VOTE, LEADERSHIP AND THE COMFORT ZONE

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By: Romi Morales

New elections are approaching, and alongside them comes the excitement of feeling that we have a new opportunity to influence the destiny of our country. The idea of being able to exercise this right
fills me with pride and hope. However, I also consider the weight of responsibility .

The vote of each one of us will define what Israel will look like in the next four years (in the best of cases) and what will be the relationship between the citizens who live in this country, those who decided to live abroad for the moment, the Jews who live in the diaspora and still consider this country as the cultural, historical and national center of our people and Jews who live in the diaspora and have decided to distance themselves from Israel due to the decisions of the government which runs it. Our vote will also define the relationship between the country and its minorities, with our neighbors in this extremely complicated “neighborhood”, with the other nations of the world, etc.
Our vote will also determine whether we continue to “administer” the conflict or try to end it, even though it may bring painful concessions. Our vote can tip the balance between continuing to invest
mainly in security or start leveling out funding by increasing the investments in education, housing and health. Our vote will dictate whether Israel will be “Jewish and democratic”, “democratic and
Jewish”, “Jewish” or “democratic”. With our vote, we can influence and define if the word “shivyon” (equality) will be a value that transcends the slogans. And we can do so many other things with our vote…

But as they say in Río de la Plata: “It takes two to tango.” And in order to vote, we need leaders with a vision that sustains and nurtures from the vision that is clearly expressed on the Declaration of Independence and is anchored in the millenary values of our people. We need leaders who see in politics a fertile ground for sowing the seeds of equality, democracy and self-determination. Leaders who have the ability to unite the different points of the Israeli society in order to build a complex, complete, unique and special “human network” and not cynically use the differences to deepen the painful cracks that arose in the past. Leaders who not only do not feel threatened by criticism but
rather use it as opportunities for improvement. Leaders who will end paranoia, persecution and fear and will enable the emergence of new, different and alternative ways of thinking, expressing opinions and understanding the world (because difference does not threaten but rather allows, facilitates and opens new paths, ways and possibilities of being, doing and thinking). Leaders who, instead of silencing voices, generate a respectful, fruitful and sustainable dialogue. We need honest and fair leaders: leaders with integrity, who put the benefit of the country before their own.

Leaders who believe, with conviction, that we can and must be “an exemplary society” and who will work hard to achieve this goal, starting with nothing more and nothing less than their personal example .

While it may seem too utopic to believe that we will find someone who fits into these characteristics, I genuinely believe that it is not that difficult. I am convinced that there is that man or woman who can make a difference out there. But in order to bring change to both parties, voters and leaders, we must get out of the comfort zone .

This area that delimits the known (that often does not even come close to being ideal and relies on the idea of “better the devil you know than the angel you don’t”) can be replaced by that magical area: the area where incredible things can happen, the area where our dreams reside. In that sense, I hope that in these elections we’ll be able to fulfill the dreams that will accompany us to the polls.

Who knows, maybe the next day when we wake up, what seemed impossible yesterday will become a fantastic new reality.

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