Israel’s next leader must focus on social issues
Ronny Douek/Ynetnews /Published: 12.30.14/ Israel Opinion
Op-ed: Public wants reform, and political issue should not overshadow fact that Israeli society is paralyzed. We need to demand real commitment to solving our problems.
The State of Israel’s next prime minister needs the popular leadership qualities and credibility of Moshe Kahlon, the intelligence and sophistication of Isaac Herzog, the charisma of Yair Lapid, and the motivation and determination of Naftali Bennett.
He or she needs to be able to reach an agreement with the Palestinians based on the principle of two states for two people, and to undertake to present such an agreement to the Israeli public in the form of a referendum. But this is not the main issue.
The next leader will have to maintain his or her focus on Israeli society, on the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets three and half years ago. The next leader cannot allow the political issue to overshadow the social one, because a society’s true strength stems from within.
The nature of Israel’s next leader should reflect the consensus in the country, and he or she shouldn’t allow minorities from the right or the left to dictate the political agenda.
The Israeli public wants its next leader to tackle the cost of living in Israel. It needs affordable housing, and wants a better public transport system, water and electricity at sane prices, more public hospital beds, and fewer children in school classrooms. These demands didn’t vanish in the last election and weren’t forgotten during last summer’s war. They are still here, crying out for attention and commitment on the part of the political echelon.
The left-right political division is paralyzing Israeli society and preventing it from falling into line with the world’s developed countries and leading economies. The public comes together and pitches in during times of war, but constructing a just society requires working together in times of peace too. Israel’s next leader will have to command his or her legitimacy, political support and ideas from both the right and the left, from both the free market and the socially oriented school of thought.