I have never wanted to be a politician. What has always motivated me in my work is the desire to be an educator working in the field of values-based education.
Today, of course, because such is the way of the world, everyone among us Jews in the US and in Israel is talking about the political options and the mathematical options. The conversations about the election results have moved swiftly into the realm of how to build coalitions, the mathematical possibilities which still theoretically exist which could enable Yitzchak Herzog of the Zionist Union to betray most of his principles and become Prime Minister, and the horse trading that Bibi Netanyahu and the Likud will do to build the right wing coalition at the smallest possible cost to his party and the national coffers.
I would like to hold up a mirror and ask what these results really mean.
Firstly, they are a massive blow to all of those who believe in a progressive society. For me a progressive society is based on a number of principles which we can never abandon: equality, social solidarity, pluralism and freedom. My progressive society has to be free of racism, it has to be egalitarian, it cannot be homophobic, it must respect the equal value of all human life, it must afford all the basic freedoms (of association, of speech, of religion, of opinion) as well as protect basic rights (the right to be different, the right to live without fear, the right to marry who you want, the rights of minorities, the right to health care, the right to equal and good education, the right to equal protection before the law, the right to work and the rights of those who are weak to be protected).
Are there issues which override these values, freedoms and rights? My answer is no, no and no! Do we face existential issues in Israel like Iran and the occupation? My answer is yes and yes. However, existential issues can be faced head on and with the full force they need to be, while maintaining values, freedoms and rights. If we do not, we then lose the why. The rationale for creating a Jewish State, our civilization, what we live and died for becomes a very bad joke.
So what were the results of the election in Israel, in my values-based mathematics? Awful, if you are a social progressive!
What do I see then when I hold up the mirror?
Things I hate to see in any society. The majority of the electorate in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, is fearful, probably racist, does not believe in the equal value of all human life, is largely homophobic, discriminates against women and is prepared to sacrifice the values, the freedoms and the rights in their society in the battle against existential fear.
What are we looking forward to?
I am going to be a bit of a prophet of doom here. Ironically the anti-Zionist left has potentially reached one of its goals thanks to its arch enemy Bibi Netanyahu. This election result more than anything else possibly means the end of Israel as a Jewish state. Those who do not want a Palestinian state will get a binational state. Israel, the Jewish state, the state I was born in, is in danger of disappearing.
These election results possibly mean that it is too awful to contemplate it, but contemplate I must: to maintain the personal safety of all of Israel citizens, who were born there, Jews and Arabs and Zionist Jews, in a binational state, there will probably be no other option. Netanyahu may go down in history as the Hendrik Verwoerd, (the Social Engineer behind designing and implementing apartheid, the system of rigid Racial Classification and Racial Segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 to 1994) of the Jewish People; the architect of neo-Apartheid Israel.
What can we do? Only one thing: work for change over there. Not accept the inevitability of these outcomes. Believe that this is not the end of the story; that those of us who believe in the values, freedoms and rights we feel are the only ones worthy of living for, will win in the end.
Losing this battle is too awful to contemplate.