Rotem A. Oreg
Israel is going to an election. Again.
Updated: Aug 27, 2022
We don't want to write about the election: dozens of columns and reports will be written about the election, its causes and potential consequences. There are plenty of reason to be concerned by it, even just by its existence - a fifth round in three years is an indication to unstable society and misfunctioning government - but we choose to focus on the reason to be optimist.
In this coalition - which we have plenty of critic about - was, for the first time as an equal partner, an Arab party. For the first time in Israel's history, a party that represents Israeli Arab citizens - 21% of the population - sat in the room where it happens. They had access to resources and power, and bore the responsibility that comes along with it. They could deliver for the constituency and in return had to compromise on other issues, crucial for their Jewish partners.
Mansour Abbas is a conservative Islamist. The Israeli-Democratic Alliance is a Liberal Zionist organization. We don't have delusions about his perceptions, and we have plenty of issues of disagreements with him and the Ra'am party. But the very decision to participate, as a full partner in this government, was unprecedent - and opened the door for future partnership. That fact alone needs to be applauded: recognition that Jews and Arabs in Israel are not doomed to live together but destined to live together is a first step towards a better society.