Joel Haber
Tour Guide, Comic, Foodie, Israel-Lover

The Only Thing We Still Have to Fear

I failed. I admit it.

Last week, I wrote a post that did not effectively make its point. I realized this when the most common response I got asked me questions that missed my main focus.

So I’m going to do the rare thing and write a second post in a week on the same topic. This time, I will try to be both clearer, and more eloquent.

*  *  *

When Franklin D. Roosevelt began his first term as U.S. President, in 1933, the U.S. was gripped by terrible depression. His famous inaugural address chose to encourage people to realize that they would survive the difficulties they faced. They should just not let fear be a crippling factor.

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

He could have been addressing our current election season in Israel.

If the Zionist Union is to be believed, another term with Bibi as Prime Minister will lead to Israel becoming an isolated and ignored country on the international stage, the loss of our greatest ally, and a plummet into the depths of socio-economic ruin.

And if one listens to Likud, one hears that we must be scared of Bougie and Tzipi because they will slice apart our land, bow before President Obama, and hand nuclear weapons to Iran who will then destroy this country.

Both are saying to vote for them, lest the evils that would accompany their opponents’ victory come to fruition. Their speeches and campaign advertisements include words like “danger,” “risk” and “gamble.” Be scared, they tell us, or they might rule the country!

This culture of fear has invaded the decision-making process of many voters. So many have decided their votes because they are worried what will happen if the other side comes to power. Others, who ideologically support a smaller party (e.g. HaBayit HaYehudi or Meretz) are deciding to throw their votes behind the front runners solely because they fear what will happen if they don’t.

Well, fear is an unhealthy emotion from which to operate. It can even be irrational, based on guesses. This does not mean we should close our eyes to potentially negative outcomes. Just that it might be wiser to make decisions based also on other, more positive factors.

In the past, I’ve spoken with friends who were unhappy in their jobs, and were considering quitting. My advice was always, “Unless you absolutely can’t live with your current situation, don’t quit your job until you find something else you like. Don’t switch because something is pushing you away; switch because something else is pulling you towards it.”

The same applies here. Remember that this country has had many left wing governments who did not, in fact, give away our entire country. (And that politicians elected via right wing parties — Begin and Sharon — in fact gave away more land.) We have also had many right wing governments that did not entirely destroy Israel’s international standing. (And who actually grew our economy at the same time!)

We have a great country that has survived many hardships. And our current challenges may be more existential than the Great Depression was to the U.S. But we have survived, and we will continue to survive. Regardless of who becomes our next Prime Minister.

As FDR continued:

Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for.

My point was not to try to convince anyone to vote for any specific party. I care less who you vote for than how you decide your vote.

This country has many problems, but we will overcome them only with positivity. I urge you, this Tuesday, to vote for the party that you think will best serve and help this country. Vote for the party that pulls you towards it, not the one that another party pushes you towards.

Fear itself is still the only thing we have to fear.

About the Author
Joel Haber (aka Fun Joel) is a licensed Israel Tour Guide. Born and raised in New Jersey, he spent many great years in NYC, and a few more in LA before making Aliyah in 2009. Interests include Israel, food, and making people happy.
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