Michael Boyden

Israel Has To Change

The tragic events of October 7 have brought Israel to the crossroads.

We are not interested in the struggle between the Knesset and the Supreme Court as to whom will determine the rule of the land. October 7 should have taught us that such battles are irrelevant in a country whose very survival is at risk.

Our prime minister’s manoeuvres to stay out of prison and to remain in power are of no concern to us. After all, as a public servant he is there to meet our needs and not the opposite.

A government’s primary obligation is to defend its citizens, and in that respect the current coalition has failed. They are all responsible. They are all guilty. If Benjamin Netanyahu felt any shame, he would have resigned, but he is more interested in saving his skin than in meeting the needs of the nation.

What kind of a country is it where hundreds of thousands of citizens from the north and the south have had to leave their homes, because they no longer feel safe? Benjamin Netanyahu, who told us all that he was “Mr. Security” and would ensure our safety, has betrayed us.

We have had enough of living in a country where we are required to put our lives on the line and undertake years of reserve duty, while the haredim sit in their yeshivot and kollelim and do nothing to defend their country. Politicians both from the right and the left have been prepared to sacrifice their principles and enter into coalitions with them just to stay in power. This must end. There are no more free lunches.

Enough is enough. Many Israelis hold dual citizenship and will not stay in this country, if they feel that its policies are being determined by extremist religious zealots and by those whose foremost interest is to do whatever it takes to remain in power.

Those who can will leave, and the only ones who will remain here will be the religious extremists and those who have no alternative but to stay.

If that gloomy prognosis is not to turn into a reality, then Israel will need to change.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
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