Kafe Knesset for October 9

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu waves prior to addressing a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington

Family man: Israelis are very familiar with Bibi’s family story. They are especially familiar with his legendary brother, Yoni Netanyahu, who was killed leading the Entebbe raid in 1976. But Americans got to see the prime minister’s softer side in an interview making waves in both countries. TMZ’s Harvey Levin interviewed Netanyahu for his Fox News show “OBJECTified” last night. The PM’s family came into focus repeatedly. Bibi teared up when talking about Yoni and how he had to tell his parents that their son had been killed in action. The Prime Minister said that his sons keep him in the loop on what people are saying about him on the Internet. This is interesting to note in light of Yair’s controversial Facebook posts and that Netanyahu strongly discourages his children from entering politics. Netanyahu also described the family’s Shabbat meals, at which they discuss the weekly Torah portion, and the rules are no politics and no phones. Netanyahu, who is known to complain about the “fake news” media, complained about the “instant referendum” of the Internet: “What happens is that you have political leaders who are constantly bombarded by polarized opinions and I don’t think that’s a good thing.”

Sukkah-hopping with politicians: Another name for Sukkot is Zman Simchatenu “The Time of our Happiness.” For those in the political sphere, the joyful vibes could be because they spend the week at parties. The biggest political Sukkah party of all is probably the one hosted by Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz. Katz throws his party at his home in Moshav Kfar Achim. Plenty of MKs and thousands of Likudniks trekked out to the moshav to pay tribute to Katz, who announced his intention to run for leader in the Likud after Netanyahu leaves office. Katz’s use of banners with a new slogan “a leader of vision and action” and a teleprompter may indicate that he thinks the PM’s departure will come sooner, rather than later, and he wants to get a leg up on potential competitors. Others hoping to step up when the PM leaves office include former minister Gideon Sa’ar and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

Another annual Sukkot tradition is President Rivlin opening up his sukka to the public, though today’s first rain of the Jewish year in Israel put a literal damper on the event. The sukka party was supposed to shift from President Rivlin’s Jerusalem residence to Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, new Labor leader Avi Gabbay is holding an open sukka event of his own today, as part of his efforts to reach out to nontraditional Labor voters. And Shas held a mega-event at Menora Mivtachim Arena, a Tel Aviv stadium, with Haredi musical star Yaakov Shwekey.


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