Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the news lately for his harshly critical views of the new Palestinian unity government, has found something else to condemn, albeit jokingly: smart phone users. Netanyahu, sounding a bit like American comedian Louis CK, teased reporters about their smart phones as they snapped photos of him just before a press conference. Here's the video, flagged by Times of Israel reporter Adiv Sterman:
"I don't get this new world. Everybody's taking pictures," he said, pantomiming photo-taking. "When do they have time to do live? Only taking pictures, that's all they do."
"If you didn't take a picture, it's like you never actually lived it. I lived and didn't take a pictured," he said, switching between Hebrew and English, a bit of code-switching common in Israel. He concludes, "So I'm the only person here without all these electronic devices. And I'm a free man and you're all slaves. You're slaves to your gadgets. You're slaves."
Obviously Netanyahu was just joking, in the way that anyone of his generation in any country is apt to do. Still, it may not shock you, after watching this video, to learn that Netanyahu's party has not exactly been scoring home runs with the Israeli youth vote.
In Israel's latest national election, in January 2013, Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party did retain its lead, but it lost share among youth voters as part of a larger shift in Israeli politics. Young right-leaning Israelis moved in large numbers from Likud to support the far-right Home Party, a nationalist and pro-settler party that is attempting to pull Netanyahu to the political right and opposes negotiations with Palestinians.
Obviously Israeli youth did not switch their political allegiance because Netanyahu doesn't take selfies, but the point is that there is a growing disaffection with Netanyahu's party among young Israelis, who are not excited about Netanyahu, and that's a part of a larger and actually-significant change in Israeli politics.