The Yesh Atid event in Raanana on Sunday November 19th was an opportunity to meet others who believe the future of Israel is a priority. Yesh Atid, with Yair Lapid at the helm, is the one to make law and order a top concern. Yesh Atid will stand up for the police and military and do everything possible to ensure national security is preeminent. Hearing MK Aliza Lavie and MK Elazar Stern as well as Dov Lipman was a gateway to understanding why Yesh Atid speaks for us all.
MK Aliza Lavie reminded everybody how when Yesh Atid had more seats in Parliament there were more meetings with people from all streams of Israeli society. While Bibi tends to bow down to the Chareidi Rabbanut Yesh Atid listens to the Modern Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed voices as well. When Yesh Atid had more Parliamentary say there was even more egalitarian prayers at the Kotel. The government should not let the Rabbanut tell who can and can’t go to the mikveh. If a mikveh is built according to Halacha then single as well as women in gay marriages should be permitted access just as much as married women. We must continue to support Jews and the Modern Jewish State of Israel.
MK Elazar Stern emphasized that Israel is not just for Jews. We must live together whether we are religious or not, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze or Bedouin. We must all learn to make concessions however we must never forget that Israel, per the Balfour Declaration and UN Resolutions of ‘47, is a democratic Jewish State. Knesset members need to think about the economy and future of Israel. The government should be less concerned with how long they will remain in office and more concerned with improving the lives for everyone they represent. There needs to be a separation between what is State and what is Halacha. Yesh Atid is the voice of that future.
The evening at Murphy’s Bar was enhanced by the delicious food and drink selections as well as the Question-Answer period. The person who asked why it is so difficult for her step-daughter to secure her “get” was told that exclusive power should not be given to the right wing Orthodox Rabbanut. Right now the Rabbanut is in charge of marriages, divorces and conversion thus making it difficult for many citizens’ needs to be met. At one time it seemed like Bayit Yehudi might be the voice for the centre but more and more it seems like Yesh Atid may be the only one. When Yesh Atid had over a dozen seats they did meet with Rabbis and scholars in an effort to change legislation.
MK Stern said we should not emphasize people by how dati they are as much as how proud they are to be Jewish and if they are good people. When we all had grandparents who survived places like Auschwitz or came from Morocco feeling pride in Judaism was ingrained. Outside of Israel the anti-Zionist groups like Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement are influencing our children. Intermarriage is at an alltime high. Within Israel children are being born unable to register as Jewish because of Rabbanut extremism. Something needs to change and Yesh Atid will not back down to the right wing challenges.
Marriage, Divorce and children’s rights are not the only things that need to change with the times. Someone questioned how women can feel like full citizens when there are so many limits on our gender. Needless to say MK Aliza Lavie fully agrees. If Devorah could be a prophetess and judge why should females today not be given equal power? Time to allow women prayer rights at the Kotel. Time that school curriculum mentioned more of the positive female role models throughout history? Yesh Atid believes that education is key, that curriculum needs to be adapted and that English and math must be taught in all state-funded schools.
In addition girls should be able to serve in any IDF unit they desire. True it may not be feasible for a girl to be in a tank unit with Orthodox guys. Sometimes it may be too costly to supply a girl with every necessary need. Women are needed in the army just as much as men, just as we need Orthodox, Hesder Yeshivot and secular recruits. Compromise is essential from all sides.
A question many of us have is why the government does not really represent the masses. All too often minorities are better represented and given more rights. From giving into the Chareidi who should definitely serve in the IDF like everyone else to removing cameras on the Temple Mount even after an Israeli police officer was brutally murdered. Israel’s security is paramount and that should be every Knesset member’s top priority. That is why Yesh Atid believes that, just like the US sponsored Taylor Act, that we should not support terrorists. Any deal with the Palestinians must account for security first. This is an example of how Yesh Atid listens to the mainstream.
Yair Lapid is the voice of Yesh Atid. As head of the Party he is the one that will be elected Prime Minister. MK Stern assured us that when they meet Lapid listens to everyone. He is not a person who listens with one ear but then does what he wants. He values the opinions of others and that is rare in a politician.
In Israel where we vote for a Party rather than individuals this is important. The more votes the Party gets the more Members of Knesset we will have to represent us. Even if a coalition government is formed the more seats the party has the more Ministers and the more likely for Bills we want to be passed. Israel is still 70 years young but there will come a time a new Constitution will be written. Wouldn’t it be better if our voices were heard before then? Yesh Atid, the voice of the people for the people.