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Chatzi Hamalkut

Chatzi hamalchut comes from Megillat Esther. Ahasuerus tells Esther three times that he would do anything for her "even to half the kingdom, it shall be granted you".

    In the coalition negotiations after Israel's general elections, Bibi Netanyahu made strenuous efforts to tempt Tzipi Livni to join a unity government. He offered her party a large number of cabinet positions and the vice premiership - or, in the media's shorthand, chatzi hamalchut- half of the kingdom.

    The unnoticed implications of such an expression seemed lost on both reporters and politicians who have been using it constantly in recent weeks. Chatzi hamalchut comes from Megillat Esther. Ahasuerus tells Esther three times that he would do anything for her "even to half the kingdom, it shall be granted you".

    Is Bibi the foolish king who offers too much to woo his consort? Is Tzipi a wily woman relying on her charm to navigate in the male-dominated world of politics?For those whose first encounter with Hebrew was in a religious context, it is hard to shake off the biblical significance of expressions. We cannot use chatzi hamalchut unburdened of its original connotations as many native Hebrew speakers can. In this case, it is an advantage. We have the pleasure of enjoying a live Purim spiel just days before the festival, with Israel's two most important leaders playing the main parts.

Jewish words

Darchei Shalom

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Darchei Shalom
Jewish words

Chizuk

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Chizuk
Jewish words

Harat Olam

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Harat Olam
Jewish words

Ga'agua

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Ga'agua
Jewish words

Nafka Mina

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Nafka Mina
Jewish words

Machzor

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Machzor
Jewish words

Geshmack

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Geshmack
Jewish words

Neilah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Neilah
Jewish words

Taharah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Taharah