Good Enough to be True

Today I read an article by a friend, in which he explained his issues with Yesh Atid. As is common with these articles, he started by praising the Yesh Atid platform. He listed a few problems Yesh Atid talk about, and agreed that the solutions they propose seem to be brilliant. He even said that he finds it hard to imagine how someone would have a problem with almost all of Yesh Atid’s ideas.

The problem my friend had when faced with this platform was that he felt it was ‘too good to be true’. He said it felt like he was being sold a great product by a great salesman, but that something felt funny. The problem with this is that this salesman isn’t selling snake oil.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to write a party platform. Everyone knows what people want to hear, you just write it down and add ‘we will’ to the start of every sentence. If you look through various different party websites, it’s obvious that many have done just that. They all have the same basic lines: service for everyone, housing for everyone, sentence about the environment and throw in a few lines specific to your target sector. Attacks on left-wing media and NGOs for HaBayit HaYehudi, strong leadership for Likud Beiteinu, and a few lines on Tzipi Livni for HaTnuah. Green leaves for the Green Leaf Party, and eye patches for the Pirates.

Yesh Atid is the only party that goes into the smallest details for each of their policies. They explain what they want to change, and then how they plan to change it. What they want to do immediately, what is the five year plan, where we will be in ten years. The plans are written by experts in each field, and have all been written to make an immediate impact, as well as real change in the long term. This isn’t someone trying to pull the wool over you eyes – this is someone who is making a serious, committed attempt to bring desperately needed change.

Another problem that the author had with Yesh Atid was the ‘centrist’ label they have. He says that he is scared by the unwillingness to commit to left or right. He says that whilst he knows Yesh Atid ‘claim’ to focus on social issues, security issues will come up too.

Let’s take a break from this for a second and ask a question. Who will be the Prime Minister after 22 January? If you aren’t in the top 20 on the Labor party list, you almost certainly answered Bibi. Now another question. Looking at the way things are today, and the way they are headed, and with Bibi as Prime Minister, can you think of any way there could be negotiations leading to a major change? I can’t. Mahmoud Abbas is going to stay the elected but expired leader of the PA. Everyone understands that no deal can be reached with him, and that he doesn’t have any real mandate to make any deal. Everyone from Lieberman to Yachimovitch knows that there will be no movement on anything in the next four years at least.

Now back to the issue at hand. Given what we just said, do you want to dedicate your vote to a party where their defining issue is security? Not just a one-issue party, but a non-issue party? Or do you want to take this once in the history of Israel chance to vote based on another issue? To vote to fix the problems that have been building up whilst we were looking the other way? To notice that the education system needs fixing, to admit that this generation of graduates will not afford houses, to decide that the status quo with the unequal draft is unacceptable? I certainly want to take this opportunity. I know that it might not be here long, and I refuse to let it pass.


About the Author
Yedidya Kennard made aliya from the UK in 2006, and now lives in Givat Shmuel.