Yesterday, I awoke to find my Israeli friends expressing a sense of despair, anguish and sadness at the result of the Israeli elections.
One wrote that she wasn’t sure how she could find the strength to get out of bed to continue the [excellent] work she does in her position as director of an interfaith organization. She works with people of all faiths on a daily basis to build bridges toward peace, dialogue and understanding. She strives to develop an Israeli society where all peoples can live with dignity and in harmony. Yesterday was a difficult day for her.
Friends were greatly saddened by the racism that pervaded the election campaign. They were grievously disturbed by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s choice to rally his supporters on election day by creating an atmosphere of fear over the participation of Israeli Arabs in the elections, rather than celebrating democracy at its best.
I am not going to do an analysis of the elections – there are enough political pundits, armchair critics and others who are already doing that.
But I can talk about “hope.” So many of us love the land and people of Israel and wonder if there can ever be hope for the future in that region.
I was thinking about this yesterday as I was on a long car ride. And I happened to be driving for 45 minutes on a highway behind a car whose license plate read: NEVRGVEUP
Never give up.
Never give up…hope for peace.
Never give up..hope for the future.
Never give up..hope that justice will ultimately prevail.
One of my friends, Cantor Evan Kent, who now lives in Israel full-time wrote: “in spite of the elections, I am proud to remain an irrational optimist. The philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr informs my work and life. MLK said: ‘The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice..’.”
Evan – and so many of us – will not give up hope that justice and peace WILL ultimately prevail in Israel. It will be a long, slow and sometimes painful road.
As Anat Hoffman (Executive Director for the Israeli Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center) said, “We will find ways to be effective and successful despite a very challenging reality. Now is not the time for despair. Now is the time to fight even more determinedly for the future.”
So, too, WE must not give up hope. We must use our voices, our actions, our words and deeds to speak up for justice and peace.
We must educate ourselves about the critical issues, we must remain united in our commitment to Israel’s security and do our part to make justice prevail and hope a reality.
One way we can impact Israel is to Vote ARZA in the World Zionist Congress. If you have not already voted, you can vote by clicking on this link here:
For some additional understanding about the elections, here is a wonderful blog, by Israeli Reform Rabbi Stacy Blank:
For the Reform Movement’s Response to the Elections, click on this link:
As we are taught: “As long as there is life, there is hope.” (Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 9:1)