Stephen Horenstein
Music, Arts and Society

The Challenges of the Upcoming Elections

I was happy to see that The Times of Israel is sponsoring a forum on March 18 to hear most/all candidates in the upcoming elections.   Perhaps there have such opportunities in the past, but I can’t remember them.  Perhaps it’s my age.  In such a forum, it is of crucial importance that the candidates clearly state their policies relating to specific issues, while refraining from rhetoric.  Having a list of questions that all participants answer in a designated number of words would be useful, allowing us, the listeners, to hear the clear essence of their opinions.  Perhaps questions from the audience should be avoided, unless those questions are submitted and screened ahead of time.  Nothing dulls enthusiasm and search for truth than long-winded questions and spontaneous ongoing debate.  A presumably large audience should not be drawn into the opinions of one or two candidates OR the audience members.  I trust that moderator David Horovitz knows this and will act accordingly.   I also think that just having the candidates THEMSELVES (rather than various party members) will make the evening clearer and more concise.  It is so so crucial that we hear what the candidates have to say.

We are ravenous for honest clear leadership.  So many of our leaders have had criminal or near-criminal pasts.  We need both security and vision, as well as strategic thinking that relies on the gathering of the best minds.  This means that we need to elect a leader that first and foremost LISTENS and gathers around him/her people with equal wisdom, experience and compassion.

The crisis with the Jewish Diaspora is one that is underestimated.  This crisis cuts to the bones of our very being as a people.  Above all we are a people, and a civilization (echoing the words of Jewish philosopher Mordechai Kaplan).  Leaders who do not recognize the magnitude of this crisis should not be serving.

Here at “home” the lack of solidarity and compassion has waned.  People are on edge, and rightly so.  The fragmentation of our society into interest groups that influence the navigation of our leadership “ship” has become untenable.  We can no longer accept the phrase “politicians will be politicians” because we deserve so much more.   When we choose this April, we should choose a Prime Minister with experience, character and compassion.

About the Author
Stephen Horenstein is a composer, researcher and educator. His repertoire of musical works has been performed and recorded worldwide. He has been a recipient of the Israel Prime Minister's Prize for Composers and the National Endowment of the Arts (USA). His teaching has included Bennington College, Brandeis University, Tel Aviv University, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance; residencies at Stanford University, York University, California Institute of the Arts, and others. He is Founder and Director of the Jerusalem Institute of Contemporary Music, established in 1988 to bring the music of our time to a wider audience.
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