Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

New Israeli government should be celebrated

Whether you like Prime Minister Netanyahu or not, you cannot deny that during his 12 years in the premiership Israel has advanced technologically, financially, and influentially on the world stage. By all accounts, and obviously last month not withstanding, it was a time of relative security in Israel. You also cannot look at the coalition voted in and not see that his leadership was divisive and not supported by the vast majority of Israelis (if you’re concerned about my use of the word ‘vast’ I direct you to the latest voting results … or those in any of the previous three elections).

In a part of the world not known for democratic transitions of power we should celebrate the peaceful swearing in of new leadership. We should also acknowledge that the so-called ‘change bloc’ includes members of politically conservative, centrist, liberal, and Arab parties. This is a government that looks like the citizens of Israel (with the one exception being the ultra-orthodox).

For my friends on the right who are concerned, I point you to Naftali Bennett. By all accounts he’s just as conservative as Netanyahu and spent a year as the minister of defense. For my friends on the left concerned that a Bennett-led coalition is just a Netanyahu-led coalition without Likud, I point you to the Labor, New Hope and Meretz parties. For those who love centrism just look at Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party and Benny Ganz’s Blue and White. And for those who criticize Israel and falsely claim apartheid, I point you to Mansour Abbas, the leader of the Joint Arab List.

The Knesset is the modern equivalent of the Sanhedrin. Israel’s leaders will debate and argue with the hopes of advancing the Zionist dream and promise of Israel. I don’t know how long this new government will last but I wish it much success!

Am Yisrael Chai!

From the Israeli Declaration of Independence:

“THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Sam Friedman is director of Stetson University Hillel.


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