead of the upcoming January 22 national elections, in Jerusalem December 25, 2012. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

The hottest news of the forthcoming Israeli election campaign is a secret love affair, reminiscent of what Oswald Mosley, the talented member of the British Parliament, said in the early '30s of the last century, when he was still a member of the Labor Party and just before founding his "Union of British Fascists." Asked about his political and sexual preferences, Mosley said: "Vote Labor, Sleep Tory." This is, though in the opposite direction, what the right-wing, hard-liner Education Minister Gideon Saar (age 46) from the ruling Likud party is doing. He is dating TV Channel One's pretty face and intelligent mind, Geula Even (age 40), who is known for her left of center political views. Both are happily divorced with children.

Their flirtatious relationship, widely reported not only in gossip columns, is a powerful illustration and evidence that two weeks before more than 5 million eligible Israeli voters go to the polling stations, the campaign has already reached its garbage time. It seems that not one of the 7.9 million Israeli citizens, including the media and the politicians themselves, is seriously interested in hard-core political issues and seem instead to prefer to focus on marginal, sometimes saucy and sexy issues.

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