We were pleasantly surprised to see two positive stories emerge next to the standard melancholy news updates. We were inspired by the recent adoption of a new national holiday in Israel, Aliyah Day, and by the new law mandating six three-day weekends throughout the course of the year. Inspired by these exciting developments, we are pleased to offer these suggestions listing some key non-partisan, doable programs that the government of Israel can implement in order to have a direct impact on the lives of all Israelis all over the country.
We want to note that the critical problems of security and defense cannot be easily solved. Finding points of consensus regarding issues that impact Israel every day can and should be addressed.
Additionally, some of the ideas presented below were suggested by members of the Facebook groups Secret Tel Aviv and Secret Jerusalem. We wanted to reach out and hear what other Israelis had to say about how the country can be bettered.
The purpose of our ideas comes from a place of love for the Land and the People of Israel. Our time spent in Israel and our interactions with native born Israelis, new immigrants, tourists, and personal experiences have resulted in our identifying the following issues that can be resolved. While of course there are many more complicated issues that need to be address, our hope is that these proposals will emphasize and encourage some constructive steps in the right direction.
It should be noted that many variations on these ideas have already been advanced, discussed and developed by others. We do not seek to belittle already achieved progress. We only aim to enhance and strengthen these efforts in order to achieve a stronger and healthier State of Israel.
￼1) The Start Up Nation of Israel should have Free Public High Speed Wi-Fi available in every major city from Eilat to Kiryat Shmonah and all points in between. This could be implemented on a city by city basis, but however it is implemented, the ability to have instant connection with family, friends, and the world at the touch of your fingertips (without reliance on data plans or Wi-Fi at Cafe Aroma) should have already been enacted throughout Israel.
2) The commitment to a clean state, clean cities, clean roads, clean streets, clean parks, clean beaches, is critical to the health and caring for the Land of Israel. Any observer who walks around central areas of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other cities will notice an overall need for improved cleanliness that can easily be fixed. A greater emphasis should be placed on beautification. This could be done through volunteer work or by creating new jobs.
3) Adding bike lanes in cities across Israel would not only make it safer for those who already bike as a form of transportation, but it might encourage more Israelis to bike as well.
4) The addition of 6 new three-day weekends to the calendar year is definite step in the right direction. We would like to use this opportunity to take it one step further. Similar to Chol HaMoed, it would be fantastic if on these six days tickets to public museums, cultural centers, national parks and other places were we can spend quality time with our friends and families were offered at a discounted rate for some combination of students, soldiers on Sherut Sadir, Olim Chadashim, Holocaust Survivors, and senior citizens.
5) Israel is already an extremely green country. It has been reported that the Knesset has “the largest solar field [of] any￼ parliament in the world”. Israel is also one of the most efficient nations in the world with regards to recycling water, “more than 80 percent of household waste water is recycled!” Building off of this impressive legacy, Israel should implement a more convenient and efficient system of collecting recycling and composting across the state. We recommend adding additional bins for glass, paper, plastic, and aluminum, as well as compost.
6) The people and government of Israel must continue working in coordinated partnership with the JNF/KKL and other non- governmental Zionist organizations to maintain and improve already existing infrastructure in Israel. As the country grows, so must the strength of our infrastructure be improved.
7) A key original function of the IDF was not just the defense of the country, but also securing a hopeful future for all. We would like to see more being done to help soldiers make the transition from military life to civilian life. After giving two years or more of their lives in the service of the country, we as a society owe it to our young brave men and women to actively improve already existing programs to assist them in finding employment and/or educational opportunities in Israel so they are set prior to their release from the army. In our opinion, a sort of mentorship program (that already exists for Lone Soldiers thanks to the amazing work of Knafayim/ Wings) would do wonders.
8) As concerned Jews, we would like to see a more organized and directed effort to combat discrimination against Israelis regardless of their country of origin. As Zionists, we must always remember that we are all one people, bound by a common destiny, living in the same land. Every individual deserves basic human respect and dignity.
We firmly believe that the future of the Jewish People is bound irrevocably to State of Israel. Addressing the above concerns will set the precedent for positive movement in the Jewish Homeland.
After two thousand years of exile we have finally returned home, from all four corners of the globe, to the Land of Israel. Let us embrace our brothers and sisters and work together to improve our country that our parents and grandparents worked so hard to build and that we will leave to our children, grandchildren and generations to come.
Please comment below if you think of other non-partisan ways in which the lives of those living in Israel can be improved and made better.
About the Authors:
The authors are father and son.
John Rothmann, the father, has been active in the Zionist Movement outside of Israel for over half a century.
Samuel Rothmann, the son, chose to make Aliyah in fulfillment of the Zionist Dream and recently completed his service in the Israel Defense Forces.