Israeli Politics – A New Immigrant’s Perspective

To oversimplify, Israeli politics has always been about the best way to make peace with the Arabs. From the beginning, we had Ben Gurion on one side and Menachem Begin on the other. First Ben Gurion’s party (Labor) was in charge and then Menachem Begin’s party (Likud) was in charge. The Labor party believed in negotiations. The Likud party believed in negotiations. There are probably all kind of important differences between Labor and Likud but I don’t understand any of them. Neither party made peace with the Palestinians. Begin did make peace with Egypt. Sort of. Rabin made peace with Jordan. Sort of.

There are other political parties in Israel but I don’t understand most of them. There is a Communist party and a Green party and I think a Communist-Green party. Then there are the religious parties.

Neither Labor nor Likud could ever garner enough votes to win a majority.  So, whichever party (Labor or Likud) offered the religious party the most money would get their support.

This political battle between Labor and Likud lasted until Ariel Sharon, who was a member of Likud, decided that he could make peace with the Arabs by withdrawing from the Gaza strip. Most members of Likud weren’t happy with his ideas so Sharon left Likud and started a new party.

Obviously Sharon did not succeed in making peace. Sharon did succeed in making a lot of new political parties. None of the parties seem to be able to inspire many people to vote for them.

Now we are calling for new elections in Israel. Or maybe we aren’t. That changes every day. But the bottom line is that we are still arguing about how to make peace with the Arabs. To me, it seems comparable to a tuna and a seal arguing about how to make peace with a shark.

I came to Israel to be part of the rebirth of our Jewish nation. The creation of the modern State of Israel is a miracle and I want to be a part of the miracle. I believe in debate and freedom and equal rights and all that good stuff. But I wish that my people would realize that we are living in a shark tank and we need to work together.

Hanukkah is coming and the holiday always makes me worried. Hanukkah celebrates a miracle that happened 2200 years ago when the Hasmonean family was able to lead the rebirth of the Jewish Nation. Their rule lasted about 100 years. Jewish self-rule ended because we fought among ourselves.

I hope that history will not repeat itself. I believe that this time will be different. I bet my life on it.

About the Author
David Brent is a NASA engineer with a master's and bachelor's from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology turned candy entrepreneur. He made aliya in the spring of 2013. David commutes between Israel, where his heart is, and Florida, where his business is.