Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner responds to the results of the Israeli elections this week.
I loved voting in Israel. I loved the feeling that I was impacting on the future of Israel and on the future of the Jewish people. Now I am living in the UK, I still am preoccupied with the Israeli elections as they matter so much to me and to so many members of our Movement.
Our core values of equality, justice and telling the truth even when it’s uncomfortable, guide me in my reaction to the pre-election words of Prime Minister Netanyahu rejecting the possibility of a Palestinian State and questioning the benefit of Israeli Arabs voting. Our Movement is resoundingly committed to equality for all Israelis and the two-state solution. This is not a theoretical political mechanistic option. This means peace, security, dignity and justice for Palestinians and Israelis in separate sovereign states.
It’s time for honesty. But, it always has been and it always will be. However you reacted to the results of the Israeli election, I encourage you to tell people your reaction as our community must be a place where a wide spectrum of views can be expressed in safety. People who feel silenced will not feel comfortable to participate in community life.
I know that it is our role as Jews to be actively involved in society and our task to partner God in being actively engaged in our world. Over the last days, many people, particularly young adults, have expressed their deep disquiet and disappointment at the election results and a desire to disengage with Israel.
I think that “davka” now is exactly the time to take courage in our hand and to engage. For me, this means supporting what I believe is right and calling out against what I believe is wrong. I think we should do this whether it is about UK society or Israel.
This is our inheritance as Jews, not to switch off, not to disengage, however tempting. Our inheritance is one of truth, debate and honesty. Our task is to ensure that that happens, in friendships, and synagogues, in private and in public.
This is our task, but my prayer is that, after the storm of the election, the moral imperative and reality of governing will temper views expressed and a different, more hopeful, political reality will emerge.