Lately, whenever the conversation around our Shabbat dinner table turns to politics and the state of our country, there’s a hesitant pause, followed by a communal sigh and then half-hearted complaints about jobs for the boys, laws passed just yesterday being repealed and public money being transferred to who knows where for who knows what.
The truth is we are defeated. We know this is the way the game is played and that we are all but powerless to stop it. “Let’s change the subject” we say before our depression fogs the room. So we talk about more optimistic things… like rising anti-Semitism and the spread of extremist Islam.
These are hard days for anyone with center-left politics in Israel. After the stinging electoral defeat, we were forced to come to terms with the fact that most Israeli Jews vote center right and that based on birth rates, stereotypes and fear, there may never be a left-wing government in Israel again. We lost, we sit on the sidelines, but we care, deeply.
Caring this much sits heavily on our shoulders, gets stuck in our throats and makes it harder to breathe. We are idealistic Zionists building a Jewish state, defending our country, willingly making sacrifices for the good of our nation; but beyond the ideology, we also live here day in day out, dealing with the nitty-gritty of our conflicted mismanaged country, waiting for some hope to lighten our lives a little, just a single ray will do.
Perhaps we should hope that the new government, though we did not chose it, will bring stability to our shores ravaged in the last year by war, racism and corruption in the highest levels by the very people that we trusted with our safety, our governance and our souls.
Perhaps we should believe that Naftali Bennett, the new Education Minister, will carry out his promise to reduce the size of our school classes and raise the standard of care in public kindergartens.
Perhaps we should believe that Moshe Kahlon Finance Minister, will tackle poverty, the banking cartel and moderate the cost of housing so that young couples will not feel betrayed and ignored by their country.
Perhaps we should hope that young Haredi men and women will independently chose to join the army and the workforce, so that they can support their families and contribute to the growth of the country they so love.
Perhaps we should turn a blind eye to the estimated 12 million shekels that will be used to bankroll two superfluous ministers and four deputy ministers in the hope that these officials will actually do something for the good of the people with their power
I’d like to believe, because I’m here to stay and I want only the best for this country and these people, all of them. It will take a leap of faith to believe this government will even survive, let alone work for the greater interest rather than serving their own factions, but after all we are Israelis and we live by ‘yihiyeh beseder’ (everything will work out), accompanied by a knowing nod and an echo of times gone by. Will it?