In most countries that have a somewhat successful democratic regime, satirical shows can come and shed light on some of the country’s less democratic aspects.
A fabulous new Israeli satire show premiered last week, “Tonight with Guri Alfi.” Hosted by famous Israeli comedian Guri Alfi, it looks like it’s trying to be an Israeli version of the Daily Show.
In an especially funny skit, comedian Evyatar Halimi calls the foreign affairs department of the Knesset, pretending to be an Indian delegate organizing a conference on democracy and “stability and regime decentralization.” He wants to raise Israel’s democracy index (currently rated 7.63, ranking 35th, between Taiwan and Slovenia) and to do that he needs the names of some ministers to invite them to the conference. The problem? Every single minister he asks for turns out to be the same person: Benjamin Netanyahu.
אביתר חלימי התחזה למעננו לנציג מהממשלה ההודית והרים שיחת טלפון תמימה לכנסת.זה מה שקרהPosted by היום בלילה עם גורי אלפי on Thursday, December 31, 2015
Pretty hilarious, right?
Yes, it was easy not to notice, what with all the recent sexual harassment scandals in the Knesset, but Benjamin Netanyahu is currently heading up five different ministries in addition to being the Prime Minister of the State of Israel. And while it’s not unusual for the same person to be the head of one, two or even three ministries, or for the prime minister to lead a ministry, especially intermittently, 5 different ministries seems a bit… extreme.
Hopefully, that will change soon enough. Silvan Shalom just vacated his own ministry in December after 11 women made allegations of sexual harassment against him. But the ministry of economy has been in Netanyahu’s hand for over a year now. Which is, in itself, a slight cause for concern: these are some of the country’s most important portfolios, and it’s worrisome to see one man have a monopoly over so much power.
Still, Israel’s democracy index is higher than Poland’s and Greece’s. So, you know, it could be worse.
Lior Zaltzman is the Forward’s Digital Fellow and a wearer of many hats. When she’s not tweeting from the Forward’s account, she’s creating illustrations, graphics and lists for the various Forward blogs. She can also make comics out of your bad dates in #OYDATE. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in cartooning. Lior Zaltzman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on twitter @liorca.