Israeli elections 2.0 is a chance for parties to up their game, like, say, adding more women to the list, or ditching that sex offender. Here’s a few pointers for the political parties of 2019:
Dear Blue and White: Now that you have more time, surely you will add women to higher places on your list and get your act together?
Dear United Torah Judaism (UTJ), now that you have time, surely you will remove the pedophile defender from the head of your list (I recommend replacing him with one of the Haredi women looking to represent their community in Knesset), and work hard to make your list actually representative of Torah Judaism?
Dear Shas, now that you have time, I’d like to encourage you to rethink the wisdom of putting the man who ran my city of Beit Shemesh into the ground on your list. You might also do better if you’d stop setting up a convicted criminal as the role model for your growing constituency.
Dear Labor, now that you have time, you have excellent young Members of Knesset who can make your party relevant and strong and build the future of this country. Perhaps it’s time to give them a chance to lead.
Dear Meretz, you have supporters with real values driven by the desire to make this country good for everyone who lives here. Now that you have time, perhaps you’ll be able to come to terms with the fact that this country is a Jewish state. If you put Zionism back in your platform, you can likely get votes from people who are sick of the religious hegemony and the government’s capitulation to it.
Dear New Right, now that you have time, maybe you can figure out a way to get some seats in the government instead of distracting everyone with grandiose billboards and obscurantist ads for perfume. Soundbyte slogans aren’t going to win votes from anyone who wants to know what you really offer.
Dear Zehut, just because you now have time doesn’t mean you are ready to be in government. You seem a little all too over the place to me, and offering people the option to smoke a lot of weed isn’t going to fix that.
Dear Arab parties, now that you have time, reflect on the fact that you are a large minority in a democracy surrounded by other countries that would like to see that democracy you’re part of gone. If you truly want to represent your people, as you should, perhaps work with the system you’re in, acknowledge Israel’s right to be the lone Jewish state, and work instead toward making sure your constituency has the resources and opportunities they deserve.
Dear Likud, you seem to really need this extra time. Maybe you can rid yourselves of the corruption at your helm. Reflect on whether those who are the most extreme are in the least bit capable of providing for a stable and secure country — are they really the best partners? Consider also how partnering with the ultra-Orthodox in areas of religion-and-state destroys religion for so many. With this time, you can surely find those who will continue the good Bibi did before he started putting his own power over the needs of the country. You may also want to think about ending all the divisive talk, the extreme language, to bring the country together.
Dear Union of Religious Parties (URP), now that you have time, would you please lose all the extremist views, including the ones that aren’t limited to religion? Instead of being a shining example of Judaism and modernity, you make me wonder if I have a camp at all. But you can go back to the roots of what it means to be people who believe in God, and this country, and fill your party with men and women who are the best of both.
It’s an expensive hiatus, to be sure, but if we all use this time wisely, no matter our political stances, maybe, just maybe, this next election will be a win for the State of Israel.
(This article was originally published in Times of Israel)