February 27, 2008 at 1:02 pm 3 comments

What can the individual do?

By Ralph Dobrin


With all the immense challenges and threats to its very existence, there are two things that Israel must have in order to survive: sensible, selfless, courageous leadership able to make the right decisions and execute them promptly; and a society that is hard-working, prudent and imbued with integrity and a belief in itself and its leadership.

Clearly, this is far from being the case today. If this situation continues it is only a matter of time before Israel is overwhelmed by the odds against her: namely 250 million Arabs backed by another billion Muslims, possessing the major energy sources of the world, and further strengthened by repeated Western censure against Israel for whatever it does to defend itself.

So, apart from praying, what can the individual in Israel do? There are three alternatives.

1. Leave Israel, and hope that anti-Jewish sentiments wherever he chooses to live will not be too bothersome or violent in the future.

2. Simply ignore what’s happening around us in the world, forget about the growing power of radical Islam everywhere, and be resigned to the our helplessness in repairing the shortcomings of Israel’s society and leadership. It seems that this is how most people relate to the situation most of the time.

3. Make a personal effort to change things. This is not so way-out as it might seem. There are two areas in which we can make a difference.

At the risk of sounding like preaching, the first requirement is to lead our lives according to the principles of common decency and integrity. This must be done without conceit or self-righteousness and without making a big show of how upstanding or charming we might think we are. Also we must refrain from being habitually negative (this does not preclude constructive criticism when warranted). We must be nice to each other. Such a general bearing has a positive effect on our immediate surroundings and can generate a ripple effect, reaching out to the rest of society.

The second area is an active involvement in the betterment of Israel – to the best of our ability. Try to find an hour or week or more to participate in a social, educational, ecological, political or ideological activity. For example: teach needy kids free of charge, help new immigrants get settled, or demonstrate against unacceptable parliamentary procedures. The scope for involvement is endless. One of the reasons for Israel’s present poor governance is the general public’s tendency to be uninvolved. Many people write letters to the press, and that is good. But it doesn’t make the slightest difference. Vigorous, continuous involvement is imperative. All who realize the situation must make the effort to become personally active in some appropriate sphere, and try to persuade others to join them. Apathy or passiveness is no longer an option.

We must spread the word that it is up to each and every one of us to make the necessary changes – in ourselves and in government. Changing society should not be so difficult a task. It’s a question of changing norms and creating a new trend – like wearing jeans or using the internet to do our shopping. Trends start with a few people; others see something that catches their fancy and join in the trend and that’s how it becomes a fashion. We’re talking about a permanent change of norms.

But changing the level of governance will take more time. This can only take place when we have a society imbued with integrity and common decency. After all politicians and Knesset Members come from society, hence they reflect the norms of society. When the norms change, we can we expect those same norms to reach the Knesset. Meanwhile, the public must use their right to wage demonstrations against every infraction of ethical behaviour. We should also join as active members or fee-paying supporters, an organization like the Movement for Quality Government.

Being involved helps us stave off the gloom. Being involved means being part of a new wave – of optimism and joy at being an Israeli. We face collosal challenges, which while scary, also make life exciting, fascinating and satisfying. We should be mindful that we are part of an incredible ongoing historical process. Actually, it is a tremendous privilege is to be living at this time and to be part of this amazing little nation’s modern renaissance, standing up against a line-up of peoples who have been taught to adore death and destruction and who promote their ideals through lies and hatred. There is a global struggle, alluded to by the biblical prophets.

Israel is at the forefront of this global struggle. To a large extent it is a struggle of the mind. We will win if we have the right attitude. But we must recognize that it is up to each and every one concerned about Israel to personally do whatever we can. Especially if you live in Israel. Shake off the disappointments, turn disillusionment into determination, be nice to each other, muster up the energy and get out there and be active – alone or with a group. I must see that the fate of the nation is in my hands and in yours. What could be more sobering … and thrilling than all this?

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Entry filed under: In order to survive. Tags: , , , , , , , .

HOW CAN ISRAEL SURVIVE? How to deal with Israel bashers

3 Comments Add your own

  • 2. Norma Nation  |  February 29, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Rafi – This article you wrote is “right on” – beautiful! You say it so well. The web site is awesome…I’m going to spend some time going through each category.

    Great job, dear friend!

  • 3. Adina Alexander  |  March 1, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Rafi – KOL HAKAVOD! You have got it ‘just right’! Although I don’t have a car, nor much time between work, study and babysitting grandchildren, I am always optimistic and people tell me how they wish they had my energy and positive outlook. Well, it’s not a problem if you really believe in the future of our country which, more than once, has been in a situation where it has its ‘back to the wall’. I mean, I wouldn’t have left the relative ‘luxury’ of living in South Africa and come to the malaria-ridden, Arab-surrounded, primitive little Palestine and raised 6 children and 13 grandchildren if I didn’t believe that here – in the Promised Land – I could give my descendants a future. Keep smiling and hopeful. Shalom ! Adina


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