I had the honor of writing for Binyamin Netanyahu during his successful 2009 campaign to become Israel’s Prime Minister. While many Americans crave bi-partisanship in government, the Israeli government must be multi-partisan. Because there are so many political parties in Israel, the only way Prime Minister Netanyahu could form government was to form a coalition with the people and the parties he defeated. Israel’s government is not just bi-partisan, it is sexa-partisan (six different political parties, joined together in a governing coalition). Imagine President Obama having to govern with a Cabinet made up of Michele Bachmann, Jim DeMint, Louie Gohmert, Ralph Nader, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and the Congressional Black Caucus. And, if they disagree with the President and decide to join forces, they could form a coalition of their own and take over the White House. That is how politics work in Israel, and that is why it is so important for Israeli politicians to get along with one other.
Getting along with others is nothing new in Israel. Israel is where the world’s three great religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam—coexist. Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Christians are free to be Christians, where Jews are free to be Jews, and where Muslims are free to be Muslims. The same cannot be said for any country that surrounds Israel, where many Jews and Christians—and even free-minded Muslims—are forced to flee to places that are more inclusive and welcoming. Like Israel.
More than one million Arabs now live in Israel. Arabs are treated better in Israel than they are in Arab countries. Arab Women are treated better in Israel than they are in Arab countries. And homosexual Arabs (yes, Mr. Ahmadinejad, they exist) find their only safe refuge in the Middle East within the protective and inclusive borders of Israel.
Israel brings us together. It is the one issue that unites Republicans/Democrats/Independents, Jews/Christians/Muslims, gays and straights, Tea Partiers and Chuck Schumer—and now even the President of the United States.