Michael Hilkowitz

An Open Letter To Minister Kahlon

Minister Kahlon

I am writing to you today because I am worried about the path Israel is headed down right now and you are in a unique position to dramatically alter that path. Over the last few days, we have seen the Israeli government lurch to the right. The move to include Yisrael Beiteinu in the coalition and the demands they have made will have a detrimental effect on Israel and its standing in the world. From billions of shekels coming out of the budget for former Soviet olim, to implementation of the death penalty to the rejection of international peace efforts, the last days have many Israelis worried about the future.

This comes on the heels of the ouster of Moshe Ya’alon as Defense Minister (Yes, I know he resigned, but come on, really he was forced out) for speaking about the morality that the IDF tries to uphold every day, and future Defense Minister Lieberman rallying to support a soldier who may have committed murder. Netanyahu talks of broadening the coalition, but he isn’t broadening it, just moving it further to the right. I don’t think you or your party joined the coalition to hold down its left flank, but that is what Kulanu is in this government, the very left most party. Without any inclusion of left wing, or center-left parties in the government, left and center left Israelis, who make up a significant portion of the population have no voice in the government, we must rely of Kulanu to stand for the ideas of freedom for everyone, equality for everyone, and not saddling our children with the burden of huge debts due to political gift giving.

You sir, are the only who has the power to stand in the way of this mounting threat to the future of Israel. Your party holds enough seats to bring down the government. If you take a stand on this, the Prime Minister will have to relent or dissolve the coalition. It is a very powerful position you are in, with the potential to do much good for Israel, if you stand for your ideals. Not my ideals mind you, your ideals, fiscal responsibility, equality under the law and thinking about the cost of life for average Israelis. These are ideals you put forward Minister, and if you stand for them, you will set yourself alone among the leaders of Israel. Too often we see political deals made to address sectored concerns, to keep a party’s base happy or to keep a politician in power.

Now is a time for real leaders, men who stand by their principles, men of vision, not just of status quo. The Prime Minister is interested not in advancing Israel’s interests, but in keeping himself in power, to the determent of the Likud and to the determent of Israel. Mr. Netanyahu has given into the religious parties demands to stop movements to integrate Charadim into the workforce and IDF, he has given into the demands of HaBayit Yehudi regarding the settlements and legal issues, and now he is giving into Avigdor Lieberman and his demands regarding Soviet pensioners and the death penalty. What do we have for all that giving in the Prime Minster has done, what is there to show for it? Has the cost of living gone down for the average Israel? Are we more secure? Are our students being better educated? Has the divide between left and right or secular and religious lessened? What does this coalition have to show for itself except addressing the narrow interests of specific groups?

Minister Kahlon, there is a moment here to right the ship, to put us on a course to a better future for Israelis, but it is going to take you standing up sir, standing up for all of the Israelis who feel abandoned and abused by the current government. It is going to take men of principle like yourself standing up for all of us, not a special few.

Please Minister Kahlon, use the unique position you are in to bring us back onto the path toward a better tomorrow for us and our children, for Israelis today and for generations to come.

About the Author
Michael Hilkowitz holds degrees in History and Secondary Education from Temple University and is a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for International Affairs. He is currently a Masters student in Security and Diplomacy Studies at Tel Aviv University. Living in Israel since 2012, he formerly served as the Chief Content Office for The Israel Innovation Fund, a 501.c.3 working to promote Israeli culture, art, and humanities innovation abroad.
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