September 17, 2019, is our special version of Groundhog Day here in Israel. Let’s hope that after one repeat cycle we wake ourselves up properly.
Since announcing these new elections, I’ve been feeling a bit upside down, and inside out (with apologies and credit to OK Go). Nearly ten years after making aliyah, I long for direct representative democracy. With the progression of leadership here, I long for it more and more.
After much consideration, I have finally arrived at a conflicted sense of support for the Democratic Union (although Camp is a better translation, I think). I have had deep reservations about Ehud Barak since the moment he returned to politics. He’s had questionable ties to a pedophile that are hard to explain and reconcile. He is responsible for things from his previous political life, that while yes, he has apologized for and that’s not trivial, are clear stains on his record. He comes from a clearly militaristic sense of leadership that I think is outmoded and has proven ineffective in moving us towards peace. His return struck me as arrogant and entitled because he’s got the military cred and past political service.
Barak is not the be all and end all of the Democratic Union, to his credit. He has teamed up and now mostly taken a backseat to his other union members. In general I have found the Meretz candidates to have a depth of integrity that is clearly missing in our top elected leadership. I am a huge fan of the Green Movement political party. I ran for city council as their candidate in Yokneam and I have been engaged a bit at the national level.
Most importantly, I know Yael Cohen Paran personally. She was one of the best members of this past Knesset and is a truly dedicated environmentalist, social activist, and supporter of pluralistic Judaism in Israel. She knows where and for what she stands and she doesn’t waver. And I want to see her in the Knesset again – for the sake of the environment and for the sake of our nation.
Yael is what brought me to support the Democratic Union. She’s number 8 on the list and if we are going to get her in we’re going to have to get the vote out big time. Israelis aren’t so good at that. I’m so conflicted about having to throw my support behind a list that includes people I may not fully support, just to get to the candidate I think is most worthy of being in the Knesset. That’s what brings me back to my American roots in representative government. I can’t see how this current system is serving the needs of the Israeli citizens and really engaging us with the national political system.
So I am putting this out there. We need to have Yael in the Knesset, so we need to have the Democratic Union, warts and all, in the Knesset.
For now, we must all go to the polls on Tuesday and exercise our democratic right to vote – every voting age Israel. Please get out and vote – it only take a few minutes, the polling places are open extensive hours, and it’s a vacation day after all! There’s really no excuse not to have 100% voter turn out.