How do they know?

March 19, 2002

A few nights ago, there was a talk show on the radio that featured, amongst other people, MK Benny Alon. In response to a particular question from the host, Benny Alon started to explain his frustration at the fact that nearly every prime minister from the right, after being elected to office, eventually caves in to American pressure and starts turning left. In response to this, a woman, whose name I didn’t catch, quickly entered the fray and told MK Alon “that your policies just don’t work!”

Unfortunately, I never heard MK Alon’s response. Immediately following her words there was a newsbreak and after that I got out of the car and entered into the Hypernetto to do some late night food shopping. Nonetheless, her words stuck with me, causing me to think.

For years now, the leadership of Israel (political, judicial, cultural) has been dominated by men and women whose thinking and world outlook has been predominantly shaped and influenced by modern-western-democratic-humanistic ideas and values. Hardly any of the leaders in this country, on a national level, have been influenced by, or try to influence, according to Jewish values and Jewish idealism. These are the facts.

It’s also a fact that Israel, on nearly every level, is a mess. The situation with the Arabs is horrendous, the economy is floundering, the carnage on the roads continues, violence in the schools is increasing, corruption amongst public officials is rampant, etc, etc. In addition, the Israeli populace, which once prided itself for having a caring and collective mentality, is getting more and more aggressive, selfish and materialistic with each passing year. Like I said, the situation is a mess. It’s also nothing new, however, and is simply a result of years and years of internal collapse, neglect and bad leadership.

This brings me back to my original point. If Israel, following years of leadership only by the kind of leaders mentioned above, has led itself down a path of destruction on so many different levels, how does this woman, or others like her, find the audacity to shout down a Benny Alon, or anyone like him, who advocates ideas based upon Jewish values and Jewish idealism. Sure, to any individual inculcated with modern-western-democratic-humanistic ideas and values, the thought of leadership based upon Jewish idealism seems unrealistic, frightening and outdated. But lets face it, this country is a mess and it’s certainly not because of leadership based upon Jewish idealism. In fact, that’s the one thing we’ve yet to try here in Israel.

So next time you hear politicians or cultural icons state with arrogant authority that policies based upon Jewish idealism just don’t work, stop and ask yourself “How do they know? We’ve never tried such a thing.”

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