Sunday, December 14, 2014

Voting to Leave Israel

Voting on whether to stay in Israel

Op-ed: The upcoming elections are not about leadership, the peace process or the cost of living; they are about whether Israel will have anything to offer its young generation in the coming years.
Naor Narkis
Published: 12.14.14, 22:12 / Israel Opinion
Exactly a month and a half ago, I was sitting with my laptop in a small apartment in central Berlin. My inbox was flooded with thousands of letters from Israelis from different backgrounds, who told me about their pain and their strong desire to leave the country which has done everything in its power to drive them away.

A country in which a young working couple is incapable of buying an apartment. A country in which a family decides not to have another child because of the alarming costs. A country in which the measure for success is wealthy parents rather than talent and abilities.

2015 Elections

Netanyahu's blatant election economy / Sever Plocker

Op-ed: The only goal of the prime minister's plan to eliminate VAT on a small number of supervised food products is to lure voters and buy their support at the polls for a bargain price.
Full op-ed

There were those who called me "anti-Zionist" for this act. An evil, miserable person encouraging Israelis to move to Germany, which nearly destroyed the Jewish people just a millisecond ago in historical terms.

But at the same time, there were those who looked the truth in the eye. The real and concrete danger for Zionism is that talented young people will stop seeing Israel as their home and set their sights on better options.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 'We have learned that change is impossible with him at the lead' (Photo: EPA)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 'We have learned that change is impossible with him at the lead' (Photo: EPA)

Yes, we deserve much more than the Israeli government is giving us today: A war every 18 months and a terrifying mortgage.

Those moments, I never imagined that the government would be shattered into pieces and that elections would come at such a perfect timing. Most of the people who approached me, and I received about some 20,000 appeals, were young talented, working and educated people who cannot live in Israel in dignity.

We know the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, from our youth. He was prime minister when we were in elementary school, finance minister and the person who outlined the economic policy when were in high school, foreign minister when we served in the army, and the prime minister again when we received our academic degree, entered the labor market and got married.
And this is the State of Israel he has created for us: A place which many citizens have been thinking of living in the past year. a state where talent and efforts are not linked to success and wellbeing.

This election is an opportunity

The early elections can be seen as an opportunity and as a miracle. I want to live in Israel. There is nothing for me in Germany. I have no roots in Paris. I'm not interest in the glamour of Los Angeles.

If there is one thing I have realized in the past few months it is that instead of leaving Israel, the state which so many generations of Jews fought for, it's time for us to exile the leaders who hurt us from politics. If the prime minister had a shred of integrity, he would resign, as a leader who has failed in every single field should do.
The citizen is at the bottom of the food chain (Photo: Ido Erez)
The citizen is at the bottom of the food chain (Photo: Ido Erez)

There are those who say that these elections are about the state's leadership and about the cost of living. Others say that they are about the stalemated peace process or about the unnecessary nationality bill. But in my opinion, these elections are about whether our generation will have anything left in Israel in the coming years.

Do we have a chance to start a family here and provide for it? Buy an apartment? Develop professionally and personally? Will we live in a country in which the citizen comes first, or a country in which the citizen is at the bottom of the food chain, after the wealthy people, the supermarket chains, the Knesset lobbyists and the egoistic political interests?
The recent messages we are receiving from the politicians who allegedly oppose the situation Israel in and Netanyahu's years-long policy are creating distrust among many people, which may be reflected in one of the lowest voter turnouts in Israel's history.
Why can't people who allegedly oppose this policy tell us wholeheartedly and firmly that they will prevent Netanyahu's fourth term as Israel's prime minister?

Promise not to serve under Netanyahu

Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni took a step in the right direction when they teamed up, but even they are refusing to make that commitment – and they are both people who served as ministers in his governments.

Yair Lapid and his friends won't commit to that either, and neither will Moshe Kahlon, who symbolizes a hope for change in many people's eyes. And we have all seen that change is impossible with Netanyahu at the lead.
My generation is looking at you and pleading with you to make the effort to give us a chance to live in dignity and wellbeing in Israel. The leaders of all the parties which are offering us a different Israel, and Israel which will head in a completely different direction, should form an alliance within several days and promise not to recommend to President Reuven Rivlin after the elections that Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud should form the next government.
Netanyahu's policy has been tried and failed – big time. Israel has neither a strong economy nor strong security. Take this step, and we will give you our support.
The elections are drawing nearer. Netanyahu has become much weak since the 2011 social protest, but he is still very strong and longs to remain in power. Every day in which you fail to unequivocally declare that you will not join forces with him again is an embarrassment for you and a disaster for us.
We know that keeping your ego in check will require a huge sacrifice on your part, but you must show responsibility and do it quickly. Help us exile Netanyahu from politics, instead of him sending us to get a foreign passport.
Naor Narkis was the initiator of the "Berlin protest."