Avidan Freedman

Radical Center! The Time to Act is Now!

I see you.

You’re bleary-eyed from lack of sleep,  because you’re worried about family members, friends or neighbors in the army, but also because you’re deeply worried about the country and what will be.

You’re someone who has respect for Jewish heritage and traditions, but don’t think anything is gained by forcing them down people’s throats. And you feel the same about the value of equality.

You believe in a society that allows space for people’s differing beliefs, but also believe that everyone needs to share the burden and privilege of protecting that society.

You worry and think constantly about the hostages, but you also appreciate the complexity of negotiating with an enemy bent on using your empathy as a weapon against you, and the critical need to defeat that enemy.

You’re not the demonstrating type, but the last year found you considering it more seriously than ever, out of a feeling that the extremes were ripping us apart, and that the center needs to raise its voice if it is to have a chance to hold.

Above all, you love your country, you don’t want to be critical of it, certainly not in war time, but you find yourself watching in disbelief as the government goes back to blindly, coarsely advancing policies and laws that have nothing to do with the war, and that have no place in a world post-October 7th. And you watch as opponents of the government respond in kind, bringing us right back to the arguments that tore us apart before October 7th. Only now, those arguments are multiplied exponentially by all the anger, frustration, loss and suffering of the last 6 months.

You are a member of the “radical center”, a too-silent majority that watched in horror as extremism brought us to brink of civil war, and in awe as we overcame our differences to fight our common enemy. And now you watch again in horror tinged with desperation. Are we really doomed to return to that? Isn’t there something we can do?

I see you, and I want you to know that there is something we can do, and we must do, and now is the time to do it, before we face another tragedy. The time has come for the the radical center to raise its voice and make its demands heard. And yes, to act just a bit radically.

The people who have started to raise this voice are precisely those who were best suited to do so- the reservists who left their families and their lives, who risked their lives on our behalf for the last five months. They experienced the high of unity and solidarity in the army, and the crash of returning to “real life” and encountering a society increasingly bent on tearing itself apart, and they decided that, instead of returning to their families and their lives, they needed to accept another mission, to defend us from the enemy within.

Creating a movement called Tikun 2024, they now call on all of us, all of the silent member of the “radical center”, reservists, family member of reservists, concerned citizens, to stand behind a platform that takes a critical step beyond the very nice, but often very empty slogans about “unity”. Unity, they explain, needs to be coupled with responsibility. And real unity needs to come from real and painful concessions from all sides in a conflict.

What that means concretely is calling for a broad unity government now, for agreeing now on a date for new elections in 2024, so that the nation has the opportunity to renew its faith in its leaders, and for a commitment to form a broad government after elections whose foundation is the largest party from the right, the center, and the left, whoever those parties and their elected leaders be. For some, accepting early elections is a hard pill to swallow, while for others, it is critically necessary. And for some, accepting the prospect of a government with or led by Netanyahu is a bitter pill to swallow, while for others, that is critically necessary. And that’s exactly what real unity looks like- the willingness of both sides to concede even to conditions that one is convinced are unwarranted when the other insists that that is precisely what is most necessary.

But merely calling for this isn’t enough. Signing a petition about it isn’t enough. The hour demands something more radical. So, this Thursday night, Tikun 2024 is creating a tent city near the Knesset, to raise the demands of the radical center. If all of us rise to critical call of this moment, there is no question that our voices will be heard.

Do any of us really have the luxury not to at least try?

I hope I’ll see you there.

About the Author
Avidan Freedman is the co-founder and director of Yanshoof (, an organization dedicated to stopping Israeli arms sales to human rights violators, and an educator at the Shalom Hartman Institute's high school and post-high school programs. He lives in Efrat with his wife Devorah and their 5 children.