January 16, 2013
Election Countdown- Why is Shira Teller voting for Ha’Avoda?
On January 22nd, Israel will vote for its new Knesset, and choose the Prime Minister to lead it. Much unlike the American system, here, we have countless parties with countless ideologies to choose from. Behind the curtain, we will cast our ballot, and choose one party only. The person leading the party which will get the most votes, will become Israel's next Prime Minister. I asked some of my friends to tell me, and you, whom they are planning to vote for, and why. Some knew the answer right away, some are still struggling. Each day, I will post a different column with a different opinion. Take in count that this is merely a taste of all the parties competing for our votes. Today, Shira Teller will explain her choice of voting Ha'Avoda.
My vote goes to Ha'Avoda/ Shira Teller
In the summer of 2011 rose the Israeli Social Justice Protest, about how the cost of living has risen while our salaries have stayed the same (or shrunk), and about the fact the price of real estate in Israel has rocketed sky-high and no one can afford a home without a strangling mortgage.
I was still doing my national service (which is similar to army service for those who can't be in the military), but I lived in Tel-Aviv and witnessed it live at times, and I remember not being very active about it, but felt it was right, since I was always a person who supported justice, human (and animal) rights, and in favor of a very strong welfare system. The only thing was I was not very active about it.
When I started studying in the university, a friend invited me to come and hear Shelly Yachimovitch, the leader of Ha'Avoda (labor) Party. She spoke about the rights of the workers, especially the contract workers, about a strong welfare system, and financial justice, which is the exact opposite of the current situation. Research has shown that the economic gaps in the Israeli society are increasing, and today services such as basic health and good education, cost us a lot of money. I decided to join its activities in the university, and in the last few years – out of it, using mainly the platform of the internet.
During the last two years, the government has ignored the cry of the protestors (half a million people!) and not only that – but has done the complete opposite. The government, which already took a lot of money from the budget for welfare, health and education, decided to erase the tax debts of the large corporations, and raised the taxes of the rest. Not only that, but the tax it decided to raise wasn't the differential tax (based on the income), but the taxes on the basic foods and supplies – which hurts the lower classes the most. I know all the financial reasons behind it, no worries, but I simply do not agree.
So, Shelly Yachimovitch sat with about 50 economists, and put down a new economic plan, based on the Social-Democrat model that works in the Scandinavian countries. A plan which is right and fair, doesn't harm the middle and upper classes, rehabilitates the welfare, health and education systems and lowers the cost of living. I read it, anyone can read it, it isn't perfect, but it is compatible with my ideology. Not only that, but Ha'Avoda is the only party that released a full platform to the public, especially in the financial issue. It may seem trivial, but the thing people tend to forget is that once there is one, a party is opening herself to criticism and in case of failure – they would know to take responsibility for it.
You might say that there are many defense issues, and what about those? Yachimovitch claims and rightly so, that a society of people who are constantly worrying about their financial issues, is a society with much less motivation to serve and defend its country. Israel could be a very strong and defensive country, but what is it really worth when the rich become richer and the poor become poorer? It could bring the crumbling of my country from the inside.
That, my friends, is why I am going to vote for the Ha'Avoda" party. I, among many others, feel the desperate need for a change, only Shelly Yachimovitch – if the party gets enough votes to make her prime minister – can make. If she doesn't make it – I wouldn't worry either, because she will serve her purpose by being a fierce opposition, and enacting laws in favor of the workers and society, in addition to the 40 she has passed by now.
Shira is a 22- year- old Communications and Management student, currently living in Tel-Aviv.