Fern Reiss

Dayenu: We’ve Had Enough

photo courtesty of Canva
photo courtesty of Canva


It would have been enough had the government just tried to give itself another year in power…

It would have been enough had you prevented electronic monitoring on women’s protective order violators.

It would have been enough had you not threatened to go after protesters…

Dayenu. Pesach is coming.

Have you given any thought, if judicial reforms continue as planned, as to how this will end? I’m not talking about the day you have a party because you’ve won. I’m talking about the day after.

Let’s not even consider all the worst case scenarios, like, G-d forbid, civil war or a constitutional crisis, or the army on strike when the enemy isn’t. Let’s ignore for the moment the possibility that we’ll lose necessary arms supplies from an America that decides a non-democracy doesn’t deserve its financial or military support.

Let’s assume continued judicial reform under the best case scenario: that the protests somehow die down without anyone being hurt; that people become disaffected but stop fighting it; that there is grumbling, but nothing further.

Let’s even assume that the pendulum doesn’t swing completely in the other direction, tearing down the government and bringing in a left wing reversal that undoes all the legislation and continues on, using all the dangerous power the reforms have now given any government.

Let’s just assume a disaffected populace that slowly, inexorably, over time, makes plans to leave the country.

If some number of us dribble away one by one, over time: Who will pay taxes and defend the country?

This is not an anti-Haredi harangue: I understand Haredim are not monolithic and come in different flavors, and I value the contributions they make to Israeli society. And it is not an anti-settler diss: I understand that settlers are not monolithic and come in different flavors, and I value the contributions they make to Israeli society.

Let’s assume that only 10% of the population leave. The most mobile 10%, the most likely to leave 10%, are the brightest 10%, the most-skilled 10%, the most entrepreneurial 10%. It is the 10% that makes the difference between start-up nation and third-world country.

If you lose us, who pays for you? Who cares for you? Who defends you?

Already we have high-tech firms — which contribute 15% of the Israeli GDP, and whose workers pay 25% of all income taxes — leaving. Intel is building $10 billion-dollar fab plants in Israel. Who is going to run them without the high-tech sector?

Already there are murmurs of soldiers not showing up for miluim; of new recruits not going to Bakum. Two hundred senior reserve fighter pilots, the backbone of the Israeli army, froze their reserve duty because of judicial reform. And already before judicial reform, there was a trend of fewer Israelis going to the army.

If we leave in sadness and fear and frustration, who will support you? Who will care for you medically? Who will defend you?

Our country is not sustainable without us.

This is, of course not just a problem instigated by judicial reform, nor will slowing judicial reform solve the problem. It’s a problem that has been brewing for years. The joke about a third of the country working, a third paying taxes, a third serving in the army, but unfortunately it’s all the same third, isn’t that funny anymore. Judicial reform didn’t create this situation.

But judicial reform might be what makes the working, tax-paying, army-serving populace rethink their situation. It might be the back-breaking straw.

Maybe you’re counting on the fact that we won’t all leave. Maybe you’re hoping that this will settle down and return to normal. Maybe you just haven’t thought about it.

But it’s time to think about the day after. What if we sadly accept the offers pouring in from Albania and Greece for high-priced salaries and resettlement there? What if we decide to take Italy up on their free housing? What if we decide our countries of origin are now less worrisome than our adopted homeland?

What will you do if we all go? What will happen to you?

Please dial back judicial reform now, while you still can. Before it is too late.


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