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Daniel Nehemia Headshot

Taking Responsibility -- Not Making Excuses

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A month ago, I took my very first steps in politics, helping a candidate to the knesset (Israeli Parliament), Ms. Lilly Ben-Ami, run her national campaign. What does society looks like through the corridors of the leadership of the country? And why does it feel so good to retire at 2 a.m.?

Rumors over the exact day of general elections in Israel have been spread to the air like sand in the wind. Nobody knows the exact time. One thing, though, is sure -- the elections in Israel won't take place on the day they legally should. The current situation makes all parties get prepared for the primary elections.

That's why I chose to volunteer for Ms. Lilly Ben-Ami -- who runs her national campaign with the Israeli Labor Party -- and to be her assistant and advisor. My entry into politics comes out of love: love for the people in Israel, love for the desire to help change the system from inside. I know it sounds a bit strange -- after all it's not me who runs for parliament -- but real things are changed by those who help run the campaigns and who believe that there is another way to do things. Change is in the air and we have the ability to be a part of it.

Ms. Ben-Ami led her campaign with a quote from Ghandi: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."

Gandhi means that if you want to see a change, you have to live it. If you want things to move a certain way, it's up to you to make them move that way. What Ben-Ami presents in her campaign is a desire to change the way teachers work in Israel, to fight for their rights and give a better education to Israeli students. She wants to help students in Israeli universities combine their studies with parenthood (and that's how she created the first nursery in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, which has now spread and been adopted by other academies and universities over the country). She is fighting to shape a better future, create a more equal and fair society for men and women, and improve workers' rights.

I believe that these things can be changed. It's not just security and "surviving" that matters to us in Israel. It's also the quality of education the children get and the quality of services people have.

How does it work? Well, at first we have to do what everybody does while running a campaign -- call people and ask for their support. And for the past few weeks, events for the Jewish New Year (Rosh Ha'Shana) were held. That was a great opportunity for us to present Ben-Ami and "spread her word." From Tel-Aviv to Beqo'a, through Rishon-Le-Zion and Beit-Za'it (cities and communities in Israel), we connected wit the people. And yes, it was always late when I was coming back home to my place in Jerusalem, but it worth every second!

In summary, leading doesn't necessarily mean sitting in the chair of the Prime Minister. Ben-Ami is running for parliament out of a desire to do things from the place where decisions are made, and to have the support of many politicians, public figures and leaders. I believe that leadership is not about making excuses but taking responsibility -- and that's what Ben-Ami can bring with her into the office.

dn