Leonie Ben-Simon
Leonie Ben-Simoncourtesy

The tide has turned. The Israeli majority turned right at the elections.

It was not only a vote against the cost of living or the price of housing. There has been a fundamental shift in the attitudes of the population with a substantial cause being the mothers of Israel.

The mothers, you say? Yes, an examination of the demographics explains who today’s Israelis are.

From the day of the establishment of the State of Israel for twenty or thirty years the makeup of the olim consisted of Jews from all over the world. The smaller numbers with few or no children came from Europe, whilst those from Yemen, Morocco, Iran and the rest of the Middle East arrived with large families. Large in those days did not mean four or five children. Between eight and fourteen children per family was common. Most of these women continued expanding their families.

What is today labelled the Second Israel has now grown to be a majority as their second and third generation are continuing to have more children than the average, albeit not as many as their own mothers. The Religious Zionist population is the same. This is opposed to the descendants of the smaller families who until now were the vocal majority, but not the majority in numbers. They are now trending toward being a minority.

The IDF presents a clear picture of who is who. The conscription refusers come mainly from Tel Aviv, where the birth-rate is low. Many of those filling the coffee brigades lining the streets there are not interested in family life, preferring the nightclub scene, continuous travelling and a materialistic lifestyle. In contract, serious young people from all over the country including the periphery and cities that were once migrant camps find that there is a path to successfully establish themselves financially and educationally both in the IDF and in the workplace. That main path is through the IDF with not only leadership but also education giving equality of opportunity.

In contrast to many other countries where generations of disadvantaged continue to be so, Israel offers upward mobility to all, resulting in diversity at the top in the Knesset and in all streams of society including business, the arts, education and innovation.

Many young people in the IDF come from that new majority whose families' lives, going back three generations ago, were in Arab countries. Their families are traditional, despite their outward western-style appearance and lifestyle. They are the children and grandchildren of the mothers who had many children.

Their world view, taught them by their mothers, is decidedly one of pride in being Jewish and Israeli patriotism. This is the reason for the groundroot support given to soldiers who were involved in behaviour condemned by the IDF Chief-of-Staff. Not only soldiers but also citizens have no patience for left-wing troublemakers who purposely interfere with military operations. These soldiers are prepared to give their lives when dealing with the enemy.

I received an email yesterday with a copy to the Givati soldier who was involved in the Hebron attack on a left-wing protester. It was an invitation to a Day of Fun together with the soldiers in his unit prepared by citizens and including food, boating and activities to celebrate his actions, noting that he is a hero. This is the mood of many, many people. The people stand as one with the soldiers in the army, understanding that behind the issue is leftist meddling in military operations.

We have the Left and we have the Right. The soldiers having to deal with life and death situations cannot be blamed for working to prevent further bloodshed. Avigdor Liberman, champion of the left, has a different mentality. He is intent upon bringing in migrants from Soviet countries, Jewish or not, to bump up his voter base knowing that they think as he does, decidedly anti-religious. We understand that he was brought up in a society where all faith-based organizations were officially banned. He would do well to immerse himself in Torah study to learn how to deal with an enemy. He, once a rightist, represents the left, from those who genuinely desire peace for all to those priority is stirring up trouble. The left has little future as the election showed, in addition to the paltry birth-rate of his supporters.

The power of the leftist media is waning while the decision-makers of old are gradually being replaced by well-educated young from Second Israel backgrounds together with those from families who have married into this group.

Those grandmothers who spent their lifetimes looking after their many children are now in their seventies, eighties and older. They can look back and see the fruit of their labours in their many descendants, those who are now hard at work in every field, in the religious sector and in populating Judea and the Shomron, building the future of Israel.

Power has been, is and will be in the hands of the mothers of Israel.

Leonie Ben-Simon