Peta Jones Pellach
Teacher and activist in Jerusalem

Looking for a Leader

David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin opposed each other on almost every issue but I believe that both of them were worthy leaders. Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern do not come from the same political positions but both are principled and skilled and I wish that they had their equals here.

If there is one thing that we can say is close to a national consensus at this time it is that our so-called leaders have let us down.

I am looking for someone whom I trust, whom I can admire, who will represent me and lead me. We are likely to be going to the polls again within the next few months and I need someone for whom I can vote. I believe in democracy and in the responsibility of everyone in a democracy to exercise their right to vote but what should I do?

There must be someone in this country who can step up to become an alternative prime minister. We are well over 8 million people. There must be someone out there who has what it takes and is willing and able to offer themselves for election and eventually take the helm of the government.

All our current leaders have let us down. There is no-one who has enough of my respect that  I would consider voting for them if an election were to be held soon.

The qualities of a person for whom I could vote seem to me obvious and uncontroversial.

Sadly, they are lacking in the people who are our current candidates.

  1. Integrity: I want to know that the person at the helm is honest and trustworthy.
  2. Selflessness: The motivation of anyone I would want in leadership is to serve and to give to society. They put the interest of the country ahead of their own.
  3. Empathy: A leader needs to serve all citizens without prejudice or bias. For me, any hints of elitism, sexism or racism would disqualify them as a leader.
  4. Ability to negotiate through compromise and conciliation: From what I have observed, a true leader knows how to balance competing interests so that everyone feels that they have won.
  5. Idealism: My leader will have vision and aspirations beyond what is achievable in the world of politics. They will not be deterred by coming up against the realities of political life but will be able to live with unfulfilled dreams with confidence that there are others who will continue to fight for them.

How sad it is that I cannot name anyone in this country who is currently in the public eye who has these characteristics, yet I can name people from the past and in other places who do.

On the other hand, I know that there are women and men here who have these qualities but have steered clear of national politics.

Please step up now. If not now, when?

About the Author
A fifth generation Australian, Peta made Aliyah in 2010. She is Senior Fellow of the Kiverstein Institute, Director of Educational Activities for the Elijah Interfaith Institute, secretary of the Jerusalem Rainbow Group for Jewish-Christian Encounter and Dialogue, a co-founder of Praying Together in Jerusalem and a teacher of Torah and Jewish History. She has visited places as exotic as Indonesia and Iceland to participate in and teach inter-religious dialogue. She also broadcasts weekly on SBS radio (Australia) with the latest news from Israel. Her other passions are Scrabble and Israeli folk-dancing.
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