Israel has the highest poverty rate of all OECD countries. One in three Israeli children are poor. Israel is now on the verge of recession. And our so-called indivisible capital Jerusalem seems more divided than ever. So are Israel’s politicians addressing these problems? Nope. Instead, they’re arguing over how Jewish the country should be. I guess playing the game of who can be more nationalistic is more important for our elected officials than making sure that our children don’t go to bed hungry. What a shame, to say the least.
Unfortunately, I see the situation getting worse before it gets better. Why? Because not only are our politicians not addressing Israel’s real problems, they’re not even thinking about governing and instead looking towards early elections. And if there is a call for early elections, alleviating Israel’s problems and improving the lives of its citizens will be postponed for months of campaigning and then more months of trying to form a government. Meanwhile, many of Israel’s children will still go to bed hungry, Jerusalem will continue to be gripped by fear, and progress towards bringing peace and security to the people of Israel will continue to be nonexistent.
So my message to all of Israel’s politicians is to stop talking about trivial matters, like how Jewish our country to be and start talking about how to deal with the real problems. Start doing something about the high cost of living in the country. Start improving our education system to ensure that Israel’s tradition of scholarship and innovation continues. Start looking for ways to make sure that all Israelis have a roof over their heads, enough food to eat, and the ability to live meaningful lives. Because right now, the people of Israel don’t need more Jewishness or more elections. They need jobs, education, peace, security and most importantly, hope for a better future.