Columns - 2006

    Kadima moves forward

    On the heels of the recent Israeli election victory by Ariel Sharon's new Kadima party, a new player has entered the political picture.

    The Kadima party, founded near the end of 2005, has seen its election victory challenged by Kadima, the middle school youth group of the Conservative Jewish movement.

    According to a spokesboy for Kadima, the youth group, "We believe that people might have been confused by the name on the ballot and really meant to vote for us.

    "Sharon formed his party last fall. We've been having parties for decades."

    This latest development appears to be inspired, at least in part, by the current court trial in which Apple Corps, the record label founded by The Beatles, is challenging Apple Computer who they believe should not use an apple logo in their iTunes music store.

    Also, two Kadima members went on the internet and, despite protection behind parental controls, were able to access past presidential campaign information. They learned that the 1988 presidential campaign for Paul Simon took its fatal nosedive when voters realized that the candidate was in fact the longtime, well-respected senator from Illinois, and not the popular singer/songwriter.

    "What's in a name?" asked the Kadima, the youth group's, spokesboy. "A tremendous amount, we believe."

    Reaction in Israel has ranged from guarded to positive, as most of the country is not interested in inviting any additional disputes.

    Rather than react negatively to the threat of legal action, Kadima party leadership is open to talks. "As we work to form a successful coalition," says Kadima party leader Ehud Olmert, "we are willing to listen to all parties who might have a direct role in our government."

    When asked what help could be expected from sixth and seventh-graders half a world away, Olmert said, "The world is different in the eyes of a child.

    "We've all been neck-deep in the situation for so long, perhaps we could benefit from the perspective of our youth, unburdened by decades of cynicism, politics, and built-up emotion."

    The Kadima youth group is itself holding a party, where between viewing the last two Harry Potter films they provided initial clues into what they could bring to the table.

    One Kadima leader, speaking on condition of anonymity at her parent's request, said, "We just want everyone in Israel and its neighbors to live happy, safe lives."

    But these kids also have insight into the harder issues. "The world has forgotten that what they call Occupied Territories were taken during a war instigated not by Israel, but by all the countries surrounding it.

    "And these surrounding countries didn't welcome or help the Palestinians either. Israel's often tried to do more for the Palestinians than their own religious and cultural brothers."

    Members of several religious factions hail Kadima's challenge to Kadima. Representatives of the Masorti movement, the Israeli movement of Conservative Judaism, are thrilled at the potential for additional influence in Israeli politics from a Conservative entity.

    Even some members of the ultra-Orthodox believe this to be a challenge based on divine providence. "After all," said one high-ranking member of the Shas party who requested to not be named, "Isaiah said, 'and a little child shall lead them.'"

    Other Shas party members, who are far less enamored with what they view as a publicity stunt, are rumored to be convening a rabbinical review to find any relevant loopholes to the biblical commandment, "don't cook a kid in its mother's milk."

    It is uncertain at this time what court will handle the Kadima youth group's claim, and certainly uncertain whether that court will hear the case or simply throw it out.

    But preparations are well underway in both Kadima entities. The Kadima youth group is promoting a grass-roots approach of bringing old, simple ideals back and applying them to Israel's future well-being.

    This "Back to the Future" campaign could itself stir controversy because Universal Pictures has not yet granted Kadima the right to use any of the popular film trilogy's footage in their promotional materials.

    And the Kadima party reportedly is preparing for a drawn out court battle under the banner of "No More Kidding Around."

    Doug Brook was president of his Kadima chapter and looks forward to using his complete lack of political experience to help forge an effective resolution to the ongoing Middle East situation. For more information, past columns, and other writings, visit his website at

    Copyright Doug Brook. All rights reserved.