Today, in Israel, millions of people from across its diverse communities are gearing up for the long-haul struggle to defend our democracy and secure the next 75 years for future generations, Erel Margalit writes.
As Israel celebrates its 75th Independence Day, just a day after a sombre, difficult Memorial Day, Israelis find themselves at a critical junction.
For months, hundreds of thousands of people across Israel’s communities — secular and religious, Jews, Arabs, and Druze, from the cities in the far north and south to the Kibutzim across the country — all have poured into the streets to join one of the biggest peaceful protest movements this country has ever seen.
The battle is not just over the Netanyahu government’s contentious plans to overhaul Israel’s independent judiciary.
It is also a fight for this country’s legacy, democracy, and future. A fight many in Europe know all too well.
The struggle against extremism connected people across communities
Israel’s next 75 years are being shaped right now by waves of protests driven by Israelis from all walks of life.
Military reservists, including fighter pilots and special forces commanders, academics and university students, entrepreneurs and high-tech professionals, small business owners, youth and older people — all of them are joining forces in the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba, the Galilee and across the country to preserve our ethos of sacrifice, survival, and grit.
And to act as a bulwark against extremism and authoritarianism as well.
These social bonds across communities, awakened by the protest movement, are a triumph.
The battle has created a common denominator for the next big chapter in Israel’s history: an enduring social contract built around democracy, inclusion, co-existence, economic opportunity, and regional cooperation.
And in this battle, we are winning.
Unified by the spirit of innovation and audacity, the people will not stop
The fight is far from over, but the hardline coalition’s fervent efforts to dramatically remake Israel’s judiciary – and threaten its democracy and economy – have been stopped in their tracks, for now.
To ensure they are not renewed, the protests will continue, further bolstering our communal ties and forging a new social roadmap.
On Israel’s 75th anniversary, there is so much to celebrate. Netanyahu and his far-right ministers are paying a high price for their extremism, with polls showing nosediving public support.
The threat to Israel’s strong economy, buoyed by its vaunted high-tech sector, is also waning.
As a driving force behind the protests, the tech sector has helped unify Israelis not just around the economic successes of building innovative products and services but also around the fundamental values that allow for this spirit of innovation, audacity, and invention.
We are standing up for our shared future — and others might have to join us soon
The Israel we know as a tech powerhouse and a champion of democratic values will undoubtedly emerge from this crisis stronger, better, revitalised, and having internalised important lessons.
Many across the world are watching closely.
As democracy is under threat worldwide, the high-tech and entrepreneurial sectors in Europe and the US may soon need to stand up for their shared future as well.
Today, in Israel, millions of people from across its diverse communities are gearing up for the long-haul fight to defend our democracy and secure the next 75 years for future generations.
And we will prevail.
Erel Margalit is an Israeli venture capitalist and a former Knesset member. He is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Jerusalem-based venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners, and Margalit Startup City, the international collection of thematic socio-economic hubs.
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