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Steven Teplitsky

Things Go Better With Coke

Things Go Better With Coke

When I was 7 years old, my zaidy decided it was time to teach me how to dahven. So every evening during the summer I would go to his house and he would sit with me and teach me all the tefillot, starting with Shema. At the end of our nightly session, he would kiss me on the forehead and point to the fridge and say to me “Simchale, nem a coke”. That began my lifelong love of tefillot and Coca Cola. And my everlasting love of my zaidy, of blessed memory.

What does Coke have to do with events in Israel or Jewish history? Follow closely.

In a recent Op Ed in the The Times of Israel, titled “It’s not whether Netanyahu should go, it’s how”, David Horovitz articulately laid out the reasons for Netanyahu’s departure,

“And therefore, as was the case when he insisted on continuing to run the country while in the midst of a corruption trial, and as was the case when he pressed on with his assault on Israeli democracy and briefly fired that defense minister, so too, now, it falls to a potential few good men and women within his own coalition base to tell him that his presence is harming Israel, that his policies empowered and emboldened Hamas, and that far from being uniquely capable of ensuring Israel has the practical and diplomatic room to destroy Hamas, he is almost uniquely incapable of doing so.”

This op-ed brought me back to thinking about the causes and issues that brought us to our present precarious position. Thinking beyond the last fifteen months of “civil war”, I would like to present my opinion.

Having been raised in the relatively calm and boring Canadian political system and having been a student of the exciting and dramatic American political arena since the days of the demonstrations before the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, what I have witnessed here in Israel in the four years since I made Aliyah is a totally different colored horse (ie. “a horse of a different color”). I think I finally figured it out.

The political parties in the coalition besides Likud are Shas, National Religious, United
Torah Judaism, Otzma Yehudit and Noam. The political parties in the opposition are Yesh Atid, National Unity, Yisrael Beytenu, Labor and New Hope.

When I look analytically at the two groups and the constituencies they represent I see a different label on each group as opposed to Right and Left. The political alignments in Israel have been labelled as “Right” and “Left”. Rather I think the alignments should be labelled “Macro” and “Micro” or “National” and “Municipal”.

As is true in every political arena in the world, Likud, the current political party in power, wants to hold onto that power. This is their primary raison d’etre. The other parties in the coalition are in the coalition because they represent a constituency that votes for them as if they are a municipal party. A municipal government makes sure that our daily needs are met, such as garbage pickup, public safety, schools, busing, food and subsidies. The people who vote for these parties merely want their daily lives to be satisfied. They vote on the “micro” level not really caring about the larger national issues.

We can label this group municipalists, microists, and most certainly, not Zionists.

The opposition parties and the constituents they represent vote for the parties that will offer the nation political security, a strong economy, a strong military, government transparency, a sustainable future.

We can label this group nationalists, macroists, and Zionist.

When Naftali Bennet came to power one of the first legislative acts of the Finance Ministry was to place a tax on single use products and on soft drinks. The thought behind this legislation was that single-use products was hurting the environment and soft drinks, such as Coke, were harming our collective health.

This “macro” legislation hurt the people who support the coalition, the large families which don’t have the time to wash dishes after meals and are acutely aware that soft drinks are cheaper than water or milk.

When the coalition came back into power, one of the first legislative acts was to nullify the
tax on single use products and on soft drinks.

Maybe if we changed the political labels we would have a greater understanding of all the constituents of the State of Israel. Then we can sit around a table, discuss the issues
in a calm manner over a nice, cold glass of Coke.

Things always go better with Coke.

About the Author
Graduated from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Jewish Studies in 1978 before completion of PhD (ABD) in "Relationship of US to Pre 1948 Yishuv". Active in Toronto Jewish community while pursuing business career. Made Aliyah in 2020. Last person to be admitted into Israel before Covid shutdown. Favorite movie quotes are "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" and "You can't handle the truth!" and "Whaddya think, I'm dumb or something?"
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