It was Shimon Peres, then-Prime Minister, who said in 1996 that “Israelis tell the truth to pollsters and then lie in the election booth.” And the saying goes that we went to bed in 1996 with Peres and woke up with Bibi, meaning that polls showed Peres in the lead even with the exit polls and the early results late into the night. But polls and final results aren’t the same, and we woke up to a different Prime Minister several hours later.
Which goes to show you something relevant for the current election campaign. To quote William Golding: “Nobody knows anything.” For all the analysis, the predictions and the commentaries, we need to remember that no one really knows what’s going to happen. And even after the fact we might not get it all right.
But there’s a second part to Golding’s famous quotation, and it goes like this: “Every time out it’s a guess and if you’re lucky an educated one.” Golding was writing about the entertainment industry. And there are some fascinating similarities between the principles of the ‘business’ and the politics world. Just take a look at some of the latest campaign videos coming out these past few days.
But even more than the entertainment value of what’s happening is this: there’s a basic truth that will remain a constant, before, during and after these elections.
No matter who wins, and by how many votes, our work will continue. There will still be a poverty rate that is one of the highest in the developed world: almost a quarter of Israelis live under the poverty level. And 40% of our children live in poverty. We may want Israel to be a “Start-Up Nation.” But there are all too many who are left out of it.
It matters who wins. Because democracies are better, and vibrant dynamic democracies like Israel are a reflection of the best of Israel’s values. And it matters what the campaigns discuss and how they discuss them.
But our work is going to continue no matter who discusses what in the campaign and who wins. And if you love Israel and you care about a situation in which there are vulnerable Israelis who are left out of the success story, come be part of what we’re doing. There are amazing programs, initiatives and partners working with us to help make Israel a better place.
And that’s something we all know.
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