Gaps in the support system in a country called a welfare state by many leave many families and individuals without enough physical, financial, or logistical support to climb out of poverty and maybe win the privilege of being beholden to no landlords but themselves. Tomorrow, Israelis will go to the polls to vote for a new government, without hope of getting a government that serves the people instead of only the ministers and Members of Knesset themselves. The concerns of the Knesset are often not in line with the concerns of the voters, let alone with the majority of the nations’ citizens, residents, and other visitors. While many face the very real prospect of having the nameless and faceless masses chanting hateful things, unless we are very lucky, the hate and divides will only grow louder, stronger, bolder.
The man that allowed the far-right to rise to prominence in government is the same guy that the cults of personality worship, or at the very least, condone silently: Benjamin Netanyahu and “his” Likud party. Will he, or Itamar Ben-Gvir bring about the necessary changes for many families like my own, so we no longer fall through the cracks in the system? No. Instead, they will drive further prospects of war both external and internal into reality, and they will proverbially bathe triumphantly in the blood of any of their fallen foes. It will become no easier for my family to realistically gain any amount of control over our own lives by allowing us and ensuring that we will have decent, affordable housing, food, or other necessary quality goods or reliable services available.
Whether you made Aliyah at some point in the past or have unhealthy and broken relationships with your family in the country, these elections will not add to our access to various kinds of support. To have to watch what little savings we have dwindle or disappear at when something emergent and urgent happens, while we must spend exorbitant fees on unreliable taxis with questionably safe or respectable drivers surrounded by clouds of their previous smoke (whether tobacco or cannabis) trying to get the baby to and from daycare, the older kids to school, the partner to their workplace… To watch that tiny nest-egg combust in flames while bus drivers pass us by while we stand up (in excruciating pain) trying to wave them down, only to find when they deign to stop at all, that the bus doesn’t allow for the disabled or otherwise encumbered to independently get around safely and with respect.
I look at these elections as the fifth chance in my four-year-old’s life to witness the failures of democracy to protect the lives and livelihoods of our neighbors, our friends, our trusted childcare workers. What my children will witness instead is the spewing of hatred towards the amazing Arab Muslim assistants who already must endure the trials and challenges of managing classrooms with high numbers of children enrolled, let alone the far-right who are telling us that they want to deport all the Arabs (and any others who disagree). This is not the world I want to raise my children in. I came here to escape my direct experiences of antisemitism, and the failures of my mother country’s “welfare state” to afford me an opportunity to live a full and healthy life. (I don’t joke around here when I say I would have died if I tried to stay in the USA.)
What will my children see tomorrow? Will they see communities rallying around messages of positivity and hope, or hatred and fear? Will tomorrow bring any more support to get me and my family back on our feet? I doubt it, but we must never let hope die, even in the face of extremism and despair. Even when our clinical depression screams at us that everything is bad, or someone creates an atmosphere of anxiety-ridden trauma and disgust, how do we continue to hold the light for our children so they too may one day see a better world?
I truly hope we come out of this election with a government willing to work together for the betterment of all people in these lands, but I fear our beloved, broken country will only splinter further.