"Justice justice thou shalt pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20)
"The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice" (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
Justice is a core principle in Judaism, which is committed to Tikun Olam. It is also a core principle of the Zionist movement, which aspires to create "a paragon society" (Hevrat Mofet). It is also a core principle in the liberal and progressive ideology: in order for one to live free, they must be treated as equal and have a fair starting point.
The Israeli-Democratic Alliance is committed to justice in all its forms: racial, environmental, social, gender, and other. We reckon that whilst Israel has plenty of accomplishments and achievements, including in various fronts of the fight for justice, it also has a long road ahead. We are, with the assisstance of like-minded Americans, pursuing that road.
Love is love.
It should be simple: everyone has the right to love whomever they want, how they want and how much they want. The Tel-Aviv Gay Parade is a world-class annual event, the LGBTQ+ community is more represented than ever in the government, Knesset, the private sector and pop culture, and 93% percent of liberal Israelis support full rights for the LGBTQ+ community.
But we are far from the desired situation of full equality: same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt children or get married; trans people are way more likely to suffer from use of drugs and violence; and 86% of liberal Israelis claim that our society is still infected with homophobia and transphobia.
A society that fails to address those issues can never reach true justice.
Women's rights are human rights.
9 of the 27 Israeli ministers are women, 6 of them are Sephardic- or Ethiopian-decsent. Women lead in every sector of Israeli society, from the thriving civil society to the high-tech industry. 81% of liberal Israelis believe that the MeToo movement was an important step in fighting sexual violence.
And still, Israel - just like the United States - suffers from a wage gap, and 75% of liberal Israelis believe that we are far from equality in the labor market. Women are still underrepresented in every STEM faculty in Israel and every woman has experienced, probably more than once, sexual harassment.
One does not need to be a woman to fight for change - all one has to be is decent.
Climate changes are the existential threat of our lifetime.
If bold and ambitious action will not be taken, in 20 years people will not be fighting over ethnicity or religion - they will be fighting over food and water. In the land of Israel, where 60% of the landscape is a desert and with almost 200 kilometers of shore, the dangers of climate change are even greater.
Israel's high-tech industry, coupled with the challenging environment, has made Israel into a climate power, with technological developments in vast industries, from water desalination to renewable energy to smart agriculture. Yet still, over 94% of Israel's power is created using fossil fuels, its air pollution is way higher than the OECD average, and environmental education - teaching children and young adults about the existential threat of our lifetime - barely exists.
Countless lives, Israeli and Palestinians alike, will be lost unless we all combine our efforts.
We live in an era of struggle.
Depression, anxiety, eating disorders - they are all spread like a disease, be it because of the "pressure to be perfect" created by the false image of social media, or by the economic, social and personal burden of being a young person in the 21st century. The COVID-19 pandemic makes things worse, and in a nation in conflict like Israel, anxiety and PTSD are everywhere.
Mental health policy faces numerous challenges, more than "regular" health, mostly lack of resources and awareness: in fact, 80% of liberal Israelis claim there is not enough awareness to mental health challenges. We must put an end to the stigma attached to those who struggle, provide knowledge and tools for young people to identify, respond and handle struggles and create social safety networks that will help people in need.
We often say "health comes first". Mental health is no exception.
No one has a monopoly over Judaism.
Israel is a Jewish state, and it should be. But religious orthodox monopolies, such as the Chief Rabbinate, are not contributing to Israel's Jewish character - 76% of liberal Israelis believe that.
As a democratic country, Israel must allow freedom of worship at its holy sites, enable public transportation on Shabbat in secular cities and neighborhoods, dissolve the orthodox monopolies which only push people away from religion, and educate for religious pluralism.
We were all made in his image. No one deserves to be excluded.
War is hell.
No one understands the price of war more than those who pay it. Israelis do not enjoy sending their children, year after year, to fight, kill and die. The ongoing military rule of millions of Palestinians places a heavy emotional, social and financial burden on Israeli society, besides being immoral on its own.
But the fact that peace must be achieved doesn't mean that it can be achieved that easily. Territorial concessions were answered with rockets and terror-tunnels, heavy-priced peace offers were rejected, and calls for the elimination of Israel were and are made by the Palestinian leadership. Whilst poll after poll shows that Israelis support peace, they have plenty of reasons to be skeptical.
That does not mean we shouldn't try. On the contrary: the Israeli-Democratic Alliance is not hiding behind simplistic defenses (such as "the conflict is complicated") or demands ("the occupation must end"). Instead, we encourage a critical and comprehensive discussion about the conflict, with its nuances, complexities, and imperfections, as the only way to achieve progress - and eventually peace and justice.
The conflict is a mess. That does not mean it can be ignored.