THE ISRAEL ELECTION

Once again, Israel faces an existential threat. This time the threat does not come from the Palestinians, the Iranians, or the Arab states.  This time the threat comes from within Israel itself; and frankly just about everybody in Israel knows this

Over the past 20 years, Israel has become increasingly isolated.  Where once it was seen as a model democracy, fighting for survival against its neighboring states, which were seen as corrupt, vicious and fanatic, the situation has now reversed. Democratic states in Western Europe and elsewhere now side with the Palestinians who are seen as victims of Israel. More and more Israel is being pushed into the same category as Apartheid South Africa. We may not believe these criticisms to be valid. We may honestly believe that this anti-Israel propaganda is the work of malign anti-Semites and/or Islamic fanatics.  However only someone living in total denial would deny the existence of these criticism and the growing intolerance for Israel’s domestic policies

Against this Israel has but one unconditional friend:  The United States.  For the past 66 years, the United States has steadfastly supported the Israeli government.  This support has been bi-partisan.  Whichever party was in control — the party of the president or the party holding a majority in Congress — support for Israel remained unqualified.

U.S. support for Israel has been a key element in its very survival.

That support is now in doubt.  US support for Israel is no longer bi-partisan. It has become politicized.  We may not see the effects of this change for many years.  However, there will come a time when a new Congress, a new President, and new American mindset will no longer accept Israel as the US’ 51st state nor the Israeli Prime Minister as senator from that state. At that point some event will tip the scales.  The actual issue may not be important in itself, but its effects such an Security Council abstention instead of a veto will prove catastrophic. Because at that moment the State of Israel will be cast adrift.

I am not a politician, nor do I belong to any interest group. I am simply one Jew, who hopes to see Israel remain prosperous and secure.  And I am afraid.

Religious Jews look at Torah as the story of the covenant between G-d and Abraham, whereby Abraham and his descendants would receive Israel as their inheritance in return for following the law. We forget that Torah is but the first part of Tanach the biblical trilogy, and that Prophet and Writings are about how Abraham’s descendants lost their inheritance because of their repeated failure to abide by the covenant.

I am of an age when Hatikvah was not a national anthem but rather a commitment that one day there would a nation located in Israel.  This was a time when the High Holy Day Service ended when each member of the congregation would greet his neighbors with the words, Next Year in Jerusalem.

Together with every Jew everywhere, I am familiar with the Psalm that begins

On the Banks of rivers of Babylon

There we sat and wept

And remembered Zion.

Hundreds of years from now I do not want history having repeated itself, for Jews to remember one more tragic event and read one more Megillah, yet again telling the story how we threw away our inheritance.

Israel’s 17 March election is no longer a vote for one party or another, or one politician or another. It has become a vote will be those who assume that US policy towards will forever continue to move lockstep with the demands of the Israeli government of the day, against those who fear that Israel is about to lose their one unconditional friend.

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