Yair Zivan believes Israelis have a choice between a Prime Minister indicted in three criminal cases and an alliance led by Israel’s responsible centre. He calls on the public to choose the path of unity, hope, good governance, commitment to security and desire to seize diplomatic opportunities as represented by Blue and White.
For the first time in a decade Israel has a real chance for change and a real sense of hope. The elections come as the country stands at a crossroads. We will have to choose between two distinct paths – the one offered by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the one offered by the leadership of Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid’s new centrist alliance, the Blue and White list.
On the one hand we have a Prime Minister who has been indicted in three criminal cases; one whose hand-picked Attorney General has decided he not only broke the law but breached public trust in the political system. While Prime Minister Netanyahu still faces a hearing for the criminal accusations, his relentless attacks on the key institutions of state are reason enough for him to step aside. He has crossed one red line after another and most recently broke with decades of unanimous cross-party consensus to facilitate the entry of Israel’s extremist and racist far right into the next Knesset. If Netanyahu wins the next elections then his partners will include the successor to a party which was banned in Israel and labelled a terrorist organisation in the United States.
On the other hand we have an alliance led by Israel’s responsible centre. An alliance which includes three former Chiefs of Staff and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid who has led the opposition to Prime Minister Netanyahu these past years. The four confounded conventional wisdom about politics and politicians, putting aside personal ambition and joining forces for the good of the country. Each one made compromises and sacrifices as they worked together to find common ground and built a real alternative. If the centre unites around the new Blue and White list, then 9 Aprilwill see the end of the Netanyahu era.
The challenges facing the State of Israel are huge. On our borders we face Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the south and Hezbollah and Iran in the north. To that, Blue and White offers over 150 years of combined security experience in the IDF, the civilian leadership of the Security Cabinet, the Mossad and the Shin Bet.
Israel also faces internal challenges, most pressingly reuniting Israeli society and restoring faith in the political leadership. To that, Blue and White offers a team that is beyond reproach and places the unity and cohesion of Israeli society as a primary goal. A Blue and White led government will implement term limits for the Prime Minister as part of a comprehensive plan to fight corruption, will legislate full rights for the LGBT community and will tackle the sensitive issues around religion and state head on.
We also face a rare window of opportunity for a diplomatic initiative. Here too Blue and White will be uniquely placed to take advantage of the opportunities that await the next government with a commitment to a regional diplomatic approach leading to a separation between Israel and the Palestinians.
In truth, the coming elections are no choice at all. Israel must choose the path of hope, of good governance and of an unwavering commitment to security alongside a desire to seize diplomatic opportunities. Most of all Israel must choose the path of unity.
That’s why I’ll be voting Blue and White.
Yair Zivan is Foreign Affairs Advisor to Yesh Atid Chairperson Yair Lapid