An open letter to Israelis who care for democracy, did not vote Netanyahu

It is time for every Israeli to uphold democracy, however unsavory its results may be.

COUNTING THE ballots during Israel's election in March 2020. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
COUNTING THE ballots during Israel's election in March 2020.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
It is time for every Israeli to uphold democracy, however unsavory its results may be.
The Israeli people have spoken, again and again, despite all the criticisms, and put-downs, alarms about Benjamin Netanyahu endangering democracy, and even demonization of the prime minister. The Israeli people have declared they want him in, but they want him with your support, help and influence!
The constant hostility must stop. This is not the time to say Netanyahu must go because we are tired of him; because he has ruled too long; because he is corrupt and indicted for breach of trust, fraud and bribery; because he is ruining Israeli democracy; because he is racist; or even the cunning excuse that it will protect his legacy if he quits now, etc.
It is also time to stop attacking and belittling his supporters.
You have said it all, loud and clear, in every single shape and form in thousands of articles, hundreds of pundit hours, with the international media amplifying your voice at every step!
Despite all these accusations of dishonesty and fraud, and rebutting all claims of undermining democracy, the outcome of the third Israeli election within a year continues to demonstrate that the democratic will of the people of Israel wants the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu to steer the country through the current political climate.
Voters may not think that it was all fabricated cases by the justice system, including the police, the attorney-general and the state prosecutor, but that these cases certainly were made much more important than they should have been. His voters are not all poor, dispossessed Mizrahim (akin to America’s “deplorables”). They are people who believe his vision of Israel as the nation of the Jewish people, where Judaism counts, but within democratic boundaries. They support the place Netanyahu gave Israel in the community of nations, when Israel was forever thought doomed to isolation and pariah status.
They believe that he did it without apology, false political correctness, or buying into the globalized European vision of the world. He makes them proud of being Israeli. Most of all, despite the wariness of some of his voters, they do not believe that at this crucial point of history, of political possibilities and security dangers, that Israel should get rid of a recognized, extraordinarily experienced leader and diplomat who has navigated so many dangerous turning points, and deliver the Israeli nation to politically inexperienced generals and an angry journalist.
As Netanyahu said, “That is the will of the people. That is what the people decided... the public gave me more votes than any other candidate in Knesset elections in the history of the country.”
Yet, he was not given a clear majority. The opposition forces who voted against Netanyahu have two choices: They can continue the polarization, obstruction, and defying of the democratic will of the people; or they can work towards participation, unity and healing.
If they choose the first, they would do a disservice to the Israeli nation, as they would have opened a dangerous strategy that can be used against all future leaders. Such action weakens the country’s foundational structures and will lead to a fourth election, where the results would then be a clear support of Netanyahu’s policies, without support from the secular sector for important policies.
The second choice is to work toward unity and healing and reestablish the voters trust in the system.
The democratic process that shows the Israeli Right is still confident in Netanyahu’s ability to govern must be honored. Putting the process on the defensive will confirm Netanyahu’s electorate’s suspicions of the judicial system and that these elections are Israel’s Brexit. Choosing to honor democracy and trusting the judicial system would help, for example, Blue and White to form a unity government with Netanyahu, and make sure that the Israeli Arabs hear the real message that the passing of the Triangle area to a future Palestinian state without having to displace anyone is an option if they want it and not an eviction.
Avigdor Liberman can join the correct party and battle the issues of universal military service and secular Shabbat transportation needs from within the coalition, and not by torpedoing all efforts at political resolution.
The process must be about democracy and the good of Israel, and not about personalities or even about ideological preferences. How can the parties come together to form a government “if anyone but Bibi” continues to be the slogan, an overarching philosophy not only against Netanyahu, but now, clearly, against the will of the people?
Members of all parties need to remember that the personal hate aimed at Netanyahu serves no one. An end to polarization starts by upholding democracy.
The writer is a marriage, family and child therapist who is founder/president of the International Trauma-Healing Institute in the US and its Israeli branch. She was born in Aleppo, Syria, and has lived in eight different countries on four continents.