snobs against the slobsThe last week has seen the complete redrawing of the Israeli political map. Amir Peretz, a Moroccan Jew, beat Shimon Peres to gain the chairmanship of the Labor Party. Peretz then pulled his party from the ruling coalition forcing an election. Ariel Sharon then stole Peretz’s thunder by quitting Likud and forming his own centrist Party, Kadimah, taking over a dozen Likud MKs with him. Some called it a mistake, but the polls show Sharon is currently in the lead with Likud relegated to a mere 12 seats. Peretz for his part followed up with what looks like an attempt to completely eviscerate the Labor party. After promising his rival for the chairmanship Shimon Peres the number 2 spot on the Labor list, he renegged and instead offered him the symbolic 120th spot, thus ending Peres’s Knesset tenure that stretched back to 1959. Peretz has also effectively pushed Peres into the waiting arms of Sharon who has promised Peres a return to his cabinet post of vice premier with additional responsibility over negotiations with the Palestinians and the peace process. Peres has yet to make any final decisions, but really, what would you do?

Peres’s choices may be further narrowed in light of recent comments made by his brother Gigi Peres who, over the weekend stated that “Moroccan-born Labor Chairman Amir Peretz was a “foreign body” in Labor, who along with his people “from North Africa” had taken over the party the way dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco had taken over Spain in the 1930s.” Now, I’ll admit that Peretz is a little brusque and his presence is a tad shocking to the otherwise patrician leadership of the Labor party, but likening him to a fascist is just, you know, undignified. But as much as I enjoy watching Peretz rampage through the Labor party like Rodney Dangerfield in a tony country club, I can’t help thinking he’s making a bad mistake. Whatever… whether run by snobby ashkenazim or Marxist-leaning Moroccans, I never liked Labor anyway. What I do like is an exciting race where the final outcome is not a foregone conclusion (Hello USA! Hello Canada!).

Peretz is not a force to be taken lightly, Sharon’s lead might evaporate in the months leading to the elections and Likud… well, I’m pretty sure Likud’s screwed. But whatever happens, I know I’ll be entertained, and really? When the future of a small nation is at stake, what’s more important than a little entertainment?

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Two things. That graphic is the best ever. I can’t stop laughing. That should be the biggest viral email in Israel’s history. However, I’m afraid that most Jewlicious readers have never seen Caddyshack. I fear they are too young and they don’t realize that it is much better than Old School.

    Secondly, Peretz DID take over the party in a democratic yet extremely shady way. He went the Feiglin route and signed up as many of his cohorts as possible. So he IS a foreign body to that extent but Peres was obviously being a racialist as my good friend Ali G says.

  • First of all if you haven’t seen Caddyshack get the f— out. second that graphic is awesome. I’ve been reading you guys for a little while and you rock!

  • I’ve never seen Cadyshack and I think its f&^*ing collest thing ever.

  • Hey, Shtreimel, is this you?

    From the article:

    His blogger pen name is Shtreimel, the Yiddish word for the round fur hat that a Hasidic man wears on Sabbath.

    He styles himself a heretic, a Brooklyn Hasid with beard and earlocks who does not believe in God, sneaks away to snack on Yom Kippur and sometimes grabs a hamburger that isn’t kosher at McDonald’s. On three blogs that he has kept – changing them like safe houses out of fear of exposure – he has confided his spiritual misgivings and mused about hypocrisies he sees among Hasidim, like a willingness to beat up adherents of a rival sect.

  • Laya, thanks for the Weekend at Yassir’s reminder. That was a serious, laugh out loud, spit your tea at the monitor graphic. This one’s pretty good too.

    That Gigi – who knew Shimon has a brother – may be justifiably angry, but that was a very stupid thing to say. Note that Shimon’s office offered unhesitating and unequivocal public criticism of the comment as soon as it was made public.

    But this does touch on one of the reasons Labor has not been able to beat the Likud in a while. The “Mizrahim” in Israel feel they’re not wanted in Labor. So it takes a brusque man like Peretz, who may or may not have gamed the elections, to break through to the leadership. If he wasn’t being so brutal right now, he would be trying to unify the party instead of doing a putsch.

    As for my earlier post about Sharon having made the mistake of his life, I admitted then as I admit now that I might be wrong. However, regardless of what the polls might show today, the elections are not taking place today but in 4 months…and that’s a lifetime in Israel. Let’s wait and see.

  • Oh, and mad props to ck for depicting Shimon with a skipper’s cap, harking back to his sea-faring days as head of the Israeli navy in ’48. 😉

  • You know, Amir Peretz has been head of Histadrut for a very long time. He’s sort of Israel’s version of the head of the CSN, and has long commanded a good deal of authority. If there is an power elite in Israel, he is certainly part of it. While I hate to cast aspersion on a good ethnic stereotype — I love ck’s posts as much as the next guy — snobs vs slobs doesn’t quite describe this situation.

  • I agree gimpy. I am glad you picked up on the fallacy of the snobs vs. slobs dichotomy. Amir Peretz is a talented, accomplished and intelligent man. Gigi Peres however, is a classless buffoon. The graphic was inspired by his idiotic statements more than anything else.