Shari Eshet
Not giving up yet

No more wars, no more words

We have fought enough. We have talked enough. Now we need to take action. On many fronts. So here is my bucket list call to action that we need to take in the coming months.

1. Kumbaya. – We need to come together as a family. And I am not talking about the Israelis. I am talking about the Israelis and the American Jewish community. We have had our rifts before and will continue to but families stick together. If you feel you are part of the greater Jewish peoplehood, then you make it work.

2. Tell your family members what you think. Again, I am talking about the Israelis and the American Jewish family members. No reason to keep quiet about what hurts you, what you think is wrong, what you think is right.

3. Make it better. So after all the words, the hurts, the emotions, now let’s work to make it better. I know the American Jewish community and Israeli society are still whirling from the recent election but at the end of the day, nothing has changed. Israel is still facing existential threats from all sides of its border and beyond. Women’s rights and gender equality are still issues that need to be advanced and with more women than ever before (but still only one quarter of the Knesset body) in the legislation, we are hoping to keep progressing on that issue. The discrimination against minorities in education, economy and in the public sphere has allowed the racist genie to come out of the bottle and this time , I fear it is not going back in. But for truth’s sake, we have only verbalized what was thought all along. Action in all these arenas and others are the beginning of a maturing society as well as its duly elected officials. So let’s see this government deal with Israel’s security issues head on with leadership and bravery and trust. Let us see the implementation of Israel’s laws that protect against sexual violence, religious and personal rights of all women. Let us see more government funds go into building infrastructure for Israeli Arab communities. Let us see affirmative action legislation for the disadvantaged population. Let us see a fair and good settlement of the land issues of the Bedouin population in the South.

4. Most important action request: Let us all work together to make the country of Israel a good place for the young people. For those who are leaving in masses to seek a higher quality of life, for those who cannot afford to leave but also cannot afford to live, for those who want to stay, who love this country and want to join in making it a great place not a better place to live. And finally for all those who believe in the Zionist dream of a democratic homeland of the Jewish people that provide equal opportunities for all its citizens. Let’s take action today to make sure that in the coming generations we will see the commitment of all young and old Jewish people, to rally together to protect the State of Israel, its values as a Jewish state, its commitment to a democratic one and to its status as a nation amongst nations. We owe it to all of us to take action. Are you with me?

About the Author
Shari Eshet is the former director of NCJW's Israel Office, based in Jerusalem. Now a private consultant, she still works for the betterment of the State of Israel.
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