Likud Knesset Members Conspicuous in Their Absence at English-language Parley

Only MK's Tzipi Hotovely and Gila Gamliel turned up for Tuesday evening's 'Anglo-oriented political event' in the cavernous ballroom of Jerusalem's Ramada Hotel.

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It was an event that its Anglo organizers said was in the works for months: an evening with Likud MK's, engaged in a rare English-language question-and-answer session with Jerusalemite voters ahead of this month's Likud primary.

But it was the no-shows - the MK's canceled the night before for a variety of reasons, according to the event's organizers, yet dispatched underlings to plaster the ballroom's seats with their campaign literature - who stole the show, prompting one the evening's hosts to fire a shot across the electoral bow.

"Some, if not most, maybe even all of you have already asked yourselves 'where are the Knesset Members?'" said a slightly irritated Fred Moncharsh in his introductory remarks. "An excellent question. Where are they?"

A press release sent to journalists a week before the event noted that "eight-10 current Likud MK's" were expected to attend before "an audience of around 500." Yet, only two MK's showed up.

Monscharsh, originally from San Francisco, California and a resident of Israel since 1987, said the evening's numbers reflected a stark political reality.

"One of the main reasons that so many of the MK's have justified to themselves that it's okay to cancel without much regret is that the 'Anglo' community in Israel has not yet learned the value and effect of kombinot, said Monscharsh, using the pejorative Hebrew word that generally denotes "cunning deals."

But Monscharsh said Anglos in Israel needed to learn how to strike deals with politicians "for mutual advantage," or else continue to witness more no-shows. "We Westerners need to be in the game," he continued. "We need to get on the playing field. We are at a huge disadvantage, and this is not just within Likud."

Only MK's Tzipi Hotovely and Gila Gamliel turned up for Tuesday evening's "Anglo-oriented political event" in the cavernous ballroom of Jerusalem's Ramada Hotel, sponsored by the "Achdut VeEmuna" (Unity and Faith ) organization that comprises mainly veteran Anglo immigrants. The MK's were repeatedly praised for not disappointing the 60 or so English-speakers in the audience, and they made it through their English presentations and a laborious 14-question set unscathed.

Tzipi Hotovely, left, and Gila Gamliel speaking on Tuesday.Credit: Shiran Granot