Robby Berman

On Tuesday Day I Vote and on Tuesday Night I Pray

Tomorrow I will vote in Israel’s elections but it really doesn’t matter for whom. No one party can form a government by itself. So by tomorrow night all parties will partly betray their platform, principles and voters by trading horses to form a majority bloc. They are not evil. It’s just a necessity given our political system.

So on Tuesday day I vote and on Tuesday night I pray.

I pray that the coalition that finally takes control of the country has Israel’s interest first in mind and not its own longevity. May it respect Ultra-Orthodox Jews but demand they work, serve in the army and pay taxes. May it operate on many planes to peacefully thwart Iran’s nuclear weapons aspirations but should its diplomatic efforts fail, the coalition should not fear to use its planes.

I pray that it keeps taxes, unemployment and apartment prices low while keeping free market competition high. May it keep the economy competitive and capitalistic, yet not forget the sick, the poor, the elderly, and the Holocaust survivors. May it root out corruption wherever it festers and unfortunately, here in Israel, it festers high and low, north and south.

May the coalition remember that we Jews as a minority were treated unkindly in Europe for a thousand years and it should treat our minorities with kindness, whether they be Arabs or Africans. May it imprison – for very long periods of time – husbands that batter and terrorize their wives and even error towards the side of injustice. It’s better to have one quasi-innocent husband in prison than 9 wife-beaters beating and killing freely and frequently.

I pray that the coalition be ruthless in its pursuit of terrorists and either kill them or jail them but never – ever – release them. May it continue to root out Hamas and Hizbullah terrorists while continuing – as it has done – to minimize their collateral damage. Children are children. Period. May it finally bring peace to our cities in the South that border Gaza.

May it not compromise Israel’s security – like it did by unilaterally retreating from Gaza. But may it make serious, extensive and relentless efforts to negotiate an agreed-upon accord that will either annex the West Bank giving Palestinians full political and human rights as Israeli citizens in the State of Israel or grant the Palestinians a State of their own. It’s time to get off the pot.

And speaking about pot…

May its members set a personal example for the rest of our citizens by proudly carrying an organ donor card – and may they not be elected if they don’t have one. And may they not get an organ like the former head of the Mossad Meir Dagan got an organ – through connections. Let them suffer like the rest of us.

I pray the coalition keeps the press free to investigate every corner of the government’s castle. May it keep this country – the single bastion of liberal democracy in the Middle East – strong enough to be self-critical.

May its members in Knesset stop hurling water and insults at each other. May they stop calling each other Nazis! May it ban debating societies in schools and only allow discussion groups. May we finally merit to see the day in Israel when a TV talk-show can interview both coalition and opposition members who have stopped yelling and started listening.

On Tuesday day I vote and on Tuesday night I pray.


About the Author
Robby Berman is a tour guide and journalist living in Israel for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of Harvard University (Kennedy School of Government, MPA), Baruch College (MBA) and Yeshiva University (BA). He is also the author of the book Min Taq Taq: A Collection of Arabic Idioms and Expressions in the Palestinian Dialect.