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A prayer for Election Day (and the day after)

May we never forget how we can best utilize the blessing of having returned to our homeland.
Israeli bride Tsufit Lam casts her ballot at a voting station in Elazar, in Gush Etzion, during the Knesset Elections, on April 9, 2019. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
Israeli bride Tsufit Lam casts her ballot at a voting station in Elazar, in Gush Etzion, during the Knesset Elections, on April 9, 2019. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

I pray and I hope that on this Election Day we in Israel will vote with full conviction and confidence for the party we believe will lead this country in the best possible way through the next few years of challenges and opportunities.

And at the same time know that those voting for other parties are, in their hearts and in their minds, doing exactly the same.

That they also want the best for the State of Israel and for Am Yisrael.

After this divisive election (as most elections are), may we be able to look at the people we pass on the way in and out of the voting polls, and on the streets in the coming weeks, and see their nekudot tovot (good points), recognize their passion and commitment for this country, and understand that despite our differences, whether we vote right, left or center, at our deepest core we are עם אחד בלב אחד. One nation with one heart.

Whoever wins this election, and whoever is granted the privilege of building the next coalition for the government of the State of Israel, may we learn to respect each other, love each other and work together, using our unique individual and communal strengths and abilities to build an even stronger, more secure and more prosperous future for Israel. Together. For each and every kind of Israeli.

May we as a country always be ready to confront any of the myriad security demands that lie just across our borders. But may we also learn to create a more loving, just and thoughtful for society for all of those living within our borders. To be more patient on our highways, more loving on our streets, more respectful towards one another in our communities.

And most importantly, may we never forget the ultimate reason why the Jewish people came into existence thousands of years ago and how we can best utilize the blessing of having returned to our homeland.

May we understand that the Jewish people’s national identity is intimately intertwined with our universal vision for the entire world. That coming home wasn’t just about protecting us from pogroms and anti-Semitic regimes. It was mainly about gathering in from the four corners of the Earth, after 2,000 years of exile, the Jewish people’s talents and skills, our passion and our faith, our wisdom, creativity and sensitivity, to recreate ourselves as a nation on our soil so that we may truly fulfill our ancient mission of being a light unto the nations.

As the very first Prime Minister of Israel David Ben Gurion said:

(The State of Israel is) “a great historic privilege, which is also a duty…helping to solve the central problems of all humanity.”

May this election bring us forward to realizing that privilege and fulfilling that duty.

And let us say, Amen.

About the Author
Akiva Gersh is the editor of the book "Becoming Israeli" (www.becomingisraeli.com), a compilation of blogs and essays that speak of the inspiring and the sometimes wacky and crazy experience of making aliyah. Akiva himself made aliyah in 2004 with his wife Tamar and they live in Pardes Hanna with their four kids. He teaches Jewish history at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel in Hod HaSharon. He is also a musician and in 2010 formed Holy Land Spirit, an uplifting and spiritual musical experience for Christian groups visiting Israel.
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