Jerusalem Mayoral Debate or Comedy Night
Did you catch the Jerusalem mayoral debate held Saturday night at the Great Synagogue? Well I was there but it really should have been advertised as more of a comedy showcase then a political debate.
The night’s follies began with an under-prepared Great Synagogue staff unable to accommodate over a thousand Anglos that showed up to the event. While everyone was trying to push their way in to the building, I noticed that the security went to lock all the doors…that seemed safe…
Then after they opened one door they refused to let the press in. That’s right, they refused the reporter from The Economist, BBC, and even the photographer from The Jerusalem Post (who hosted the event).
Of course the staff and security claimed they were over capacity and couldn’t let anyone else in. Did I mention that Nir Barkat and his entourage hadn’t arrived yet. Were they not going to let him in to his own debate? And, with peop le already sitting on the staircases and standing in open places, the synagogue was clearly already breaking the law, so their point was baseless.
Ok, so the mob scene was the first act in the comedy showcase but the best was yet to come.
First, Meir Porush (the religious cartoon) spoke. And although the event was promoted as an English speaking event, Porush just couldn’t do it. Instead, the audience was made to listen to a horrible translator cut Porush off and summarize, rather than translate what he was saying. It was awkward, but the show continued and it kept getting worse.
Next was Mr. Random himself, Dan Birron, who decided to run for mayor two weeks ago after he heard Barkat was planning to join forces with former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri in his mayoral team. Later, during Nir Barkat’s speech (talk about fashionably late, he showed up an hour after the “debate” started) he denied speaking with Deri and had no intentions of working with him. So does that mean Birron is out? Either way he definitely made an impression on the audience. He started his monologue by stating he was at the debate out of protest since he believes there should be a separation between state and religion…I feel like he is in the wrong country. He seemed to be stoned, or maybe that was just his long hair and random talk about his father, gay marriage and issues with people telling him where to eat. Sounds like he really thought about what he would do if he became mayor…
The night of laughter continued with Arkadi Gaydamak. I understood that Gaydamak’s Hebrew wasn’t so great, but I thought he would at least know English. I believe that in this part of the comedy show, the audience was about to see what political improv looks like— and it is ugly. Gaydamak started almost every sentence with, “I don’t know,” “I’m not a professional,” and ‘I am not a politician.” It was scary to see what he would say next. He went on and on about Arab equality, which is nice but being a business man he should know about targeting his audience, and man was he speaking to the wrong crowd. He was the only one to get an actual “boo” from the angry Anglos who didn’t like his statement about Israel being Arab land…or at least that is what it sounded like he said.
Finally Barkat, the grand finale, had a sweet speech that for once didn’t sound like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. Although he seems over-rehearsed, Barkat is the only intelligent and prepared candidate who would be a good mayor for Jerusalem.
In short here is what you missed. Or at least my version of it.
Porush: G-d will help me build thousands of homes for all my haredi homies and if we pray enough then the other guys can get housing too. Yay G-d!
Birron: I smoked too much pot on the way here, but man my voice sounds cool on a microphone. I have the munchies and I will eat brownies, even if they are not kosher. Don’t stop me Porush. Yay marijuana!
Gaydamak: I like power. I like money. I wore a big black velvet kippa to help get votes, but talked about Arabs a lot. I am not a politician. I am not a professional. I don’t know. I need to stay in Israel or they are going to lock me up. I don’t know what to say? Maybe I can buy their votes! Yay money!
Barkat: I am the only person here who knows what he is talking about. Plus my English is awesome and I know I am hot for a 50-year-old. Can’t I just win already? I wore my nicest Gap sweater. Yay Gap!
So if you didn’t make it last night. Well you didn’t miss much. A night of laughs and good times. I say, when these guys lose the election to Barkat, they should give them their own comedy sitcom. I know I would watch it!