After twelve consecutive years in power, Benjamin Netanyahu’s term as prime minister ended last night.
Netanyahu will be remembered for his relentless delegitimisation of human rights organisations, anti-democratic and racist laws aimed at Palestinian citizens and people seeking asylum in Israel, and his attempts to undermine the justice system for personal gain.
This legacy will echo in Israel society even after he is gone.
With his departure, the leaders of Israel’s new, ideologically diverse coalition have the opportunity to serve as a government that works for everyone. They can help Israelis heal after the terrible violence of last month and reassert that Israel is a country that believes in and stands for the values of equality and justice.
It’s up to us to harness that possibility and leverage this new era to shape the just and democratic future for Israelis and Palestinians we all believe in.
Six months ago, no one would have predicted that NIF Australia’s friends Merav Michaeli and Tamar Zandberg would be cabinet members promoting equal access to public transport and a plan to address the climate crisis.
Similarly, the idea of a real partnership between Arabs and Jews, giving Palestinian citizens the political status they’re entitled to as equal citizens, seemed like a promise that would never be realised.
In many ways, the important work begins now.
And we’ve already begun. NIF’s associate director Shira Ben Sasson Fursternberg addressed a Knesset committee discussing our vision for shared society, a breakthrough moment for our message in front of the country’s decision makers.
After a dark month in which hatred and violence were in the skies and on the streets, we now have the chance to utilise this unique moment and make real progress towards realising our vision of an equal and just society for all.
NIF’s mission has never been reliant on who sits in the prime minister’s office. We remain focused on our vision today more than ever: an Israeli society with complete equality for all, regardless of race, religion or sex.
Whether you came to NIF because you sought an end to the dangerous direction of the Netanyahu government, or because you have long been our partner in the fight for a better Israel, now is the moment to recommit to our shared cause.
Jews around the world and many Israelis — Jews and Arabs alike — hope that this new government will choose to put Israel on a path of justice, equality, and democracy.
As this new government is sworn in, we share that hope.