Every morning I sit in a room next to a large wooden desk on which everything lands – all the most sensitive intelligence documents, all the latest data on our economy, all the messages from world leaders and all reports from various government departments. Over the past few months, this room has been the place where a series of dramatic decisions have been made:
Operation Breaking Dawn in Gaza which dealt a devastating blow to Islamic Jihad, Operation Break the Wave in Judea and Samaria and the crushing of the terrorist group Lion’s Den in Nablus, the new salary agreement with teachers, the new agreement with Resident Doctors, the historic maritime border agreement with Lebanon, the successful strategy to prevent a return to the JCPOA, economic reforms to lower the cost of living and more. On the other side of the wall, in the Cabinet Room, hangs the Jerusalem Declaration signed by President Biden and within it an ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.
If that’s what we managed to do in four months, imagine what we could do in four years. The things I saw on my table in the Prime Minister’s office make me more optimistic than ever, they make me hopeful for the future of the State of Israel. I am optimistic because it is in our hands. If we don’t back down, if we make the right choice and the right decision, if we work hard and stay focused, Israel can be one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
We have all the elements necessary for this to happen. We have natural gas resources, we have the most advanced technology in the world, we have the Tsahal which is the most powerful army in the Middle East, we have a dynamic and lively culture in which every Israeli can find his place. Despite all the arguments (and despite the politics), Israelis are an extended family, full of warmth and love. On important issues, we are there for each other. Israelis don’t hate the people they served with in the army, even if they think differently from them. They certainly don’t hate people who sit around the Shabbat table with them, even if they don’t vote the same way.
These elections are between the past and the future.
They are between those who want to take us back to the old disputes of the past; and the government that I have formed, which is entirely focused on one thing – our children, their future and the country in which they will live. Those who want to set us back only offer division. They propose destructive campaigns against the judiciary and law enforcement, destructive fights with the international community and, above all, between the people of Israel. That’s not how you run a country. That’s not how you run a family.
I offer you a positive and common future. It won’t happen on its own. It won’t always be easy. We have a lot of work to do. We need thousands more police and border police to restore our personal security. We need to bring down the cost of housing and the cost of living. We must find the famous middle ground of the Rambam in the relations between religion and state. We must focus on promoting greater equality for women and preventing violence against women. We need every community to feel they have a place and a voice in this country. We started working on all these things and it will be a tragedy if we suddenly stop and get dragged back.
It’s not about me – it’s about us.
Israel is a shared project. I am the 14th Prime Minister of this country, and after me, there will be many others. This country was formed by people who believed in the impossible and then turned it into reality. Over the past year and a half, we have done the impossible, time and time again, and have always maintained a deep sense of patriotism and responsibility for the future. I ask for your vote on Tuesday so that we can continue to work for you.
Yair Lapid is the prime minister of Israel and the founder and chairman of the Yesh Atid party.