In a country long known for fractious political parties, the emergence of the Israeli Pirate Party may top them all.
One of 34 parties competing in the upcoming Jan. 22 election, the Israeli Pirate Party was founded by 33-year-old, ponytailed leader Ohad Shem-Tov, who showed up at the Knesset to register the party wearing a scarf on his head and a hook on his hand, the Associated Press reported.
Influenced by Hollywood movies like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and general western romanticized views of pirates, the groups often wear pirate costumes and speak in pirate voices.
However, the Pirate Party does focus on serious issues. Founded as part of a larger movement of international pirate parties that began in Sweden in 2006, the movement is connected to concerns over the freedom of information, including reforming international copyright and patent law related to the controversial, yet popular Bit Torrent file-sharing platform.
“Dressing up is a gimmick, it’s a way to draw attention,” Shem-Tov admits. “But this party is serious, even if we use a little humor and do it with a smile.”