Vote with your hearts…and minds

Smaller sectarian parties may seem appealing, but Likud is the only option that will ensure a right-wing victory

In a matter of just hours, Israelis will head to the election polls to make a choice where once again the very future of our nation hangs in the balance.

The reality is that, perhaps more so than in any previous Knesset election, the decision voters are being asked to make is a stark one between the right and the left — or perhaps more appropriately, the right and the wrong.

Most importantly, because of the current political constellation and the nature of our coalition system, the vote requires that those who support the right must make the decision to support the Likud as the largest party in the right-wing bloc. Any attempts Israelis might make to vote based upon the coalition they hope to form after the elections are almost certainly doomed to fail. In this election every voter needs to decide who they want as the next prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu or a rotation between Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni.

Driving the left’s campaign is a familiar, yet largely vacant call against Prime Minister Netanyahu. The argument can essentially be boiled down to “let us give someone else a chance.” This agenda has led to a largely personal campaign against Benjamin Netanyahu, often absent of any substantiated arguments for what the change is that they hope to implement or how Israelis lives will be bettered.

But we need to hope that most Israelis are smarter than the left presumes and we are able to realize that Benjamin Netanyahu is the best possible individual to lead our country.

It is true that the Likud places our national defense at the forefront when we speak both here in Israel and when the Prime Minister and others take our message to the world. Israel’s security is not a given and the threats we face necessitate ensuring very vocal and focused attention to these matters. Threats from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and ISIS will not go away simply because we wish them to. They will only be addressed if we appreciate the true nature of the threat and do everything possible to defend the physical well being of our soldiers and our families.

That being said, the Likud has never lost sight of the financial and social challenges facing our people. We further know very well that much needs to be done and that issues likes housing shortages and the high cost of basic amenities need to be addressed. The Prime Minister has been wholly candid in stating that greater focus needs to be applied in these areas and he will partner with the relevant business and political leaders who share his vision to make those changes.

But remedying major economic challenges is not achieved simply by rhetoric and verbal attacks. Changes will be achieved by enacting strategic policies and making the bold but necessary decisions that will allow our national economy to become even further strengthened and benefit each and every Israeli.

We should not belittle how far we have advanced under the Likud leadership which has strengthened our nation and positioned us for better economic health. We are in the processes of moving the IDF facilities from the center of the county to the South, freeing up valuable residential and commercial development. This will not only increase supply in the high-demand center, it will also will also develop tens of thousands of new jobs in the South.

Under the Likud governments, unemployment is down to historic lows and job creation has increased steadily. We have also worked with international partners to encourage increased trade, and reduce bureaucracy so as to encourage foreign investments and offer billions more in shekel tax revenue. All this was done while the world was undergoing unprecedented economic turmoil.

And most of all we remain as focused as ever on creating better opportunities for the next generation. Through increased subsidies of early-education, supporting our teachers and by overhauling our health system, we are working hard to respond in the areas that affect you most.

But all these accomplishments, and all our vision for growth and defending our national security, will come to an end if the Likud is not returned to power on Tuesday. And let there be no mistake that this may very well happen if the Likud is not given a very strong mandate from the right-wing and the center of the political map.

I appreciate that throughout the political spectrum there are differing opinions and perspectives on how best to promote our nation’s interests. But the one thing so many of us agree on is that to have Herzog and Livni in the prime minister’s office would be a costly and potentially irreversible mistake for our country.

I therefore implore all Israelis who share this understanding to vote not only with your hearts, which might lead you to choose smaller sectarian parties, but equally with your heads, which means supporting the largest party in the center-right bloc, the Likud.

In this campaign, where the results are likely to be extremely tight and the ramifications for our country so dear, we have no privilege to risk anything but support for the biggest party in the bloc. Any other decision is one we might all end up regretting for many years to come.

About the Author
MK Yoel “Yuli” Edelstein is the Speaker of the Knesset and a candidate on the Likud slate
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