Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Russian "Israelis" Who Don't Feel At "Home" with Lieberman

Last week, we wrote abut the Yediot poll showing a new Russian Immigrant party called "The Israelis" would receive 2 seats, competing with Likud Beitenu over the Russian Immigrant's vote, following Avigdor Lieberman's merge with the Likud.

So who are those Former Soviet Union - Russian "Israelis" who don;'t feel at "Home" with the Likud-Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is our home) joint list?

Lahav Harkov, from the Jerusalem Post, took the challenge upon her to dig deep into the mysterious party, that some claim it is non-more than a Russian front for Tzipi livni's party. 
"A spokeswoman for The Israelis called it “a real party, with amazing people who built themselves up from nothing, without corruption,” that would represent FSU immigrants’ interests. She would not answer questions about connections to Livni. Con also declined to discuss the issue.

A party source said The Israelis are serious about getting into the Knesset, and had been done an injustice by reporters linking it to Livni. “Why would a party that is right-wing on diplomatic issues work with Livni?” the source asked...

According to MK Marina Solodkin (Kadima), who is taking a break from politics after representing immigrants from the FSU since 1996, there is a vacuum in the slates of the major parties, with few Knesset candidates properly representing immigrants, while The Israelis are bringing in new, young faces.

“There are a lot of swing votes, which are worth a few seats,” she said. “There’s a chance [The Israelis] will pass the election threshold.”

“Livni, [Kadima chairman Shaul] Mofaz, [Labor chairwoman Shelly] Yacimovich and others don’t have any heavyweight representatives of the Russian community,” Solodkin said, pointing out that she dropped out of Kadima after being put in the unrealistic No. 9 slot.

“The Russian street is questioning the Likud-Yisrael Beytenu merger. Can they keep [Yisrael Beytenu’s] social liberal agenda?” she asked.

Meanwhile, Leon Litinetsky, a former Labor MK who is No. 34 on the Likud Beytenu list for the next Knesset, explained that he moved parties specifically because Yisrael Beytenu works for the interests of FSU immigrants.

“Yisrael Beytenu is the only one who not only announces that it will help immigrants, it actually does it. No one else has done so much,” he said. “Labor spoke but didn’t act.”

Litinetsky pointed to the high number of Russian-speaking candidates on the Likud- Beytenu list and said that the joint list is likely to be the largest following the election.

“The Israelis won’t be able to take care of immigrants’ problems with so few seats [in the Knesset],” he said.

Litinetsky called Yisrael Beytenu’s merger with the Likud a “natural” step for the parties.

“Immigrants need to integrate into Israeli society. Oy vey, to think what would happen if the party would have remained sectorial,” he said."