Israel’s Tango between Religion and State

The decision to make Aliyah, the subsequent transitional process of building a life in Israel with its rewarding challenges provides ample opportunity for constructive reflection. I arrived to this country in November 2016 as an immigrant by choice because I believed and continue to assert that my deepest personal aspirations to achieve a historically rooted identify within the context of Jewish communal life is most fittingly realized in this land. Part of what underwrites this conviction is the knowledge that we remain fortunate enough to have principled leaders in our national politics who continue to seriously engage the public in mature and serious dialogue. To ensure that this continues to foster, it is our responsibility as citizens to empower those voices in Israel that demonstratively seek to safeguard the individual rights and societal values that have allowed Israel to thrive as a bastion for democracy and modernity in a region terribly plagued by political forces that seek to exploit such privileges.

It is neither an allusive nor naive aspiration to believe in a vibrant Israel in which our leaders are able to speak clear-eyed against legislation that enshrines and exacerbates religious coercion, and who simultaneously remain committed towards working fiercely against the dilution of Israel’s ethical and traditional character. After a thorough consideration of Israel’s  political landscape, I can say unequivocally that Yesh Atid is the party most suitable for new immigrants and all other Israelis who yearn for temperance and pragmatism to shape the character of Israel’s national discourse, decision making and identity. It is my party of choice because it stands resolute in striking a viable and reasonable tempo to the Jewish-Democratic tango. If we as Israelis are sincere in the desire to live in a country that is responsive to the modern necessities of safeguarding equality under the law, religious freedom and diversity through an equitable division of state resources, then it is essential to become more proactive in supporting leaders who possess the political charisma and courage to expend their political capital for advancing such causes.

The proper path for wise decision making and leadership does not always rest in finding a consensus position or collective solution to the societal challenges with which we struggle. Nor is the approach towards consensus always a sufficient or desirable style for governance. What we need are leaders who are willing and capable to respect the dignity of difference in national debates, give careful consideration of the arguments on issues and then in the necessary time muster the required courage to champion constructive thought into the resolution of political conflicts rather than abusing the power of identify to create them.

Tonight, my home town of Ra’anana will host a town hall conversation IN ENGLISH to hear from two leading lawmakers in the fight for a more tolerant and pluralistic Israel  —Knesset members, Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie and MK Elazar Stern who will discuss issues of relevance to new immigrants and seasoned Israelis ranging from the impact of religion in the public sphere, the imperatives and accommodations concerning the equality of burden shared in national service, among other salient issues that shape and determine the relationship between the state of Israel and her citizens. And now it’s your opportunity to get involved in the debate. Please mark your calendars for “At The Bar with Yesh Atid.” at 7:30 p.m. in Murphy’s Bar, Ra’anana, 3 Ha’Sadna St.

Please RSVP to [email protected] or Michal Cababia: 052-876-1623

The process of establishing an enduring and balanced model for Israel’s national tension between religion and states is within reach but it requires a sustained push of the right leaders to get us there. Let’s empower those mindful leaders.