The irreverent US comedian’s brother-in-law Yosef Abramowitz, himself no stranger to controversy, has announced his candidacy for the election on June 10, 2014.
She is famous for her potty-mouth and her irreverence, but could comedian Sarah Silverman soon be part of Israel’s first family? On Monday, Israel set 10 June as the date for its next presidential election, and Silverman’s brother-in-law, Yosef Abramowitz, has announced his candidacy.
Silverman is close to US-born Abramowitz, and famously featured him in a joke on American television when he married her sister Susan. “So now my sister is Susan Silverman-Abramowitz,” she said on Saturday Night Live. “But they are thinking about shortening it to just ‘Jews’.”
She also has a record of involving herself in presidential politics. During the 2012 election campaign in the US, she let fly against voter identification laws that made it harder for Democrat-supporting demographics to vote. She asked in a viral video: “Hey black people, old people, poor people and students, guess what you all have in common?” Her answer: “Law-makers are trying to fuck you in your arseholes.”
In Israel and the Jewish world, Silverman’s sister, Abramowitz’s wife, is also famous. She is a Reform rabbi, which in a country in which the male-only Orthodox rabbinate rules the roost, is counter-cultural. And she has fought against the Orthodox monopoly of religion in the public sphere. Police detained her in February 2013 for praying publicly while wearing a prayer shawl at the Western Wall, where this right was reserved for men. The law has since changed, and Rabbi Silverman’s detention is widely seen as a catalyst.
The two Silverman women complement Abramowitz’s own image as a subversive campaigner. His activism has resulted in his arrest in both the US and Israel, and he led two hunger strikes in the 1980s, one against South African apartheid and one for the right of a Soviet Jew to leave the then USSR for Israel.
“I think a president who comes from an activist background would be most welcome to help give expression to society’s yearning for social and economic justice,” he says, referring to the widespread dissatisfaction about high living costs that sparked mass social protests three years ago.
A solar power entrepreneur, Abramowitz has some bold ideas for the presidency. “The First Citizen should set an example by driving an electric car charged with solar panels that can be installed on the president’s residence,” he says. “If we are privileged as a family to move into the official residence, it will become vegetarian, including for state dinners.”
His opponents consider him a wildcard – and he has little chance of winning. But if the 2012 US race is any precedent, Silverman will stop at almost nothing to get the president she wants. In a flirty video, she addressed the elderly gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson regarding his support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney, saying: “If you give that $100m to Obama instead of Romney, I will scissor you wearing a bikini bottom through to fruition.”
Given that Adelson owns the mass circulation Israel Hayom newspaper – and determines its editorial line – perhaps another indecent proposal is on its way.
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