American Jews — Galloping to the Polling Stations in Israel?
American Jews, you have the right to your opinions. But you do not have the right to tell Israel what to do. That right would only be yours were you to move here and accept the automatic citizenship bestowed upon Jews from everywhere just because they are Jews. In fact, some of us Israelis tell you Americans shouting out from the bleachers that if you really want a say, you should make Aliyah and share in the glories and the burdens of Israeli life — then you could vote in our elections and have a say in the direction the government takes.
The day after you get citizenship would be the day you could vote. But to tell you the truth, the last thing I want to hear on our next election day is that American Jews are galloping to the polls. Without having any understanding of what we are going through, what we face.
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And what if you were to vote and then leave Israel? After all, I know Jews who came to Israel to serve in the army and do their bit for the Jewish people, and then go back home with more understanding of our culture, our language and our daily life.
What if some progressive (what a term for it!) Jews felt voting in a left-wing government was doing their bit for Israel, after which they would be free to return to the States, to their jobs or studies, their houses or their parents’ houses, their progressive synagogues and their pulpits from which they pronounce their truths about the Jewish state. Only this time, they would be watching what a left-wing government would do after they would have helped vote it into power.
You know what’s funny? It is an Israeli saying that it takes a right-wing government to make peace and a left-wing government to make war.
Given that the conditions for peace are not yet here but the conditions for war have been fomenting off and on for a long time (this past summer, for example) and the right-wing government did not carry out a war to the end for quite some time yet. It would be interesting to see whether or not a contemporary left-wing government, bearing the weight of the nation on its shoulders, would do what the right-wing government, disdained the world around, has been hesitant to accomplish.
Yalla, American Jews! Saddle up!
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This thought experiment can be said to complement an earlier thought experiment I wrote up when Zehava Galon was leader of Meretz.