20-year-old urges formation of the 'cost-of-living bloc'

Fiery Youth leader calls on other struggling party heads to quit race and back her

With her party projected to fail to clear the Knesset threshold, Hadar Muchtar tries to convince Abir Kara and Yaron Zelekha to bow out; promises them ministerial jobs

Tobias (Toby) Siegal is a breaking news editor and contributor to The Times of Israel.

Hadar Muchtar, leader of Fiery Youth party speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, October 6, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Hadar Muchtar, leader of Fiery Youth party speaks during a press conference in Tel Aviv, October 6, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The leader of the Fiery Youth party Hadar Muchtar has called on two other minor party chiefs to drop out of the race and support her party ahead of the November 1 elections.

Muchtar made the bid to Economic Freedom leader Abir Kara and New Economic Party leader Yaron Zelekha.

According to the polls, all three parties are not expected to cross the minimum 3.5% vote threshold required to enter the Knesset, leading the 20-year-old — who is herself barred from entering the Knesset as a representative due to her young age — to seek new political partnerships.

Muchtar has done so nearly a month after the deadline given to parties to submit their final slates. But that hasn’t stopped her from grabbing the nation’s attention yet again following a sensationalist campaign.

Since they can no longer merge their rosters, Muchtar has called on Kara and Zelekha to join forces ahead of the November 1 elections by quitting the race and backing her Fiery Youth party.

“Together, we are certain to cross the threshold. We will be the deciding factor for any government established in Israel. We will force them to lower the cost of living,” Muchtar said.

Muchtar has said that if her party enters the Knesset with the other two’s support, she will ensure they receive ministerial positions in the next government.

She said that under such an agreement, Kara would be given the position of economy minister and Zelekha the position of finance minister. She has no power to make good on such promises, however, as any ministerial positions would be decided by the next prime minister, who is unlikely to give a lucrative post such as finance minister to a tiny party, even if it does manage to get past the threshold.

Responding to Muchtar in a TV panel broadcasted by Channel 12 on Saturday evening, Kara turned down the deal and suggested a counteroffer.

“I think that every party that is currently below the threshold should unite under the Economic Freedom party, we offer the best economic platform in the next Knesset,” Kara said, touting himself as “the MK with the most achievements in the last government.”

Kara said he and Muchtar had met to discuss her offer on Friday and that he suggested that she establish a youth movement within his own party.

Kara offered some praise to Muchtar, saying “not every 20-year-old could do what she has done,” but also made a subtle jab, noting that “political experience is necessary.”

Answering Kara, Muchtar said: “Kara, I might be young with big ‘brains,’ but you’re a big guy, don’t think small. We have an opportunity to establish the ‘cost-of-living bloc.’ Abir, without me, you’re not crossing the threshold. This is what the viewers at home want.”

Also participating in the panel discussion was Stella Weinstein, who served as the director-general of former prime minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, and currently heads the Thirty Forty party, which has also polled way below the threshold.

Weinstein criticized Muchtar for “inviting ridicule on the critical issue of the cost of living” in Israel. “I don’t think it was the result of bad intentions but of being immature,” she said, accusing the media of “cooperating with this joke.”

Fiery Youth leader Hadar Muchtar offers Economic Freedom leader Abir Kara a ministerial position under her party if they unite and manage to enter the Knesset during a panel broadcasted by Channel 12, October 9, 2022. (Channel 12/screenshot)

Fiery Youth is running on a platform of combating the surging cost of living and corruption, tapping into widespread disaffection among many young people who are disenchanted with the current state of politics and the economy.

The party also advocates greater public involvement in the political process by holding referendums on various issues.

However, it has largely been seen as a sideshow and something of a joke throughout the campaign, due to Muchtar’s often outlandish stunts and apparent dishonesty.

Muchtar thrives on the social media platform TikTok by delivering animated tirades against politicians and Israel’s high cost of living. She has over 91,000 followers on TikTok, as of October 10, and some of her videos receive hundreds of thousands of views.

Muchtar is not formally aligned with the anti- or pro-Netanyahu political blocs and has said she would side with whoever gives her the best offer if her party wins representation.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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