Shalom! I am writing this letter to every Jew in the world and all those who
care about the State of Israel and its future, in order to bring to your
attention that we currently find ourselves at a historical moment, in which
personal and spiritual support is needed more than ever before.
been an educator and guide for at-risk youth for 13 years, I am 33 years old and
a father to a newborn baby girl, I live in a small Kibbutz in the Galilee, and I
am a member of education movement Dror Israel. Like most other Israelis from my
generation, I love this country and I love the Jewish nation. I do miluim
(military reserve duty), I run educational projects for disadvantaged youth and
continue to do all that I can to make my life and the society around me better,
more secure and more meaningful.
I define myself as a genuine
The State of Israel is a miracle, a social and national
phenomenon unlike anything the world has ever seen. The Jewish people, who
throughout the generations obligated themselves to a strict moral code of social
solidarity, have established an exceptional state based on the essential Jewish
values that aided our survival through 2,000 years of exile – “Love thy neighbor
as thyself,” and tikkun olam (repairing the world).
I am writing to you
because something has changed in Israel. I am not speaking about the conflict. I
am speaking of the rift that has broken down the solidarity within the country
and compromised our ability to survive as a small state in the Middle East. I am
speaking of the fact that out of all OECD (Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development) member countries, Israel has the most crowded
hospitals, the most crowded classrooms and the highest level of poverty.
Violence is on the rise, and the periphery is collapsing. This is not the state
that Herzl envisioned. It is not Jewish, not Zionist, not
Recently the cost of living has become so high that the
middle class – the people who uphold this country – has been almost entirely
eroded. The situation is so severe that it is difficult to supply the most basic
of necessities, like housing, health services, education, food and jobs. For the
sake of comparison, an Israeli earning an average wage must work for 132 months
to purchase an average apartment, whereas an average American would have to work
for only 60 months. A container of cottage cheese in Israel costs 1.6 times the
amount it costs in England, and baby formula costs 2.5 times what it costs in
the US. The situation is similar with other food products, gas, education and
This is despite the fact that the average Israeli works more hours
than the average citizens of almost every other OECD country. The average
Israeli retires at an older age and receives lower wages than most of these
countries (three times less than the average Australian and half the wage of the
All of this is taking place even though Israel’s
economic growth is among the highest in the world. This can be explained by the
following statistic: Israel ranks fourth among Western countries in terms of
inequality in wealth distribution (GINI Index) – the economic growth is not
Over the last two weeks, I am excited to say that massive
numbers of people, young and old, from every point on the political spectrum,
unexpectedly, decided to go out into the streets to demand that our country be
returned to us.
Hundreds of thousands are joining this non-violent
struggle to voice their distress. This is not a struggle of Left or Right. It is
not a struggle against this government or any other. In fact, each of the last
several governments has taken us in the same direction. This is an Israeli
struggle; a Jewish struggle. The struggle is made up of my partners in the Dror
Israel Movement, the students, the Histadrut Labor Federation, the doctors, the
teachers, the social workers and many additional organizations, but it is
primarily a spontaneous struggle of middle-class working people.
head of this effort are the young people who have created and are living in tent
cities in the streets. The Israeli people have never seen such a wide consensus
toward a just path (87 percent fully support the struggle and its
I am turning to you because your voice must also be heard. The
character of this unique state – the state of all of the Jewish people – will be
determined by your influence.
The process taking place here – including
the sale of Jewish national lands to private citizens – is also dangerous for
Diaspora Jews. We are in need of wholehearted support from every Jew around the
world in order to obtain our simple demands: housing, health, education, food
and work for every citizen. Essentially this is a call for Jewish solidarity –
Shevet ahim gam yahad (brothers sitting together in unity).
of Israel’s citizens is primarily a general struggle that demands a change in
the character of society, but there are also specific demands that this effort
wishes to achieve. All of these demands are based on the rights of all citizens
outlined in the country’s Declaration of Independence, as well as the spirit of
Theodor Herzl’s vision.
These are the things that I want to be
established as the culture of the only Jewish state in the world, for my
daughter who will grow up in this country, and for her entire generation. I fear
that if we do not pull things together today, our tomorrow will be sad and
I would like to finish this letter with a quote from Ze’ev
Jabotinsky about his vision for Israeli society: “I imagine what we refer to as
‘elementary needs’ as the things that today one must fight for and beg salary
for and scream out for. This includes five things: food, home, clothes, the
ability to give his children education and the ability to get medical treatment
when he is ill.”
If you are interested, there are a number of ways to
support the cause:
1. Deepen your understanding of the topics.
Distribute information about what is taking place in Israel and about its
citizens’ call for change.
3. Every bit of public support for the
struggle – YouTube videos, blog posts, social networking, etc. – greatly helps
4. Join the Facebook group “I support the social protest in
5. Organizations or individuals interested in supporting us
in other ways or making suggestions are welcome to write to me at
In the hope for a better future for us and for
our children, Lu yehi (may it be).
The writer is a Zionist educator and
the overseas coordinator of the Dror Israel movement.