Whatever your views on Benjamin Netanyahu, the Likud Party, and the upcoming Israeli elections, put them aside for a moment and appreciate this as sheer political art. It is one of the best political ads I have ever seen—funny, warm, surprising and clever. It seems aimed at what I’d think is one of Netanyahu’s prime problems as a political figure, which is his heavy grimness, his air of aggression and constant warning. Here he is playful, jolly, a father figure. In a quick-moving 1:15, the spot takes acutely aimed yet gentle slaps at his opponents; it suggests everyone knows and so it doesn’t have to be explained that Isaac Herzog is weak and confused and Tzipi Livni unreliable and frenetic. The spot has a sort of French feel, with the comic music and the antic husband. Whoever conceived, wrote and directed it knew something most people, at least over here, do not, or at least I didn’t: Netanyahu is a really good actor.
An interesting artistic question, on first viewing, was why they chose not to include children in an ad about babysitting. The answer turns out to be Israeli election law, which does not allow the use of children under 15 in political ads. Netanyahu’s campaign was recently stopped from airing a commercial in which his opponents were portrayed as rowdy schoolchildren. In the babysitter ad, Netanyahu is watching a clip of himself on a screen, and chuckling. The clip apparently comes from the banned ad.