The nouveau plague and nov nouveau Israeli politics

Unashamedly this blog is a letter to Yair Lapid. Yair now is your moment- everything has changed, and everything must change. The change includes you.

Two things have changed- our health and our politics. The causes and consequences are nigh on identical. The Corona is new, politics isn’t – both will mould us all.

The Corona operated like a political party. Beliefs loyalty and social condition are the determinants.
We are all born and belong to bubbles. Each bubble has its habits and behaviour. To change them is difficult – in politics, there is an essential loyalty. It determines who we feel we are and to whom we belong. As with Corona, we infect and influence each other. But things are pretty forgone. We belong to several bubbles that all define who we think we are. Be they, family, ethnicity, religious conviction or even a football team- but above all: for who do we vote: that is who we are. Accordingly, we will vote.

With Corona came the big Israeli bubble. The membership was defined by,’ yet again, we are all in this together.’ Loyalty, commonality and determination was our anthem. On Pesach, something shattered this.  A startling subliminal tectonic shift occurred. Like all such phenomena, the earthquake is yet to strike- but strike it will. We are no longer, ‘all of us in this together.’ We were betrayed by our leaders.

Another betrayal took place. The right-wing of the Israeli Albatross fell. It was spitefully pecked off in a moment of lunacy. The beleaguered bird that is the Likud tried to transplant a vestige of the left-wing to compensate. The tailspin is inevitable; feathers will fly- but this bird will not.

Corona underscored many problems that we have. The least of these problems is the one so befuddling the tormented Albatross. We all agree there should be legal reform. Apart from one, we all agree with how, why and which manner the problem is tackled. The legal issue is a non-issue. But what is?

The Corona exposed issues that were neglected and exacerbated, along with newly created problems.
We knew that our health care system was antiquated, old fashioned and understaffed. We hid the fact behind our occasional excellent hospitals.

Our education system can be described in precisely the same terms. We can use the same deceptive camouflage. Nevertheless, when faced with the challenge of Corona, both sectors coped by improvising. The innate ability of the manpower overcame the decrepit management and chronic political mismanagement. Chronic, all-pervading lack of political will and leadership did not win the day.

Our industrial base is in tatters. The fluff service industries were ephemeral and now irreparable. We never realized that so many were making so much from so little. Our tourism industry is wrecked. The supply chain we should have controlled is a linkless, useless pile of rusting parts. A country under perpetual threat of war this should never have happened. Yet it did.

We knew that there were grossly overpopulated, poverty-stricken areas. We ignored them; political expediency was of more importance.

Is Nouveau-Israeli politics a legitimate phrase?

Yes, it is, and most definitely so. The new divide is no longer about Palestine or Legal Reform. The modern debate is no longer how do we acquire capital. The latest discussions are about how do we share our resources and improve our services. Religious adherence no longer defines division. The needs of all are encompassed in universal social reform; we are united in our need for a coherent social compact and charter.

We need to reshape our economy and in particular our supply chains. The religious communities can supply part-time labour to run small-medium production lines. We are yet to use the technology of 3-D printing and computerized moulding. Yes, every community has its needs. And yes, we can fulfil those needs and receive their contribution. We made the desert bloom, we can make Benei-Barack part of us and we part of them. They are not our enemy; their welfare is the prime concern of their elected leaders. And that is legitimate.

Our young deserve education and Jewish culture. Our parents deserve to work in security; everyone deserves affordable housing. We all must utilize well run modern health services. Our social services are needed for and by all. Corona made us all equal.

Nouveau Israeli politics will utilize the tectonic shifts. Old betrayed loyalties are withering on the vine. A new alignment is possible. An alliance between Yamina, Liebermann and Yesh Atid is workable. Each brings its parts and its agenda. The right has collapsed; the left is decimated. Sizeable portions of the Haredim and Israeli Arabs will join cause if invited and motivated by compassion and care.
Can Yair Lapid adopt a right of centre ‘national agenda’ alongside a left of centre platform of social and industrial reform?

The need is there, the political and social infrastructure is amenable.

In this blog, I will mention Netanyahu for the first and last time. He is more than irrelevant. He has no part in our future and must be airbrushed from our present.

We will stride on together– will Lapid pick up the torch?

About the Author
Born in Leeds in 1944, Michael Benjamin is a retired Psychiatrist and medical auditor, co-founder of Oranit, aspiring author and inveterate cynic.
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