Or, why I voted for Aleh Yarok
I love Israel. Let’s just put that on the table, shall we?
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I’m amazed at this awe-inspiring can-do country, that has built an incredible and powerful little nation among a world full of less-than-awesome and terrifying large states.
I love that Israel has not just won wars of survival against enormous odds. I love that on the whole, Israel is progressive in its social culture, open in its education, advanced in its science and technology, visionary in its R&D, and respectful of its history. I love that many Israelis care about the environment. I admire the fact that so many Israelis care about art. I love that people want to build a future here, despite the challenges and hardships, like the sky high housing costs and routine living expenses. I love that we have all sorts of colorful characters in this country.
And as I look around and see how all these great and glorious things are being squashed by the system of government, I can’t help but feel disenchanted, disenfranchised and disappointed.
And it’s because I love Israel for all these reasons and more, that in last week’s 20th Knesset Elections, I voted for Aleh Yarok.
Basically, I voted for them as a protest against the established order.
Why would I do that? Why would I give my vote to such a fringe party with almost no hope of getting into the Knesset, and even less chance of making any real change?
Well, if you’re not familiar with the Israeli elections process, let me sum it up for you in two words: It’s rigged.
The entire process is a sham of representative democracy. Voters only get to vote for parties. Those parties select their own representatives who will sit in the government’s legislative body, the Knesset, and the political horse trading that comes after the election decides which leader of the coalition that is formed, will be the next Prime Minister. That PM decides, based on more horse trading, who will have what seat in the cabinet.
The whole thing is a cabal of self-interested parties doing anything to keep their hooks into the system of power, except actually doing their job.
And practically every government “falls” before its full term, calling up yet another election circus, whose most prominent players all promise pie in the sky while they know full well that they are only going to keep things the way they are, even at the expense of our future.
In other words, every MK thinks they are some kind of national representative, because they answer to zero local constituencies. As citizens, Israelis have absolutely no say in what the government decides to do. All Israelis get to do, is decide which parties are likely to engage in all that shady political clap trap, in order to ensure the self-sustaining continuance of the status quo.
In brief, our internal politics are the shame of our country. And no one in any seat of any kind of authority is brave or bold enough to say it, and actually do something about it.
And I for one am sick and tired of it.
I’m sick and tired of watching my country ignore its real perils for the comforts of today.
I’m sick and tired of debating with people about what should or should not be done, when they won’t even deal with the first problem that prevents all the others from being dealt with.
I’m sick and tired of hearing “but what about right now?” when that is irrelevant compared to the future we are building … or destroying.
I’m sick and tired of active, engaged and intelligent people, you know, citizens, saying they want things to be better, only to do nothing about it.
I’m sick and tired of foreign leaders telling us how right or how wrong we are for choosing our leaders, when in fact, we do no such thing.
And I’m sick and tired of helping the established order continue to ruin our children’s future.
I voted for Aleh Yarok, because even though I knew they didn’t have a chance of winning even a single mandate, and even though I know that even if they did, they would not get anything on their platform done, at least I can support their vague notions of making education affordable for all, protecting the environment, and progress on social issues that matter to people’s daily lives. But really, …
I voted for Aleh Yarok to register my vote against the status quo.
I voted my protest vote, because I believe that only by being self-critical, can we acknowledge our flaws, and work on them to improve our lot in life.
I voted, because it is my right.
If we really want to improve Israel, we should demand now, on the heels of this election, and until it is achieved, that the nation’s map be drawn to represent a constituency for each seat in the Knesset. There are 120 seats, so there should be 120 constituencies. It could be more, or less, I really don’t care. But the people should vote for their parliamentarians and Prime Minister directly, and not for their parties. Barring that, no local issues can get solved, no MKs have to answer to anyone, and every MK, Cabinet Member and PM can and will always use the excuses of “National Security” and “The Economy” to trump any and all other discussion of real-life issues.
If you can never “throw the bums out”, then how do you ever expect things to improve?
If we really want to make Israel a better place to call home, then we need real direct representative democracy.
And until we have that, I will continue to choose whether or not to vote, based on my right and my view of how best to send a message to the powers that be, that they do not represent me or my desire to see Israel grow up, and blossom into a more perfect nation.
Down with the cabal. Up with the people!
May good bless the State of Israel.
Full disclosure: When not castigating government, politics and injustice, Yasha Harari spreads the best medicine, humor, for free, to millions of people, writes music and composes songs, has performed in front of millions of people, built and torn down homes and invested in music, the internet, media and political organizations in the U.S., Europe and Israel.