Jewish Journal

The next four years- more of the same. Thoughts after Israel’s elections

by Noga Gur-Arieh

January 23, 2013 | 10:40 am

Better times- Obama and Netanyahu

Yesterday, while I was casting my vote, it suddenly hit me: no matter which new parties will rise and fall, when it comes to the global system, nothing in the next four years will change.

It wasn't easy for me to decide to whom to give my vote. It is only my second time voting for the Knesset, and it was important to me to have all the facts before I made my decision. I spoke to a lot of people, even those with a political agenda which is far away from mine. I wanted to know what the people I know and love think, and what do the various parties have, that's more believable than a pretty, altogether, written agenda. During my limited research, I had only one thing in mind- making a difference.

I know I probably didn't make any difference. I am merely one small voice, and will not tilt the results either way. But I also knew that staying at home and not voting because of that  fact will be worse than voting for a party that may not live up to its expectations in making that difference. That's why yesterday, January 22nd, at 1:27 pm, I put an envelope in a blue box, and went home with a smile on my face. The thought that followed me all day was that even if Netanyahu will win again, it will probably be with a very small gap between his party (Ha'Likud Beiteinu) and the left-center block of parties, which according to recent polls, has grown. I also kept in mind that the former Labor party, Ha'Avoda, has changed leaders since the last election and the same goes for HaBait HaYehudi (the Jewish Home). There is also Yesh Atid (There is a future), a new party established by one of our most famous journalists, Yair Lapid. This party was later proven the biggest surprise of the election, when becoming the second largest party. Even more to that, I read that a few minor parties, such as the liberal party Ale' Yarok (Green Leaf), the driven for a change party, Eretz Hadasha (New Country), and the liberal-Orthodox party, Am Shalem (A complete, whole, nation), may get enough votes to seat two Knesset Members.

With that in mind, I have the feeling that last night's results would bring good news to Israel, and the next four years will bring a change, even if not a major, thorough revolution. But one thing almost slipped my mind: while the inner business here is highly affected by the various parties assembling the Knesset, our business with the world, followed by the very unbalanced foreign media, is mostly affected by the person leading the Knesset, the face of Israel- our Prime Minister.

There is a theory in International Relations that is called "Neo-Liberalism". This theory examines the global system and the relations between the various players in it, in the eyes of cooperation. It says that all players in the world have a common goal: to make life on this planet better. This shared purpose, which everyone can benefit from, is achieved, according to Neo- Liberalism, by establishing global organizations, by the agreement of players to depend on one another financially, by democracies making business agreements with one another, and more. I believe in this theory. I believe that even with the complexity that surrounds us, all nations and non-nations of the world have a common goal to make this world a better place. I believe that the best way to do so is by cooperating, and with that being said, I also believe that considerations such as security, finances, and even just ego get in the way of accomplishing this goal. 

Our Prime Minister is Binyamin Netanyahu. He was elected yesterday for four more years. About two months before he was re-elected, your President, Barack Obama, was also elected for four more years. Israel and the United States are more than allies. They are friends. This friendship has been going on for decades now, but in the past four years, this friendship seemed to be going downhill. In the past year or so, it seemed as if this ally is driven by political and security motives only, and that the friendship is gone. Our Prime Minister and your President are very talented people. They are both very skilled, and are worthy of their respected positions. However, they both sometimes let their egos get in their way of performing their jobs the best way possible- with their eyes and hearts dedicated to the people's best interests.

In the past six decades, many Israeli Prime Ministers and American Presidents came and went. Some were a perfect match; some did not quite get along. I am only 22 years old, and for obvious reasons don't remember much from the first 40 years of the existence of Israel, but from what I hear when the old(er) people talk, the current match is the worst one ever. Our leaders don't get along; at least that is what the media tell us. I usually don't believe everything I read in the paper, but this issue is so consistently reported the very same way in all papers, that I have no choice but to believe it is true.

This match between Netanyahu and Obama will not grow a friendship. They don't like each other, and at times it seems as if they actually resent each other. I don't believe it will have much of an effect on the Israel-U. S alliance, because, as I said, it has a very strong security-strategic foundation (we are the only Democracy in the Middle East, and our job is basically to prevent the area from being completely destroyed). However, this lack of friendship, in my eyes, takes the Neo-Liberal world another step back. This alliance is not one of true cooperation, and it will stay this way for another four years.

Today, I woke up to a reality that is different, yet more of the same. It is a rather pessimistic, realistic prediction, but since I am an optimist by nature, I believe that true change comes in baby steps. The minor change in our Knesset WILL grow bigger with time, and our friendship with the U.S. will return to its days of glory. All it takes is a note in an envelope, and a true belief in change.

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My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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