Israel after the election

16 Shvat 5773

Steps that need to be taken by Israelis, the new government and others:

1. Beyond military service and taxes, Chareidim need to deal with other Israelis in a respectful dialogue and with the awareness of living in a shared country.  Don’t act like the sole owners of the country.  Israel also needs to reform the role of the religious establishment so that Israelis can create new, authentically Israeli ways of being religious.

2. The new government needs to renew peace offers and keep them on the table.  But with full awareness that any reasonable offer may still be rejected, the new government also needs a backup plan that protects security while maintaining democracy, tolerance and hope.

3. Time for the West to learn how to motivate a Jewish state.  Many Israeli Jews don’t want a state turned inward and marked by fear and resentment, but Jews have good reason to feel threatened and react accordingly.  But there is much in the Jewish tradition to engender hope and generosity when Jews feel accepted.  So any approach to the conflict between Israel and its neighbors has to show Israel, convincingly, that its isolation will be over.  Getting this wrong poses great dangers in our age.  Get this right and Israel can add more to the world than its friends can now imagine.   

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