Election fever

Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) in full flow. Moderator Michael Freund (to the left, with steepled fingers) waits, patiently.

Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) in full flow. Moderator Michael Freund (to the left, with steepled fingers) waits, patiently.

Susan and I went to a pre-election panel session held tonight in Ra’anana. There were representatives from the following parties:

  • Likud Beytenu
  • Bayit Yehudi
  • Strong Israel
  • Yesh Atid
  • Meretz
  • The Tzipi Livni Party
  • Shas

Although advertised as being in attendance, there was nobody from Labor.

The session – all in English – went as follows:

  1. An opening speech from each representative
  2. A series of questions from the Moderator, each answered in turn by each of the representatives
  3. Open questions from the public
  4. A closing statement from each representative

The questions were good quality and covered a decent range of subjects. All the usual political tricks were on show, but things never got out of hand. It was a pleasant experience to be able to hear the range of views, one after the other, and all done quite respectfully.

My take on the proceedings is that the one political topic every party wanted to show they had an answer for, was the issue of the ultra religious, and their participation in the army, the workforce and society. It’s a key political issue it appears.

Putting political affiliations to one side, I was impressed by the overall contributions made by representatives from some of the parties I have no intention of (ever) voting for. So, a good indicator of quality.

However, the star of the night was Michael Freund, the Moderator. Why? By his strong control of the proceedings, he helped ensure it was a polite – though still lively – and informative session. In other words, people stuck to their time limits, people refrained from abuse and interruptions, and it was all very civilized. Superb. Well done, Michael. Oh, and I think it helped firm up who I am going to vote for.