Israel, don't lose hope

By Joseph Moses, January 16, 2013

The hopes and dreams of the Israeli people have been crucial to the development of the state. Indeed hope has been a defining characteristic throughout its history. Israelis should hold onto it dearly.

Israelis, ensure your vote in the election will be cast out of hope and not out of fear or anger. Don't allow your vote to be cast out of resignation that the election is a foregone conclusion, and the Likud-Beiteinu bloc shall win regardless. Don't go to the ballot with a belief that Benjamin Netanyahu is the only leader to choose from. He is not. He is a leader that has lost hope.

The nationalism of Likud-Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi embodies an utter abandonment of hope. It is inconceivable that this bloc that presents no hope for a better future can lead a nation that at its ideological core is based upon that very concept - Hatikva.

Admittedly, the likes of Yair Lapid and Shelly Yachimovich are newcomers to the political game and constantly demonstrate their political inexperience. But they are no fools. Livni's inclusion in the centre-left bloc is also a positive, it provides valuable experience. Crucially, what must be remembered is that this election is not just about individuals, it is not merely about the party that obtains the largest number of seats. It is an ideological election that will pave the future of the state.

The choices are stark. The Likud-Beiteinu bloc views the concept of peacemaking with disdain. Its ranks are filled with those indifferent to social inclusion with some proudly preaching social exclusion. They offer an acceptance of social inequality, they offer mere token gestures to make homes affordable and they offer complete and utter capitulation to certain ultra-orthodox sections who systematically abuse the state.

In contrast, the Labour-Livni-Atid bloc offers a hopeful alternative. It is by no means perfect. The leaders have presented themselves as egocentric and politically naive. However, they offer the Israeli electorate a better future.

They pledge to end the indifference to the peace process. They will negotiate and empower Palestinian moderates instead of providing political victories to Hamas. They champion social reforms and improvements to the welfare system. They place an emphasis on the protection of minorities. They hold the courts as sacrosanct, rather than viewing them with contempt. They do not seek to limit the democratic values epitomised by a free media. They will not turn a blind eye to the increasing marginalisation of woman within society stemming from parts of the strictly Orthodox communities. They pledge to integrate the strictly Orthodox into the rest of society and give them greater responsibility to the society as a whole. Crucially they offer a future epitomised by hope.

So Israel, please don't lose hope for peace with your neighbours. Don't lose hope for full social inclusion and improvements to social welfare. Don't lose hope for a fair society in which all people carry responsibilities. Don't lose hope in arriving at the Israel that those who still want to can vividly imagine - an Israel that is free and respectful, an Israel that can be a shining example to the rest of the world, an Israel that is full of hope.

Joseph Moses is an international relations graduate and is currently studying law. Follow him on Twitter here.

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Last updated: 10:54am, January 21 2013