Registering new party, YouTube star urges public to vote ‘F**k’
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Registering new party, YouTube star urges public to vote ‘F**k’

Semeon Grafman wants to take his internet fame in online video rants to the Knesset

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

Semeon Grafman at Central Elections Committee, February 20, 2019 (Courtesy)
Semeon Grafman at Central Elections Committee, February 20, 2019 (Courtesy)

With the Central Elections Committee opening its doors Wednesday for parties to register slates ahead of April’s elections, all eyes are on the some 13 major parties jostling for the Knesset’s 120 seats, with several last-minute merger deals between them still in the works.

But with over 60 parties having taken registration forms (24 ran in the last election), it’s the smaller, less well-known entities that provided most of the action on the first of the two days on which parties can present their candidate lists.

If the one-man “Protecting Our Children — Stop Feeding Them Porno” party stole the show in 2015 as the most unexpected political faction to resister for the elections that year, in 2019, it was the “Fuck” party undoubtedly stole the limelight on Wednesday.

Officially, the party of former YouTube star Semeon Grafman is called “Betach – Bitachon Chevrati,” meaning “Social security,” but presenting its list of 12 candidates to Central Election’s Committee chair, Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, the eccentric 44-year-old said he wanted the party to be known by something else.

Representatives of the Central Elections Committee, February 20, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Filing a request for the party to be represented on ballot slips by the Hebrew letters פק, read phonetically as “fk,” Grafman told the judge, “It’s ‘Fuck,’ it sounds better in English.”

Speaking to The Times of Israel after presenting his list, Grafman said, “not only do I think we will be elected to the Knesset, I know it.”

In fact, Grafman has even loftier goals. “I would like to join the coalition and be minister. I think I would make a wonderful welfare minister,” he said.

Grafman is known for his viral YouTube channel with over 30,000 subscribers and close to 5 million views, where he uploads videos of himself ranting about the state of public services and politics in Israel. In light of his success, the Channel 13 program “HaTzinor” has used him as a regular guest and presenter of various comic segments.

Before his internet fame, he was arrested in 2009 in the US on suspicion of fraud and money laundering, eventually serving a year and a half in federal prison before returning to Israel in 2015, when he started his YouTube channel.

​Asked which side of the political spectrum he would place his party, Grafman said, “I will sit in a coalition with [Benny] Gantz or [Benjamin] Netanyahu if they agree to our demands.”
And what are those demands? “We want to change everything,” Grafman said, without elaborating.
“We will try our best, and if not, fuck it,” he said, in a possible sneak peek at his election campaign slogan.
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