Watching the 2016 election results roll in on TV felt like watching an episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”—it was a night filled with drama. As I watched NBC, I was utterly astonished. The next day, I was personally unaffected when I discovered Donald Trump was our president, but I cannot say the same for others. In a lecture given in my social studies class, the teacher explained that teenagers, our age, felt depressed from the news, which I found more humorous than serious at the time. At my friend’s school, they even held an assembly which was supposedly a “funeral for democracy.” But was it really all necessary? After all, we are still here and alive, and I have continued to live my life just like I did in 2016. I understand that some lifestyles have drastically changed as a result of the election, but personally, as a teenager with little to no political orientation, I have not been affected. Regardless, however, why has our entire political front, both in terms of politicians and citizens, become more like a show on “E!” than politics? And, more importantly, what about Israel?
I find Israeli politics hard to follow at times, at least for my small teenage attention span. After several hours of research, I learned that there are 26 political organizations in the country, and most of them are running for the Knesset on April 9th. I also learned that each candidate is backed by a tycoon.
Even though the election has not officially started, a majority of Israelis have indicated they expect Prime Minister Netanyahu to lead the next government again, despite recent corruption charges. If anything, this is quite ironic, as if the same were to happen to President Trump, Congress might attempt to find the most creative tactic to impeach him as humanly possible. But Israel is different; Netanyahu has enough allies who would continue to support him despite any charges that are to arise. And in the end, it’s those tycoons that sponsor his campaign for re-election. But one of those, in fact, is our very own Kylie Jenner. Or, should I say, President Trump.
The world’s biggest wildcard has returned to the Israel stage after yet another tweetstorm. A couple of weeks ago, Trump, along with Mr. Corruption (Bibi), agreed to formally recognize that Israel has complete sovereignty over the Golan Heights. This came after Trump warranted a two-state solution, which also came after his designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It seems that Netanyahu has essentially taken inspiration from his American counterpart and developed a degree of Trump-Economics of his own, and this corruption scandal could very well be intertwined in that motif.
In my opinion, as a result, Israeli politics has taken an ugly turn and is more focused on replicating American politics. The story is a mirror image of the Kardashian family; it includes wealth and a lot of unnecessary drama. While it is not the citizens of Israel who are the cause of the drama, the presence of tycoons in the mix adds an unnecessary element to the election. After all, the predominant focus of a political election should be on the candidates, what they stand for and the historical background of the party which they are representing. Financial backing takes away a certain degree of diversity from each party and therefore sets them focused on the same right-wing clauses in the same position.
And for the United States, there is much to be said and done. While I do not necessarily approve of most of President Trump’s policies and opinions, there still needs to be a form of tolerance in this country. Instead, we live in a world where we cannot even share our political beliefs due to the fear the person next to us voted for someone else. And this lack of diversity and racial tolerance is not the work of politicians or even the media, but it is rather the work of our paranoid minds. If we could learn to understand each other and stop caring whether our news is from Fox or CNN, maybe this episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians will finally come to a well-needed end, and we will finally return to reality.
Jeremy Bernstein is a junior at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School in Great Neck, N.Y. He is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.
Please note that the opinions in this piece are presented solely by the author, and neither The New York Jewish Week nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
Fresh Ink for Teens is an online magazine written by, and for, Jewish students from high schools around the world.