Shira Pasternak Be'eri
Living and loving in Jerusalem
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A prayer for the Israeli elections

A message against hatred that we would do well to take with us to the polling stations tomorrow, and carry with us into the year to come

It’s the night before the rerun of the Israeli elections, 2019, and all around me, people have a sense of despair. They are tired of the rhetoric, the fake news, the spin. They are disillusioned by the lack of leadership and clear vision. They want to vote their hearts, rather than vote strategically. But, most of all, they wish they could vote for something, rather than vote against, and are saddened by the divisiveness that has come to characterize our people.

So just before the rerun of the Israeli elections, 2019, here’s a translation of a post that Rabbi Shay Piron, former education minister for Yesh Atid, posted on Facebook in Hebrew on Friday, just before Shabbat, three days before the elections. It’s a message that we would do well to take with us when we go to the polling stations tomorrow and carry with us into the year to come.

רגע לפני שבת. שלושה ימים לפני הבחירות. רגע לפני שנכנס לקלפי, ראוי שכל אחד יאמר לעצמו: "אני לא שונא. אני לא מחרים…

פורסם על ידי ‏שי פירון‏ ב- יום שישי, 13 בספטמבר 2019

Just before entering the voting booth, everyone should say to themselves:
I don’t hate.
I am not boycotting.

I don’t hate Haredim. The ultra-Orthodox community has given us ZAKA, Ezer Mizion, Yad Sarah, and Zichron Menachem. We disagree with each other — but I don’t hate.

I don’t hate leftists.
They were a major factor in establishing the State of Israel.
They built communities and kibbutzim.
They are seekers of peace, even if it is dangerous or endangers us.
But they are Zionists. Like me.
We disagree with each other — but I don’t hate.

I don’t hate right-wingers.
Even those who are on the economic right.
To me, it seems destructive.
And even those who want to hold on to the entire Land of Israel.
Ignoring the beliefs of the people of the other nation.
I know that they are lovers of their country.
And know how precious all of Israel is to them.
I am familiar with their commitment, their dedication to the IDF, to settling the land.
We disagree with each other — but I don’t hate.

I don’t hate the Arab citizens of Israel.
Their fathers and mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers were born here.
I am part of a people that knows what it means to be a minority and to yearn.
I will not give up my state. But I understand and feel their pain.
I recognize their contribution to the country.
I feel that it is my obligation to give them full civil rights, even if Israel will always be the state of the Jewish people.
We disagree with each other — but I don’t hate.

And I don’t hate secular people, who oppose anything that smells Jewish.
I don’t hate Mizrahi Jews or Ashkenazim.
I just don’t hate.

I want to do good.
I want to make Israel a model society.
I don’t want to give in to anyone. I don’t want to give up on anyone.

This is what I’ll say, just before entering the voting booth:

“May it be Your will
That I won’t hate.
That I won’t make myself hated.
That I will know how to say what is in my heart
Straightforwardly
Decently
Deeply.
That I will contribute in some way to the good life in the good land
Of us all.”

About the Author
Shira Pasternak Be'eri is a Jerusalem-based editor and translator. She is married to Leonard (aka Eliezer) and is the proud mom of three boys, two of whom are soldiers in the IDF. Born and raised in New York, she has been living in Israel since 1982. And yes, she is Velvel Pasternak's daughter.
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