Three Ladies, Three Lattes: The election and us

You ask the questions, the three latte ladies provide the answers!

 SHAS PARTY members await a meeting with President Isaac Herzog at his official Jerusalem residence on Nov. 9, as Herzog began consulting political leaders regarding the formation of a new government.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
SHAS PARTY members await a meeting with President Isaac Herzog at his official Jerusalem residence on Nov. 9, as Herzog began consulting political leaders regarding the formation of a new government.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

With the country split between joy and terror over the election results, how do you three feel? – Curious, Jerusalem

Pam Peled:

“Like a base Judean I have thrown a pearl away,” Othello laments, having realized he’s been tricked into killing his loyal, lovely wife. Those words keep banging in my brain on a loop – like base Judeans, we have thrown our jewel away. 

The election results have floored me; like half the country, I’m flattened. I scooted out of apartheid South Africa as soon as I was old enough to live alone. For almost 50 years, I’ve considered it a privilege to live in the greatest miracle of the millennium – the reborn Jewish homeland. 

Today I am not so sure. I look at my grandchildren and shudder at the thought that they will have to fight for principles espoused by racists and thugs in our theocratic, uncouth government and for scraggle-bearded haredi ministers whose own children don’t enlist in the army. Arye Deri, a convicted criminal, in charge of our coffers? Really? 

 Israeli attorney Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Meir Kahane after he was assassinated by an Arab gunman in a Manhattan hotel in November 1990, in Jerusalem, November 7, 2017 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Israeli attorney Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Meir Kahane after he was assassinated by an Arab gunman in a Manhattan hotel in November 1990, in Jerusalem, November 7, 2017 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

I was at the ESRA event 27 years ago, when Itamar Ben-Gvir notoriously brandished an emblem he’d prised off Yitzhak Rabin’s car. “We got to his car and we’ll get to him, too,” he yelled, to the cheers of his hooligans. He’s responsible for our security? Really?

Four more years of the Netanyahus appearing on every screen as they trample on all decent parameters of good governance? Oh my, oh my.

I feel zero kinship with the government of my country; the ruling MKs don’t seem like my people, and my religion doesn’t resemble theirs. They feel foreign to me, and frightening. 

God bless Israel. We’re gonna need some help. 

Danit Shemesh:

The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said, “The far-Right dream of a golden age that never was. The far-Left dream of a world that never will never be.”

So, what did I dream of in this election? I wanted a semblance of the written ideal “the people of Israel in the land of Israel living the Torah of Israel” under the “banner” of a Jewish state.

Was I happy with the election results?

Even though I voted for the Right (Shas) because of its halachic values, I stand against any grandstanding and bullying. It is not halachic to provoke. 

I’m still hopeful that Shas will be victorious in reinstating the original Torah definition of a convert, as opposed to a political definition. The Reform Jewish stance will only divide us even more, in my view.

I actually didn’t even want to vote in this election because I didn’t see any real leaders who would remain true to their beliefs while not cutting others down, or else be too lax in their convictions because of political gain. My yeshivish sons both convinced me that it is of utmost importance to uphold the sanctification of God’s name even in government, so I voted.

The results of the recent election heartened me, making me feel that the people have voted with their Jewish compass.

And what of the Muslims in our land?

We are all made in God’s image, and everyone should be treated with respect and dignity while keeping in mind we are a Jewish nation that will safeguard others’ rights while maintaining our Jewish integrity and leadership.

Tzippi Shaked:

How we define ourselves, with whom we partner, and our very raison d’etre as a country was at stake in this last election. The issues we three ladies constantly battle are at the crux of our national debate. 

As a transplanted Anglo raised on democratic values, how do I process the election results? I wanted to vote with my conscience, but in all good conscience I was put off by all the candidates. At 9:30 p.m. “Big Brother” on my yishuv called to let me know my husband and I hadn’t yet voted. As upset as this pesky, intrusive phone call made me, I still headed out, 10 minutes before the deadline, hoping for voting clarity.

No clarity. 

Last time, I voted for Lapid and I was thrilled when Bennett joined him. This time, no platform grabbed me. And still, I voted, noting ironically that each member of my family voted differently. My own flock is a microcosm of the greater landscape. I wouldn’t dream of lecturing, berating, or laughing at their choices.

I wasn’t happy with the election results; far from it. I’m upset about Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory, with Ben-Gvir’s rise, with the lack of a campaign promise to offer affordable housing for newlyweds, and that the Lapid-Bennett coalition fell apart.”

Ultimately, I mourn the demise of centrism. I’m worried about our country and especially the haredim if we don’t impose a core curriculum – that same curriculum Netanyahu shrugged off in order to gain votes. But while I’m worried, I won’t cry about it; I’ll get on with my day.

I can’t help wondering, though: Do any of the politicians truly care about our country?

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