If Ben & Jerry's Made Ice Cream Flavors for Israeli Politicians

After a Ben & Jerry's founder designed his newest flavor with Bernie Sanders in mind, Haaretz takes a satirical look at how Israeli politicians could inspire their own ice cream treats. Care for a taste of Penal Butter Swirl or Settlemint Bloc Chip?

Liz Steinberg
Liz Steinberg
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu enjoying some ice cream.
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu enjoying some ice cream.Credit: Amos Biderman
Liz Steinberg
Liz Steinberg

U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders received his sweetest endorsement yet - from one of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream powerhouse from his home state of Vermont. “Bernie’s Yearning,” released by Ben Cohen’s private brand “Ben’s Best,” was designed with an eye to Sander’s campaign platform - the mint ice cream comes topped with a solid chocolate disk to represent the economic gains of the 1%.

How inspirational. There are plenty of notables in Israeli politics, too, who could lend themselves to some mighty fine ice cream flavors. Here are the top eight.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s Pure Vanilla - This flavor is specially made for those who fear chocolate, nuts and ethnic mixing. The education minister recently came under fire for backing his ministry’s decision to exclude from the national high school curriculum Dorit Rabinyan’s “Borderlife,” a book about a love affair between a Jewish Israeli and a Palestinian. The ministry disqualified the novel based on the argument that high schoolers were not mature enough to understand the implications of intermarriage. Don’t want to risk expanding your mind with new flavors? This ice cream is for you.

Illustration.Credit: Eran Wolkowski

Culture Minister Miri Regev’s Nutty Banana Budget Freeze - Yes, we live in a democracy with the right to free speech, but Israel’s culture minister thinks the state shouldn’t have to fund any art that 'subverts' it. Regev made the news again Tuesday after it was revealed that she is working on a draft bill that would make funding for cultural dependent on their loyalty to the state. If you want to make sure proceeds from your purchase are not used toward flavors you disagree with, then this ice cream is for you. Have no fear - no revenue from this ice cream will be used to produce Subversive Strawberry.

IllustrationCredit: Eran Wolkowski

MK Oren Hazan’s Junkie Monkey Casino Chip Royale - This bad boy of Israeli politics has been careening from scandal to scandal, despite his brief tenure and his tender age. Two months after being sworn in to the Knesset in March, a Channel 2 investigative report alleged that Hazan did drugs with guests and procured prostitutes at a casino he managed in Bulgaria before entering politics. Hazan has denied the report and vowed to sue the reporter and the television channel for libel. A week later, female employees of a Tel Aviv bar he’d owned accused him of sexual assault; he’s also been accused of assaulting a municipal official in his hometown of Ariel. Hazan has denied both allegations. As a Likud MK, he mocked a fellow lawmaker for her disabilities - twice - leading to a one-month suspension from the Knesset. Most recently, the state comptroller has said Hazan could face jail time for lying in a deposition on campaign funding. Hazan maintains he did not lie or break any rules. In the words of Hazan’s Godfather-inspired campaign ad, this is an ice cream you can’t refuse.

Likud MK Oren Hazan mocks the Knesset plenum as State Comptroller Joseph Shapira awaits his fall.Credit: Amos Biderman

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Penal Butter Swirl – The former Jerusalem mayor and prime minister is now a convicted felon. Olmert was convicted of taking bribes as part of the Holyland affair, involving a bombastic real-estate project in Jerusalem. He recently had his prison sentence cut to 18 months, down from six years, and was cleared of some charges. He is due to start serving his sentence next month. This flavor pairs well with former president and convicted rapist Moshe Katsav’s Impeaches and Cream.

Olmert going to jailCredit: Amos Biderman

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s Settlemint Bloc Chip - Israel’s defense minister has repeatedly raised the ire of Israel's allies, including the United States, by approving controversial construction and expansion in West Bank settlements. The most recent incident occurred earlier this month, after Ya’alon approved the establishment of a new settlement inside a church compound near Gush Etzion. We recommend enjoying this flavor on a lonely hilltop.

Credit: Eran Wolkowski

MK Stav Shaffir’s Spicy Ginger Crunch - The Knesset’s youngest member has been getting under the skin of Israel’s rich and well-connected even before her election, as one of the leaders of the 2011 social justice protests. The Labor Party MK’s greatest accomplishments have been in her pushes for financial transparency: As the most vocal member of the Knesset Finance Committee, she loudly intervenes as hundreds of millions of shekels change hands without parliamentary oversight. Proceed with caution with this ice cream - it’s not interested in being a crowd pleaser.

Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog’s Soft Serve - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not have asked for a more malleable opposition leader. Far from putting Netanyahu in the hot seat, the Labor Party leader has reportedly been keen to join Netanyahu’s hawkish coalition. Herzog most recently made headlines for calling to “separate from as many Palestinians as possible,” a statement more suited to a Netanyahu ally than the leader of Israel’s largest center-left party. Creamy and pliable, this ice cream is guaranteed to please.

Haaretz Daily Cartoon - 23/02/15Credit: Amos Biderman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Million Dollar Pistachio - No subject is too small for a scandal in Israeli politics. Indeed, three years ago the Netanyahu family came under fire for their ice cream budget, after it emerged that the Prime Minister’s Residence had a contract to buy 10,000 shekels ($2,700) worth of ice cream a year from a local parlor. Although Netanyahu’s bureau responded that the sum was not necessarily meant to be spent in its entirety, that contract was canceled hours after the expose surfaced. As for why the ice cream shop received the contract without a tender, apparently it carried flavors that Netanyahu likes - vanilla and pistachio. Sometimes the best comedy is 100% real, even if this joke is on us.

Allison Kaplan Sommer, Ruth Schuster, Simon Spungin, Roy Isacowitz and the rest of the English editorial team contributed to this article

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