Israeli Election Day 2015

Today, 17 March 2015, is Israeli Election Day, it is also the 23rd (secular) anniversary of the Iranian backed terrorist car-bombing against our Embassy in Buenos Aires. Yes, it is an unusual combination of dates, a co-incidence. My family’s (G-d fearing) pragmatic Socialists and Communists often said: “Co-incidence is G-d’s secular name.” I was raised with the words and melody of the Spanish anthem “La Internacional Socialista” so ever present, that even today, whenever I hear its opening strains, I stop and stand at full attention. I am aware that Socialism is no longer fashionable. But I do believe that its values still are, and, will ever be relevant to our lives and to our nation. I am particularly connected to the Socialist values of just responsibility and fairness towards, as well as, economic solidarity with, all of the citizens of Israel.
 
As a G-d fearing Socialist, I can easily connect Socialism’s values back to the Talmudic (Shevuot 39a) statement: “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh” (“All Israel are responsible one for each other”). Often when discussing this sentence’s meaning, I meet those who force it to suffer the limitation of turning the word “Israel” into the word “Jews.” As a modern Israeli citizen, I have always understood this sentence to be about all Israelis, citizens of a heterogeneous nation. For me the word “Israel” contains within it: Bedouin, Circassians, Christian, Druze, Muslim, and Jew – we are all Israel, we are all responsible one for the other.   
 
In his campaign, Prime Minister Mr. Netanyahu has gone to great lengths to educate us: “This election is about our war against a nuclear Iran. We must protect ourselves against Iran.” In their campaigns others have gone to great lengths to remind us that: “This election is about the rights of Jewish citizens of the nation to live where ever they wish.” The accompanying subtext being that Jewish survival depends upon the ‘right’ to discriminate against those who are not Jewish or who are perceived to be an existential threat to our nation. Firmly believing in Democracy, I defend the right of my fellow citizens to express these views. However, I firmly and respectfully disagree with them.
 
I disagree with their views because 23 years ago, as I stood in front of the destroyed shell of our Embassy in Buenos Aires, a very short time after being informed that my husband’s body, my beloved David, had been found in the rubble, I looked up and saw a rescue worker raising the flag of our nation, Israel, at a remaining high point of the Embassy building. Accompanying all of the unspeakable fear and pain I felt at that moment, as I witnessed the raising of our flag, I felt the certain safety of knowing: “No Pasaran!” (“They Shall Not Pass!”). Iran will never be able to destroy Israel. In the days and years since that long time ago moment in Buenos Aires, I have, in my own small way, worked for and supported the peace process. Ever loyal to my Socialist roots, I have also worked for and supported fair economic policies for all of Israel’s citizens. 
 
Today, along with all of Israel’s citizens, I will go to the polls to cast my vote for the 20th Knesset. I am but one vote, one voice – I choose to use my one vote, my one voice to directly tell the leaders of our nation: “I vote with Israel. Yes, to peace and equality. Yes, to economic stability for all of her citizens.”  
 
I take this opportunity to remind my fellow citizens to exercise your right to vote according to your beliefs. Please do be very sure that in casting your vote, you too are voting FOR ISRAEL and not against Iran or any other enemy of our nation. Please remember that despite any personal sacrifice or loss, injury or pain caused by our enemies we are first and foremost responsible one for the other. We are at our strongest only when we are guided by our love, respect, justice and fairness towards our fellow Israelis and our nation, Israel. I know these things to be true because in my weakest, most frightened moments, I saw the flag of our nation securely and safely fluttering on, high…”Hai v’Kyam” (“Alive and Strong”)…
 
 buenosaires1                  
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Photo of the Israeli flag over the remains of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. Source: Unknown.
This post is in loving memory of my late husband, David Ben-Rafael, who along with 29 other human beings was murdered in the Iranian backed terrorist car-bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, on 17 March 1992. 
 
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