6/16/2008

My Politics


After my recent post, a number of friends expressed surprise that I’m so “Republican” in my political thinking. I wanted to therefore clarify my basic political stance. Especially since, as I write these words, I contemplate running for a seat on the Modiin City Council (elections are in the fall). More on that later.


My political starting point is libertarian. This does not mean that I advocate deregulation and a complete laissez faire attitude, but that, basically ha-motzi me-chavero alav ha-ra’ayah. In other words, in the default scenario, the government should not intervene. This will lead to certain conclusions which fall on the ‘conservative’ end of the political spectrum (such as supporting school vouchers, reduction of welfare programs, small government, etc.) and others on the liberal end (I do not think that the government should intervene in a person’s choice to abort a fetus, conduct stem-cell research, or enter into a marriage contract with a member of the same sex; similarly, I support the institution of civil marriage in Israel). I don’t know where this puts me politically, but I think Israel should be doing much more for Sudanese refugees, and am appalled that opposition is coming from ostensibly religious quarters.

Regarding the upcoming elections, I’ve spoken with 2 city council members and have plans to speak with 2 more before reaching a decision. I’ve been disappointed with the heartlessness, mindlessness, and toothlessness of the local politicians in general. I feel that I belong to a significant segment of the local population which is underrepresented, especially with regards to educational needs.

Since my last post, there have been a few other developments on that front. One is that the municipality now wishes to shut down the Talmud Torah (basically, an after-hours, private, extracurricular Torah enrichment program offered on the premises of the religious public school) at the religious public school based some technicality (i.e., they want to force the parents who are happy with that option to consider the city’s new proposed Torani school. Welcome to the Banana Republic, where competition to state institutions is shut down so that the state need not improve its product). Also, Lemaan Achai sued the municipality (a while ago) to allow them to obtain more appropriate premises, and the court date has been set for next month. Petitions are going around for both; the latter is online (link). In general, I’m opposed to the idea that the government gives land to schools. Reality is complicated, though, and we have a situation in this country where there are public and private schools, but where are all state funded and where there is no separation of church and state. Thus, the decision to grant facilities to one school over another should be gauged by some measure other that whether it’s public or private. Furthermore, other local private schools have been given municipal land, and the Municipality just blazed a new path by funding a local Reform congregation (a step which I am in favor of, not because I think that the government should fund synagogues, but because I think that it should not discriminate between different types of congregation; ideally, I think that some type of cultural-religious voucher system should be instituted here as well).


Anyhow, stay tuned regarding the possible launch of my political career. This blog may yet turn into a soapbox (which will doubtlessly turn readers off).

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