Let’s vote MK Dov Lipman back into the Knesset

For new immigrants to Israel, electing MKs to Knesset with their interest in mind is a high priority.

By MICHAL SLAWNY-CABABIA
March 15, 2015 21:41
4 minute read.
dov lipman

rabbi dov lipman. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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English-speaking immigrants to Israel, like myself, often bemoan three things about Israeli politics. It troubles us that we don’t have representatives in the Knesset who serve as our specific representatives and are accountable to us, and it is difficult in general that we don’t vote for individuals but, rather, for parties. We are being presented with an opportunity on Election Day this coming Tuesday to finally elect a person who sees himself as directly accountable to us.

Knesset member Rabbi Dov Lipman was elected to serve in the 19th Knesset in January 2013 as the first native English speaker in the Knesset in three decades. In numerous interviews and presentations he related how before he stood up on inauguration day and said, “I obligate myself,” he specifically thought about the hundreds of thousands of English speakers who have been lacking representation in the Knesset and committed himself to serve as our representative.

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He announced “Congressman hours” for Sunday mornings during which anyone could come and meet with him so he could try to assist them with their personal issues, becoming the only Knesset member to hold such hours. His office was quickly flooded with e-mails from English-speaking immigrants who recognized that there was finally a listening ear which they could comfortably turn to, and MK Lipman became known for his desire and ability to assist us with a wide range of absorption challenges.

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Aside from assisting English-speaking immigrants with personal issues, MK Lipman worked to make major changes in state policies relating to the immigrant community. He succeeded in making the process of getting an Israeli driver’s license easier by abolishing the need for a theory test and he is committed to continuing the fight until immigrants who are veteran drivers can simply exchange their foreign license with an Israeli one. He succeeded in making changes regarding the licensing process for immigrant nurses and is committed to continuing the fight regarding other professions and transferring academic degrees.

The Knesset quickly realized that MK Lipman was an asset for their hasbara (public diplomacy) efforts. He was appointed to head the Knesset delegation to England and South Africa and was asked to meet with nearly every parliamentary delegation that visited the Knesset. He was also the most active member of the Knesset Christian Allied Caucus, reaching out to hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world and strengthening their support for Israel. Who among us was not proud to see that he was the first Knesset member in five years to be welcomed as an official guest of the South African parliament? MK Lipman became our representative. He became our voice. And he certainly felt accountable to us and, I believe, filled us all with pride.

That pride on his first days in Knesset when, in his inaugural address, he spoke of his grandmother reciting the “Shehecheyanu” blessing when he told her he was moving to Israel, and when he described the pilot of his aliya flight telling the passengers on the intercom, “I am here to take you home.” And that pride lasted until the end of his first term when, soon after the dispersal of the 19th Knesset, Knesset speaker MK Yuli Edelstein announced that Lipman was the most notable MK in the term for participation in Knesset debates and votes. His moving and uplifting eulogy for lone soldier Max Steinberg, filled with the spirit of Zionism and giving back to our country, comforted and raised the spirits of the 30,000 people at Mount Herzl Cemetery along with the national television audience.



We, English-speaking immigrants to Israel, need Dov Lipman in the Knesset. We need him to be there to serve as our representative for our individual needs, we need to him to fight to make changes for our collective needs, and we need him to continue being such a source of pride and inspiration to our community. And, now for the best part of all this: We can vote him back in.

Yes, we can go to the ballot box on Tuesday and vote for a person who we want in Knesset and who views himself as accountable to us. Yesh Atid, MK Lipman’s party, is polling just below his number on the party list. If we, as an English-speaking community, make the decision that we want him back in office, we have the numbers to make it happen.

Therefore, if you are not extreme right-wing or extreme left-wing, and are within range of Yesh Atid’s center ideology, we who complain that no Knesset members represent us, no Knesset members assist us and no Knesset members are accountable to us, should vote for MK Lipman’s party to send him back to the Knesset to represent and assist our community.

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