The main reason I am voting Likud in this election is because two years ago after years of deliberation as a centre-right liberal, I picked my team and as any sports fan knows you stick with your team through thick and thin. Today, as Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, I am also a Likud Central Committee Member and an Executive Board Member of World Likud. So the question really is why did I chose Likud as my party to begin with?
I was inspired to join the Likud firstly because of its history and values, which continue to inspire me. Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the father of Revisionist Zionism, strongly believed in the Jewish People’s right to the historic Land of Israel and Jewish immigration to the land. Once it became clear that the British government would renege on the promise of a Jewish state as per the Balfour declaration, he advocated for the Jewish People not to surrender to fate, but create its own destiny. In 1925, Jabotinsky founded the Revisionist Zionist Alliance, a Zionist political movement. Its name was derived from its call for a revision – for a new look at the policy of the Zionist Executive towards the British government and its mandate over Palestine.
Jabotinsky laid the seeds for the Likud through his efforts in Revisionist Zionism. His staunch belief in Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel continues to be a core value in Likud. Another central value of the party is a liberal, free market. The Likud’s liberal economic and political ideology opposes that of the Labour party, which has embodied a socialist infrastructure from the beginning of the State of Israel. As a firm believer in free market policies, I am proud to stand with a party that believes in a liberal economic approach.
The Likud has made vital, concrete changes in Israeli society ever since it was established. Menachem Begin, the first Likud member to be elected prime minister, revolutionised both the Israeli economy and society in ways that still impact the country today. Begin forever changed the economy by instituting liberal economic policies and advocating for a free market. He also completely revolutionised the way in which Mizrahi Jewish citizens (Jews from Arab lands) were treated in Israeli society. Begin empowered the underdog Mizrahi community, who were overlooked and mistreated by previous leaders.
The Likud party continues to make meaningful, important changes in Israeli society. The party’s policies throughout the past 40 years have successfully minimised the socialist values of the founding fathers. Monopolies like our national Phone company Bezeq have been dismantled under Prime Minister Netanyahu. Additionally, the Likud has expanded and better organised workers’ unions, instituted free trade, privatised government-owned corporations, and reduced taxes significantly. Israel was only able to move to a modern economy through the Likud’s free market principles and policies.
In addition to this, the party is responsible for four (out of five) of Israel’s peace deals with the Arab world. It is clear that the Likud doesn’t just talk about its values, but acts on them for the betterment of Israeli society. The Likud is a democratic party with a membership of 130,000 that is as diverse in nature as Israeli society. From centre-right to hard-right, from secular to Orthodox, from Jew to Arab, the Likud’s ideology is the consensus in the country. Netanyahu is the longest serving leader of the country, whose tenure has seen the fewest casualties from conflict, unprecedented economic growth, peace with our neighbours and a steadfast handling of the coronavirus crisis that has seen Israel vaccinated at a faster rate than any other country in the world.
As the biggest and strongest party, it has the power and dedication to make lasting change in Israel. Despite the complicated political system of coalitions, the Likud continues to top the polls for the upcoming election. I am proud to be voting Likud on 23 March.