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Repeating Obama Israeli style

Fadi Abu Sada- (MENASSAT) Obama’s sweeping victory was one of the most successful in history. His charismatic speeches and the use of technology, specifically his use of the Internet, left a huge impact on how political campaigns in Israel are being carried out for the upcoming February 2009 election.

The Kadima Party, led by Israeli Foreign Minister Tveni Levni, who present themselves as the moderate, centrist party, are trying to gain the trust of the citizens by using a black and white picture exactly like the one Obama used with that exact same slogan, “Believe Me.”

While, the conservative Likud Party, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, went all out copied and pasted, re-designing his campaign web site to mirror Obama's. The former prime minister, who served for three years in the late-1990s, even hired two low-level Obama political consultants.

What is most surprising is what the religious right-wing Shas party took from Obama’s campaign - the direct slogan “Yes we can,” and of course they added a twist – “…with God’s help.”

Obama gave Israelis hope for change

Yacov Izra from Radio Israel Arabic spoke with MENASSAT about the so-called Israeli-Obama Phenomenon.  “In fact Obama winning the US presidency did leave a big impact on the Israeli parties and their election campaigns. The main reason for this is the huge success that Obama had and was used as a source of inspiration.”

He continued, “Obama came like a Christ – he is someone that oppressed minorities in the world have been waiting for, especially that he also comes from an oppressed minority inside the United States. Most of the donations he got for his campaign came from ordinary people or even poor people. This is what pushed Israelis to say that they are going to stand for the weak and poor.”

And then Izra took an old Arabic saying, which goes. “The one who is never jealous is a donkey.” 

One of the Arab Members of Knesset of the Kadima party, Majli Whbee told MENASSAT that Obama gave Israelis hope for change.

“Obama is an example of the possibility for change. We see how different he is from the other candidates and we see his capacity to change the opinions of the American public, this gave Israelis a lot of hope that, “Yes, they can” while it used to be “No, they can’t.”

Less to do with Obama

According to the Israeli journalist and analyst Arnold Rigoler the Obama fever in Israel has less to do with Obama himself, and more to do with learning from the successes of an election campaign, in general.

He told MENASSAT, “ With all of the election campaigns around the world, it is normal that they are affected by one another, especially the successful ones. It also had to do with the fact that the timing of the Israeli elections was so close to the US elections.”

“The three big parties, Kadima, Likud and the Labor Party all have interests in using some of Obama’s slogans only because they want to get messages across, locally and internationally, about their true positions on the issues that they might be faced with if they win the election.”