My name is Yair Lapid and I am the Chairman of the Yesh Atid party. Yesh Atid means “there is a future.” I know you all believe this, because you are here. Those of you who moved to Israel from English-speaking countries are called “olim of choice.” You made the difficult decision to return to our ancient homeland because you WANTED to live here. You were not being rescued from oppression, danger or poverty. You ran TO something, and not FROM something. That something is the future of the Jewish People, in the place where it is most vibrant, and most promising. Israel.
Almost immediately upon your arrival, you became an integral part of Israeli society, which also makes you well-aware of our problems. But English-speakers are classically dreamers and optimists who feel empowered to be part of the solution. That is why Yesh Atid is your natural political home.
Imagine Israel returning to the top of international surveys on educational success. An overhaul of our failing education system is necessary, and Yesh Atid has a plan to make that happen including returning the schools to principals and teachers in place of government bureaucrats, reducing the number of standardized exams so teachers can actually educate instead of teaching to these tests, and more.
Imagine an Israel in which everyone, including the fervently religious and Torah scholars, serve the country, either by enlisting in the army, or by volunteering in national service programs. You experienced an Ultra-Orthodox population that was part of society in your native countries, and Yesh Atid has a plan to help make that happen here in Israel.
Imagine an Israel in which young entrepreneurs and small businesses owners had far more support. The current system often encourages these promising professionals to seek their fortunes abroad while discouraging others from ever pursuing their business dream. The Yesh Atid plan will stimulate small business growth while keeping our best minds here, at home.
Imagine an Israel where middle class families are not being choked by exorbitant utility prices.
Imagine an Israel in which IDF veterans receive subsidies to help purchase a home and in which the government releases land for inexpensive rental units. We have plans for the immediate construction of 150,000 apartments of this kind.
Imagine an Israeli government which is transparent, lean, and responsible, with no more than 18 ministers, instead of this past government’s dysfunctional load of 36 ministers and deputy ministers. Imagine an electoral system which enables fewer small, sector-based parties to enter the Knesset.
Imagine electing new, capable, worldly and yet still idealistic leaders to guide Israel’s future, to replace the old, self-serving, and corrupt politics of old.
Yesh Atid has not only imagined all of these things and more, but was created specifically to address them all. The Yesh Atid party represents the spirit of Zionism which built Israel in its early years. Its commitment to creating a true “light unto the nations” was the new country’s reason for being. It still is, more than 60 years later, but some have forgotten. Luckily, you have not, and neither have we.
I encourage you to visit the Yesh Atid website to read about our concrete plans to address the most pressing issues in Israeli society. You should also learn more about the unique Yesh Atid candidates for the 19th Knesset – successful activists and leaders from all backgrounds who joined the party to face the very issues which today’s MK’s and existing parties have avoided for decades.
I left the world of journalism to enter politics because I love my children, and I love Israel, and I believe that their future, our collective future, demands better of us. I invite you to join us, to work together to keep the promises you made to yourselves and to your families when you moved here.
I encourage you to vote for Yesh Atid on January 22nd by placing the peh, heh slip into the ballot box, as we join together to take Israel’s future back into our hands.