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An Election of Jewish Values

It has been a long time since we had an election as important to the future of Israel. Our vote will not be about a peace agreement, but rather on the values that would lead to it

Posted originally on Ynetnews . A Hebrew version was published by Yedioth Ahronoth
If a peace agreement were on the agenda of our upcoming election, voter turnout would be sky-high. Everyone would have an opinion and an intense desire to have that opinion shape our future. But despite all of the chatter and propaganda, it feels as if our current policies will not change, no matter who gets elected. The common belief is that no matter who we vote for, the Palestinian side lacks the desire and courage to say yes to an agreement.
At the same time, all of the parties and candidates are talking about reducing economic inequalities, lowering housing prices, strengthening the middle class, and supporting the poor and struggling. One may mean it more, the other less, but eventually any coalition created after the elections will comprise a variety of parties that will cover, in one fashion or another – all of these positions.
So, what are these elections about?
If the members of the previous coalition had restrained their pride and arrogance just a little, it could have survived. After all, the coalition did not collapse over any fundamental issue – neither diplomatic nor economic. It was all personal.
So, what are these elections about?
It’s true that no crucial diplomatic issue is at stake. But I can’t remember an election campaign more significant for the future of our country. What is at stake is our identity as a nation and a state.
An army marches on its stomach, but the Jewish people march on our values. We were never the strongest, richest, or most numerous people, but thanks to our moral and spiritual creations we were not only able to survive, but also shape our own world.
We won’t be voting on a peace agreement in the upcoming elections, but we will be voting on whether peace among equals is considered a fundamental value in our society.
We’ll be voting on whether we believe there’s a zero-sum game between democracy and Judaism, or whether we believe a country that is less democratic is also less Jewish.
We’ll be voting on whether we believe the Jewish identity of the State of Israel will grow stronger when we exclude the value of equality from our Basic Law, or whether we believe quite the opposite – that a country which belongs to all of its people is the highest expression of our Judaism.
We’ll be voting on whether we want to barricade ourselves against a world that only seeks our destruction – because Esau will forever hate Jacob – or whether we want to internalize the concept of tikkun olam and be a light unto nations, and build new bridges with both old and new friends.
We’ll be voting on whether we allow xenophobia, fear of strangers, and the next terror attack to dictate our agenda, or whether we want to try to build a society that aspires to social, economic, and diplomatic justice in the spirit of "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
The choice in these elections is clear: Go out and vote.

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