Now on the map, Likud's Anglo candidates lay out their battle plans
The Likud's Anglo candidates are on the map, and the quartet headed by Tal Brody who addressed English-speaking supporters in Jerusalem Tuesday night plan to stay on the political map, contending for safe or realistic spots in the party's December 8 primaries.
Just hours after Brody, the former basketball star, officially announced his candidacy for the Knesset, he joined three other U.S.-born candidates at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center to talk about their Anglo roots with some 100 English-speaking supporters and discuss the policies they intend to implement if they are elected for the 18th Knesset on February 10.
Joining him were Yechiel Leiter, former finance ministry chief of staff; Yossi Fuchs, co-chairman of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel and Daniel Seaman, who is currently on leave from being director of the government's press office.
Brody, who was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and became an Israeli icon after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv past CSKA Moscow - then a Cold War symbol - in the 1977 European Cup final, is a relative newcomer to the political scene.
The former shooting guard said he first thought of entering politics after Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu approached him. After hearing that Brody is involved in education, sports, immigration, absorption and social issues, Netanyahu said he could do the same work more effectively as a politician in the Knesset. Brody, who lives in Ra'anana, is running to represent the coastal district between Tel Aviv and Haifa.
The next panelist, Daniel Seaman, lives in Ashkelon and is running for the Southern district slot. Remembering that his father, who passed away this year, struggled to fit into Israeli society after arriving from the U.S. 37 years ago, Seaman said that while immigrant assistance groups such as the AACI already existed back then, no groups helped newcomers get involved in the political system. "I believe he would have been very happy to have a group of Anglos getting together" to discuss politics, he said.
Yossi Fuchs, a resident of Neve Daniel in Gush Etzion, focused his remarks on the plight of the 2005 Disengagement evacuees from Gaza and pledged to protect Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Though he came to Israel from Brooklyn at age three, he stressed the importance of the Anglo voice. "It's not a very big community of Anglos in Israel, but I think they have to hear from us to know exactly what's happening in the Likud," he told Anglo File. Fuchs, a constitutional lawyer, is competing for Judea and Samaria's slot.
Yechiel Leiter - the only one running for the national list - also spoke about the Disengagement, saying that the "first thing that I am going to deal with in the Knesset" would be to lighten the burden of the evacuees who have "had their honor destroyed."
Putting faces to the names
The event was valuable to the audience, especially registered party members. "I want to vote in the primaries," said Dora Green, a native New Yorker living in Modi'in, "and I think it's very important that I become familiar with each of the candidates."
Beit Shemesh resident and Likud member Elie Kirshenbaum, 21, said that "Kadima had failed" and that he came all the way to Jerusalem "to hear the platform of the people I am about to vote for."
The event was organized by Likud Anglos, a chapter of the party founded in early 2007 with the goal to "empower and unify the Anglo voice within Likud and Israel." Shalom Helman, the group's head, says Likud has between 4,000 and 5,000 Anglo members across the country.
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