A piece on Tal Law from Israeli Left - Uri Savir - ‘president of the Peres Center for Peace and served as Israel’s chief negotiator for the Oslo Accords’ -
reasonable, long term view (*but actually what are the real needs demanding real reform - and what kind of politics/social engineering or consensus building is rea;;y necessary - requires much more fact checking and real analyses)
The point is now then,
- Likud and Haredi parties will only handle the situation just practically and minimally -
- Or some kind of new social momentum will emerge - and work to build consensus and agreement within Israel for mid-long term solutions - [And yeah this doesn’t have to be political parties - but some kind of ‘consortium’ - social platform for dialogue and conversation.]
- Or further political (mini) chaos ensue -
The replacement of the Tal legislation by August 1 is an opportunity to be seized, in order to begin to redress the balance of duties. Haredim who do not serve in the IDF should serve, for a given period, in civil society and social organizations that serve the good of haredi society in the fields of health, social welfare, education, etc.
To a large degree that is true also for the Arab citizens, who naturally as Arabs cannot serve in the army, but should be involved in civilian service, in the network of Arab NGOs, serving the good of Arab- Israeli society, and also, like with the haredim, as a way to enter the labor market.
This needs to be pursued in both these sectors as a gradual process, as legislation alone is not sufficient. It must be based on mutual understanding with political, civil and municipal leaders, and it should be coupled with greater governmental efforts to tackle the socioeconomic crises of the haredim on one side and the Israeli Arabs on the other. Yet this alone is not sufficient, it must be part of a national effort to develop our society on the basis of real and universal equality.
Yet today’s political leaders are the worst-suited to deal with creating a new and delicate balance of greater equality and burden-sharing in our society. Binyamin Netanyahu and his partners act crudely and only on the basis of self-serving political considerations. The prime minister swings between his adherence to an unholy alliance with the Right and the haredim, pouring money into yeshivot and settlements on the one side, and his fear to lose part of his own constituency on the other. In the middle he will probably find a mediocre compromise, tackling a small part of the problem, echoed with populist rhetoric, with or without the confused Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz.
The haredi and the Israeli-Arab political leadership are not much better. The Shas and United Torah Judaism leaders look only at institutional narrow interests and at political considerations. Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi and his colleagues are mostly more interested in a rather nationalistic Palestinian bravado than in a policy to facilitate a better integration of the Arab minority.
Therefore, the remedy for the inequality of rights and duties cannot come from the political leaders, and cannot happen overnight, via a parliamentary or governmental committee, or a speech by Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid. It can and must come from the people of Israel, the majority of people who cry out against basic inequalities – if it is those many thousands who demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Saturday night for an equal share of the national burden; or those tens of thousands who demonstrated as part of the 2011 protest movement for social equality; or the thousands from Israeli peace movements, who make their voices heard for equality between us and our neighbors.
There is an encouraging awakening in the country, to a large degree reflecting a basic disdain for the political leadership and system. It is also reflected in a vibrant and value-based Israeli civil society, working on the assumption that the respect of the fundamental value of equality will only strengthen our democracy, economy and even security.
Maybe it is time to think of a new coalition – not of outdated and useless political parties, but of civil society actors with similar agendas, who really have the good of the country in mind, and who actually care about equality.