Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ready for new leadership

Israel desperately needs a government that has national vision as a priority

Chana Givon
Israel Opinion

According to a barrage of reports from abroad received by this writer, pleading Israel's case is a most difficult task today because of the country's confused political scene. Supporters of the State cannot fathom how a prime minister who has been the focus of one investigation after another, corruption following him at every turn, can still be in power and make life and death decisions for which we will be held accountable even after he finally leaves office. Just as Israel's accomplishments give Jews worldwide a feeling of pride, the shame of the present government weighs heavily on those who care about the country.

While Israel's ruling government depends upon a coalition of parties that holds it together there must be some mechanism for change when the group in power paralyzes the country. That is the situation that exists today and must not continue. This is the view of many Anglos abroad who would like to speak out on Israel's behalf and do not know what to say when the Olmert government is set on a destructive path.

Today's leaders are simply opportunists who must all be held responsible for the state of the State; Kadima has provided us with today's decision makers, like Olmert and Livni, who have brought us to crisis. Retaining the same disastrous leadership would be comparable to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!

There is an obvious disconnect between the government and the people; a lack of trust has been festering for some time. Instead of recognizing that it must represent its citizens, Israel's recent leaders have arrogantly assumed a false “ownership” by which they make decisions for immediate personal benefit rather than having long range goals for the good of the country. It is time to rectify this intolerable situation.

One plan would require each political party to publicize the pillars of its platform in detail prior to elections in order to provide the citizens with a clear plan of its principles. Then, while allowing for minor adjustments as circumstances change, if the party in power deviates from its major platform promises - as Sharon did when he adopted the Mitzna program that he had soundly defeated – that party would be obligated to resign immediately; its longevity and retention of authority would not be assured by any self-serving coalition. The power would rightly be with the country's citizens rather than in the hands of a leader whose egocentric whims - like the spontaneous creation of a new party for personal use - serve to disenfranchise those who had put him into his position.

We need strong leaders

Israel desperately needs a government that has national vision as a priority. It needs a government that embraces the values of our leaders of the past – as imperfect as some may have been. We must teach our youth our Zionist narrative - not the “Naqba” - that they may love the country and be proud to defend her. Every child should be able to visit united Jerusalem while studying our history; many young people have never been to the capital of Israel!

Our sense of national pride should include the recognition of Jewish heroes from times past, the early personalities who shaped the State of Israel, and the true heroes of today. Only by recognizing and appreciating our past can we determine our future path.

Our ancestors dreamt of a homeland and saw Jerusalem in their heads and hearts for centuries when others did not permit us to have a state. Now that we have a Jewish country we lack the leadership necessary to develop into all that we may be. The ingathering of our people from many parts of the world has created a colorful tapestry of humanity – rich in history, intellect, creativity, tradition, and so much more. We cherish the land of our forefathers and walk in their footsteps. So many blessings!

Now we must create a system of government with laws of morality and social justice and leaders who will put Zionist national vision above political perks. We need strong leaders who will put Israel's security

before pandering to international demands. We need leaders who will rise up to our needs and serve not only today but as models for our young – our future leaders. Our personal pride will be reflected in the voices of those who speak up for Israel.

We are ready for that new untarnished leadership; may those who qualify and are ready to accept the challenge present themselves – with alacrity!

Chana Givon is an educator and writer. She is the co-director of Writing the Wrongs, a forum for pro-Israel advocacy

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