||[Feb. 10th, 2009|09:52 am]
I haven't been writing much about the election, but here are my last minute thoughts. I started out with essentially four parties to choose from.
Ichud Haleumi (National Union): REJECTED on ideological grounds. I agree with them about keeping the Land of Israel, but it's their only issue. They are one-issue demagogues, with no practical plan for the future. They don't even have positions, let alone coherent ones, on many other issues I care about.
Habayit Hayehudi (The Jewish Home): ACCEPTABLE. I pretty much agree with their entire platform, except that they don't support electoral reform, which would harm them as a small party. The problem is that they have failed in the past to stand up for their ideals at crucial moments. Can I trust them, even thought they're the only real, ideological, dati-leumi (religious-zionist) party?
Likud: ???. I hate the Likud. I hate Bibi (Netanyahu, the party leader). I don't trust them as far as I can throw them. The main person in the party whom I liked, Feiglin, they managed to engineer moving unrealistically far down the list. On the other hand, they are, nominally, right wing. Is it better to have a right wing party in power whom you dislike than a middle-left party (Kadima) which you despise more? Or is it better to vote your conscience and hope that the party you vote for will be in a coalition with the winner and be able to influence them towards the good?
Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel, Our Home): REJECTED on ideological/tactical grounds. I like Lieberman, and believe in a basic standard for citizenship of any country (not being committed to it's destruction seems like a good start!). I'm OK with his plan for dividing the country (even though I don't want to give away one inch of Yehudah/Shomron) because it's not practicable, but it moves in the right direction. However, it's a secular party, which supports things I cannot support, such as civil marriage. Since they are not going to win in any case, I am not going to vote for a 'small' party that I don't entirely agree with.
In the end it comes down to Likud or Habayit Hayehudi, and I'm pretty much decided to vote my conscience (Habayit Hayehudi). Likud sucks. Kadima sucks. Labor doesn't stand a chance (thank G-d!). I'm not a political scientist. I don't know what needs to be done to fix the OBVIOUSLY broken electoral system here. I don't know which, if any vote I make may make a difference in that area, as none of the parties are really addressing that issue. So in the end I'm voting for the party that supports what I want: Jews able to live freely in the entire Land of Israel, educational reform & additional funds for religious education, social conscience (expanded health basket, unemployment, aliyah-benefits, affordable housing, etc.), no civil marriage, religious people serving in the army.
The state of Israel is deeply flawed. No question. We are not yet in the Messianic age, and have to deal with all sorts of garbage. But, I still believe in R' Kook's vision that the state is an indispensable step toward the final redemption. Whatever state it may be in, such is the state of Am Yisrael (the Jewish people), and we can only fix it by participating in it. Opting out is not an option. If R' Kook could be optimistic at a time when some Jewish leaders were essentially supporting the British occupation of the Land of Israel, turning away Jewish refugees, sinking ships of rival Jewish factions, etc., when the situation for Jews all over the world was increasingly dangerous, then I can certainly be hopeful today. In fact, with just a pinch of historical perspective, it becomes clear that Am Yisrael, and in fact the state of Israel, is in a much better position than it has been for since the destruction of the Temple. If we allow ourselves to be myopic and selfish, to focus only on our own, personal suffering, to divide the Am (people) into so many sections of "us" and "them" then WE are dooming the mission of divine redemption for the entire world to failure. WE are the ones giving up on the ultimate redemption. We cannot control anything except our 4 amot (the four feet around us). We control our hands, our feet, etc. I refuse to slip into the galut (exilic) mentality of victimization. We control our own destiny, and we must take responsibility for it.
So, for those of you with the right to do so, GO VOTE!!! If you don't, you will have no-one to blame but yourself when the next government turns out to be or do something you don't like.