Israeli society is endangered by Netanyahu’s staggering abuses of power, his divisive populism, and his open invitation to the foulest extremists to join him in government. We urgently need a change. For voters who accept that, the next question is which opposition party to vote for.
Polls suggest that most Israelis who want to boot out Netanyahu will vote for Gantz and Lapid’s Blue and White list. This pair stand the best chance of forming a government without Netanyahu, and are overwhelmingly preferable to this self-serving prime minister. But in reaching out to disaffected Likud voters, they have established a church so broad, it only really stands for getting rid of Bibi. Whilst that is vital, it is not enough to safeguard Israel’s future.
The state is like a ship sailing through a sea full of icebergs. To ensure its welfare for ourselves and our children, we need to not only haul the power-drunk captain off the wheel, but also set a new course.
To preserve Israel’s Jewish majority, we need active steps towards separating from the Palestinians in the West Bank.
To grasp an unprecedented chance to forge new relations with Arab states, and build a strong regional alliance against Iran and its proxies, we need to reaffirm the goal of a two state solution.
To ensure a Jewish state that is also democratic, we need to add to the nation state law a clear commitment to the civic equality of all Israel’s citizens, as Israel’s Declaration of Independence promised.
To narrow social gaps that leave millions in poverty and threaten our economic development, we need to invest in underfunded public services, especially early years education and the health system.
Blue and White are not promising this change of direction. Labor is. So if Gantz and Lapid get to form a coalition, the country needs a strong Labor to push policies that will steer the country towards a more hopeful future.
Many may feel voting Blue and White is now the surest way to replace Bibi. But since Avi Gabbay has committed Labor to forming part of an anti-Netanyahu bloc, a vote for Labor is just as powerful an anti-Bibi vote as a vote for Blue and White.
In fact, it may be a safer anti-Bibi bet, because if Gantz and Lapid do not get to form a coalition, there is a significant chance the union they formed, along with Moshe Yaalon, will disintegrate back into its constituent parts, and who knows where they end up after that.
Some or all could end up in a coalition with Likud and parties further right – filled with candidates that think the greatest threat to Israel comes from independent media and courts, and that another caravan on a hilltop is more important than a state with a Jewish majority. With or without Netanyahu, such a coalition would bring more of the same dangerous drift.
With Labor, you know what you are voting for: a clear set of principles, a clear policy direction, and a socially and ethnically diverse team that, by any measure, is highly qualified to deliver. The list includes the most impactful Knesset member (according to the Israel Democracy Institute) Itzik Shmuli, the most experienced Knesset Member Amir Peretz, and a host of other energetic leaders like Stav Shaffir, Merav Michaeli and Shelly Yachimovich, who create positive change that actually improves people’s lives. This is in addition to outstanding security candidates, retired Major General Tal Russo and former Sayeret Matkal commander Omer Bar Lev.
The Zionist movement’s goal was a Jewish and democratic state. We will find ourselves in a state that is neither Jewish nor democratic if we do not change direction. To put greater power in the hands of those that will steer us towards a better future, choose Labor.