Israel Elections: My ideal government

Looks at percolating issues in Israel's complicated social and religious fabric.

SHEETS OF NEWLY printed ballots seen at Palphot printing house in Karnei Shomron, ahead of next week’s election. (photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER/FLASH90)
SHEETS OF NEWLY printed ballots seen at Palphot printing house in Karnei Shomron, ahead of next week’s election.
(photo credit: YOSSI ZELIGER/FLASH90)
 In the chaos that is Israel today, as we approach election No. 4 in two years, what kind of a government would you three ladies like to see?
Danit Shemesh:
In America my vision of government was: the less the better. Of course, we need jurisdiction, a hierarchy of power, and taxes for good governmental services to support individual ingenuity which builds the state, but I believed in as little government intervention as possible.
I was a sincere capitalist who preferred providing a fishing rod rather than a fish. Back when the American dream was the world’s guiding light, capitalist America embodied values of progress and self-responsibility.
Being a fierce individualist, I also believed in separating church and state. But here in Israel I am transformed. I understand the American dream has been defeated by ego and strife. It is time for us to be a “light unto the nations,” a role we can fulfill only by embodying Jewish values. 
In Israel, I have always voted for Shas because our leading sages instructed us to do so. Shas reports to the Torah Council, which in turn dictates the manifestation of Jewish values within the governmental framework. I have become a conformist, giving my vote to those who uphold Torah values, which is our only chance of rising above yet another impoverished state of being.
I want to give “the people of Israel in the Land of Israel with the Torah of Israel” a chance. I am not an idealist, but I believe a godless leader will fail me. A vote for Shas proudly proclaims that Israel is Jewish and that God’s word counts.
I am tired of rifts and hatred; I still believe we are a great nation. We can be better, but only if God is in the picture. Our value system is higher than politics. 
Pam Peled:
When Netanyahu won his first election, centuries ago, I cried so that I reversed my car into a lamppost. Like half the country I felt a bad change coming, a change that would swing Israel rightward into the arms of the parties of God.
But no one could envisage the groundswell of adulation he would engender, the “only Bibi” cult of personality. No one could predict the hatred he would foster; how he would turn his people against each other and brand anyone who dislikes him a (snarl) “leftist” or traitor.
Therefore, the government I am aching to see, after yet another election called mainly to keep our Crime Minister out of jail, is a coalition not headed by him. 
A close second on my wish list is a government without haredim, without Shas, without any party claiming to have God’s plan. Politics and religion are a toxic mix: I want no black hatters dictating how I can get married and buried, and that my taxes must feed their kids. 
I dream of a coalition working together for our common good. In a perfect world Yesh Atid would combine with Labor, Gantz, Meretz and Liberman and kick-start our lovely country back into sanity, sustainability, peace and prosperity. Our country would become a laid-back, fun place to live, where Jewish values, culture and traditions are embraced and enjoyed, not forced down people’s throats till they gag.
We are not Australia; that dream is still distant. I’d settle for Sa’ar and Bennett completing the mix.
Just keep Netanyahu and family off our front pages for the next few centuries. Please. 
Tzippi Sha-ked:
I’m plain tired. I’m not exactly sure what another election will bring, apart from yet another election. Am I voting differently this time? Yes. I’ve gone from a five-issue voter to a two-issue elector. I’m saying bye to Bibi.
Sixteen years ago, I left the California Golden Medina because we wanted our children to have a Jewish heritage in a Jewish homeland. We were idealists back in the day. We packed our bags and five kidlets; sold three cars; waved goodbye to best friends, pool, beloved immediate families, and left to be pioneers for family members who never followed (save for my mother-in-law), and probably never will. And it’s been damn hard burying three parents from afar.
Still, living here was important to us, and I was compelled by the choices it entails. I used to be a five-issue voter; I cared terribly about peace deals, economic fitness, Jewish longevity, et al. Now I care more about keeping my children in Israel and keeping haredim in check. I didn’t make aliyah only to see my children struggle to succeed, or contemplate leaving as after graduation there is scant job assurance with adequate pay. 
What reforms will incentivize our kids to stay? I’m investing in the party that will prioritize well-being of college graduates and give hope for the future, so they can own a piece of the rock and not feel that a huge rock is pinning them down. 
Regretfully, while I’d prefer to vote for a party that shares my religious values and is strong enough to withstand the tantrums and bullying of haredi parties, there isn’t one. Reluctantly, I must vote for Lapid.  
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