On the Way to a New Israel? | 10 points of change that can influence the construction of a different State of Israel
January 8th, 2024

Article by Rabbi Mauricio Balter, Masorti and MERCAZ Olami Executive Director

We are living in a historic moment. Undoubtedly, October 7 marks an important milestone in Israel's history. The impact of the events of the so-called “Black Shabbat” generated a deep trauma in Israeli society, not comparable to other tragic events in the history of our country. It is essential to see the changes that this trauma generates in the life of Israel. Israel is redesigning itself; Israel is not the same as it was on October 6; Israel must rehabilitate itself and include these changes in its renewed identity. I want to share with you 10 points of change that, in my opinion, will influence the construction of a different State of Israel.

1)         Women in the army: before October 7, there was a great discussion in Israel between liberal and conservative sectors about whether it was correct for women to serve in the military in combat units and tanks. After the infinite displays of bravery, courage, and heroism that the women demonstrated, the discussion faded and became completely irrelevant in Israel.

2)         Haredim in the army: Unexpectedly, and understanding that the shared future is also at stake on the battlefields, a large group of ultra-Orthodox volunteers volunteered to serve in the military. It is not yet a massive group, but it is encouraging and inspiring that we have seen a change.

3)         The concept of security has changed, and Israel will have to renew its agreement with the Israelis to give them back the feeling, lost on October 7, that the State and the army can protect and take care of them.

4)         New heroes, those who, during the judicial revolution, were treated as traitors, rose on October 7 and, without waiting for orders, went south with their uniforms and weapons to save Israelis who were being massacred – rescuing and saving the lives of many, thanks to their personal initiatives.

5)         New leaders, who were born out of necessity, who organized incredible aid operations for displaced civilians in the fight for the liberation of the kidnapped, and in the battle for the clarification and defense of Israel in the media.

6)         Change in geography, displaced families...will they return? I don't want to imagine the dilemma of the families who lived for generations in the kibbutzim and cities around Gaza and the big question of whether they could or would return to live there after the October 7 massacre.

7)         Regarding the role of civil society, a profound change occurred in Israel; civil society took charge of organizing the country's life instead of many government institutions that are paralyzed today.

8)         Different feeling, WE, in the Israeli context: After almost a year of demonstrations and protests for change in the judicial system, a new reality appeared: WE -in capital letters. Altogether, for survival, it is a powerful feeling that will undoubtedly change society's self-perception.

9)         I envision changing the role and strategies of progressive and liberal movements in the new emerging society to achieve a more pluralistic and democratic society. That is our challenge as a movement.

10)       Biyahad nenatzeach, together we will win. Israel cannot afford to lose a war. In the words of Golda Meir to Henry Kissinger during the Yom Kippur War, Israel has a secret weapon that will allow it to win the war. "We have nowhere else to go."

I would like to add the word “rak” biyahad nenatzeach, only together we will win! You and us, all the Jewish people together.

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