Israel Needs a Revolution

Enough is enough! How long can we carry on running this country in such a self-destructive fashion? We are about to enter a fourth round of elections at an estimated cost of 2.5 billion shekels at a time when Israel is facing one of the worst economic crises in its history.

What makes matters even more excruciating is that some political analysts are already predicting that the results of the forthcoming elections may well be inconclusive setting the stage for a fifth round of elections in a little over two years.

Anyone with a little common sense knows that the Israeli system of proportional representation based on party lists is a failure. Following any election, we don’t actually know which party has in fact won, and all ultimately depends upon the results of the horse trading required to set up any coalition government.

As a consequence, it is not the voters who choose their government, and local representation is severely limited. It’s simply a bad system. Everyone knows that there is a problem, but the major political parties have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

And then there are the charedim. “No taxation without representation” was a slogan that originated at the time of the American Revolution. It encapsulated one of the primary grievances of the American colonists against Great Britain.

In Israel we ought to be turning that slogan on its head: “No representation without taxation”. Not only should Israel’s government stop paying yeshivah and kollel students, who ought to be out there working and paying taxes, but it should also be denying the right to vote to those who out of personal choice refuse to serve in the IDF or undertake some other form of national service.

It is time that Israelis woke up and launched the revolution before it is too late.

About the Author
Rabbi Boyden was educated and received his rabbinical ordination in London, England. Having served as the rabbi of Cheshire Reform Congregation for thirteen years, he made aliyah with his family in 1985. He has established Reform congregations in Ra'anana and Hod Hasharon and previously served as director of the Israel Reform Movement's Beit Din.