A year has passed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel. It was a year that, above all else, emphasized just how much we all dependent on one another.
Beating the pandemic and its consequences required from us to express sympathy not only toward those in our immediate circle and dearest to our hearts, but also to complete strangers.
Every action, every move and every decision we've made over the past year, demanded that we place the sanctity of life above all else.
This abominable pandemic has served to remind us that for better or worse, we are bound to one another, and only by sticking together can continue building this democratic and Jewish state we call home.
To me, it was clear even before coronavirus made its way into Israel. But once the pandemic hit, I saw evidence of this hopeful claim everywhere I went.
In centers where volunteers were packing food boxes alongside medical staff to aid those affected most by the pathogen, unable to leave home. In the lonely gaze of patients confined to hospitals’ coronavirus wards.
In the hopeful smiles of the students from low-income households, who received brand new computers as a donation to help them with remote studying.
In the faces of the exhausted social workers. And of course, during my talks with teachers who worked day and night as to not leave even one student behind during this tumultuous school year.
I won’t deny it, this sense of blessed brotherhood and togetherness has not been exhibited by our elected officials over the past year. And yet, the people of Israel chose unity, to be responsible for one another against all odds, even during a pandemic.
With every passing day, the divide in our society is being mended, thanks solely to the people themselves.
You can see it everywhere. In schools that choose to be parts of special programs that aim is to create unity between among various tribes in Israeli society and to cultivate ties among them.
In businesses, both private and state-funded, who have come to understand that diversity is a critical strategical goal that directly affects our national resilience. And in our academic system, which has actually opened its gates to all parts of Israeli society a long time ago.
A few years ago, during a speech in Herzliya, I issued a warning to Israel's tribes about playing the zero-sum game, wherein if one gains, another loses. Since then, the public has stepped up and ceased playing this destructive game.
Now it’s time for our elected officials to take a page from the public's book on how to cooperate. Their zero-sum thinking must be replaced with politics that are based on connection, partnership, statehood, respect and fairness.
I know the people of Israel are tired of hearing the pleas of their leaders, calling on them to act one way or another. And yet, I must call on all of you once again: Go out and vote!
Prove to your leaders that the people of Israel believe in their country and its democratic foundations. Vote for the sake of our children, grandchildren and all of us.