Creating an Israeli vision with no wars

When we come to defining, for all elements of society, “the common good,” we must keep in mind that the principle of “justice” in fact, delays solutions.

March 30, 2015 22:11
4 minute read.
Child  casts vote for mother

A child casts her mother's vote (photo by Marc Israel Sellem). (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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The 20th Knesset election campaign touched the most delicate cords of Israeli society, and so it leaves no choice but to raise a fundamental discussion in regard to the Israeli dream and vision from a political and values viewpoint.

A state that strives to be enlightened, and so to be conceived as such by other nations, must know that history repeats itself – a melting pot, of which in its creation, drew in a medley of immigrants to the “promised land,” while turning the natives of this land into a minority.

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As has previously happened in other countries around the modern world, the becoming of a nation (a democracy), is created after it can release itself from the chains of “a common fate,” a process of getting through a series of violent political events, including the assassination of a political leader, as well as civil war.

In order to reach a position of tranquility, the State of Israel needs to determine its identity (and more so its borders). This can be done by means of a common vision, one of which, in the long term, will not be doubted, not even through unbearably hard and painful national events.

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With the understanding that Israel needs a national (long-term) plan and new narratives, in the background it eases the ability to answer the question: where is our state heading? In a rational analysis, we will see that the existential threat on the State of Israel, at the moment, is internal.

It is also clear that peace with our neighbors, those that are close as well as far, will strengthen our national security. It will enable, on a practical level, structural reform of all security components in the state. To this is added the aspiration to significantly strengthen the economies of the moderate countries in the region as a shared challenge for us and other developed Western countries.

A policy such as this would enable regeneration of a developing environment that will rejuvenate and encourage productive components.

These components will prevent, in medium-time range, abandonment of the work market, which enables encouragement of a welfare state and balances the adoration of the capital market and, at the end of the day, causes unbearable economical gaps.

When we come to defining, for all elements of society, “the common good,” we must keep in mind that the principle of “justice” in fact, delays solutions. The common good should provide the ability to implement a pseudo-national and equal identity, which will create hope and meaning in the future “raison d’etre” for all residents of the State of Israel.

One of the main components of this vision is, of course, an advanced and promotional education system, in which the basics of Jewish, humanistic and democratic values could serve as an educational platform. At the same time, it is necessary to examine how to create an equation that would enable civil leadership with national validity.

In light of recent developments, a solution to the equation must undergo a strong political dialogue, of which result in the marking of a thin line between moderate Right and pragmatic Left. This type of dialogue should create the vision out of which national leadership will emerge, a leadership that will project that it “can be relied on.” The idea is for a principled, democratic discourse that will include all parts of society in a process that will accelerate and might also enable to skip some particularly painful parts, on the path to the rebirth of Israeli society.

What is the political significance of the social process for a party that desires to govern? Only a political body (party) that will know how to be a leading partner in such a discussion will be able to aspire to govern. A party that wishes to rule needs to create think tanks and discussion forums with all parts of the Israeli public, including key political components in Israeli society. It must enable them self-expression on the one hand and expose them to new values on the other.

It must create perceptions that will enable, in the future, use of the state budget as a tool promoting equal opportunity and acts against the neo-conservative reality, which creates islands of isolation.

If Labor is a party that wishes to govern, it must redefine itself: Create a common, national good, such that will be optimal, equal, that will include all the identities and cultures, needs and self-determinations of all groups living within Israel’s borders, a vision in which human diversity is an asset rather than a burden.

The author is CEO of the Israel Labor party and head of Zionist Union headquarters.

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