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As 94 Knesset members sit on one side of an aisle, middle Israel sits in opposition, not because they hate this unity coalition but because they have come to hate all coalitions. No matter the size or shape, coalitions in the mind of the Israeli voter are another tool for the incessant plotting and scheming of the same recycled power-hording party apparatchiks. Israelis want responsible governing; the rub is that this can only occur once the people first govern themselves.

Rav Yosef Horwitz said of this all-too-human contradiction, “Man wants to achieve greatness overnight, and he wants to sleep well that night too.” Israelis want their politicians to unite and exert themselves for the greater good, but this will first require that Israeli citizens practice what they preach.

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This means demanding reform in the face of inaction. It means taking up the mantle of personal responsibility and civic pride, and engaging in grassroots contributive activism. Only then will Israel’s politicians follow suit and embrace higher political virtues that can mold unity governments formed out of convenience into grand coalitions guided by the duty to serve the public interest.

Ariel Harkham is co-founder of the Jewish National Initiative (www.jni.co.il).

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