Reflections 58 years for the State of Israel
By Larry Fine
This month the State of Israel is celebrating 58 years of statehood. beginning from a difficult war in 1948, Israel has continually fought war after war against belligerent Arab neighbors who have not just threatened the very life of its citizens, but have done their best to terrify and destroy its inhabitants. Yet Israel makes little headway in achieving recognition as a Jewish state.
Why is that?
First let us understand the make up of Israel. The society is divided into many sub-cultures which can be further sub-divided. People have come to live in Israel from all around the globe. In spite of its divergent population, we find a particular characteristic of Israelis is that they are intelligent, aggressive, inquisitive and intensive.
Although the government is a democracy, few realize that it is not a representative democracy in which the elected officials have an obligation to their supporters or represent a specific geographic locale. Rather each member of Parliament has been elected by country wide elections; he does not represent any specific locale. He is answerable only to his party which gave him a listing on their slate which enabled him to take office; he does not answer to any citizens' group or locale. Hence there are many parties, and each election brings a government that is comprised of several smaller parties all of whom wish to get part of the budget.
The government is by nature unstable. No party can manage the full four years since it never has a majority. As an example, in this past election, the leading party, Kadima, received 28 mandates (seats in the Knesset). Since less than 60% of the population voted, 40% feeling that there was no one who was either honest, responsible, represented their view, or aroused them sufficiently to vote. This means that the State will be headed by a party that represents a total of 14% of the public (60% x 28seats/120 total seats = 14% ).
When a government of such small representative number takes over, it can only be short lived since the other 86% of the public and the other political parties, even if they do join the coalition, don't have much faith in such a party to govern. To gain a stable government, radical reforms must be made in the electoral process. Israel needs a representative democracy - but in order for this to take place, the elected officials must vote for it and this is against their own personal self interests!
The greatest problem facing Israel now is not the economy, for it has been quietly improving. In addition to security, social discrimination at all levels must be eradicated.
Security has always been a problem because the leaders of Israel have always been fair minded individuals who only desire to live in peace with their Arab neighbors. Yet it is just this philosophy that has caused it to be dragged into war after war. Why? Because a liberal minded state would only work with a like minded neighbor state. Unfortunately Israel's neighbors are fanatic Islam fundamentalists who mock democracy and believe that it is a divine concept to kill and maim for the sake of Allah. In dealing with them we must utilize the concepts that the western world used to bring stability to the Western world for the last sixty years.
When Hitler and his Fascist cronies began a campaign of killing and brutalizing Western democratic societies, the Allies took the war into Germany and Japan, totally devastating their economy, land and government to the point that it was they who called for peace. And it was this "bloodthirsty" policy that has given the West sixty years of economic prosperity free from war.
Yet Israel has not learned the lesson. It must be the enemy that calls for peace, not the world community and not Israel herself. The enemy must be completely broken; her warmongering leaders must be executed, not merely jailed, for Israel to have lasting peace.
But the biggest problem within Israel is social discrimination. True we are a nation of immigrants who have by nature its own sub-cultures and characteristics, but the government must adopt policies to advance equal employment opportunities that will eventually eradicate the de facto policies which perpetuate separatist communities, block companies from getting the best employees and hold back wage earners from making good livings.
As long as Israel is striving to impress the world community, it will make slow progress. Israel must do what it must do, i.e. crush Arab terror and alleviate social injustice as if there are no world opinion watching. No one get kudos when they are obviously bending backwards to impress. We must be ourselves, and for ourselves.
The truth of the truth is that with all the bad news, Israel keeps growing. We are fortunate to live in such a state that not just allows us to view opposite ideas, but encourages just that through it multitude of newspapers.
We are also fortunate to live in Israel during the time of the ingathering of the exile, and perhaps we shall witness the coming of the righteous redeemer that we have heard so much about. Why not? In modern Israel, all is possible, even the third Temple!
from the May 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine