5778: A Year of Great Expectations

Indeed, in 5777 the IDF and Israeli security forces prevented PA Arab terrorists from committing as many deadly or serious attacks as they had the year before — unfortunately, the ones that succeeded were still horrific. And the radicalized Israeli-Arab terror, while still limited, became far more extreme, setting the country on fire, in some cases quite literally.

Just so no-one misunderstands the statement above, the majority of Israeli-Arabs are law-abiding and appreciate living in Israel as opposed to living in any Arab or Islamic country. A survey by IDI in May of this year found that 51.1% of Israeli-Arabs felt proud to be Israeli (compared to 86.1% of Jews).

Former US President Obama’s anti-Israel November Surprise at the UN wasn’t much of a surprise, but, in the end, his words had no effect in the real world.

His actions, on the other hand, Obama’s massive financial contribution to the radical Islamic Iranian regime, which then used that fortune to consolidate their terror network forged a tectonic shift across the Middle East.

I don’t know if we’ll be facing off in a full-scale war this year with Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies (or even Iran itself), but it appears we are headed in that direction. It will be a serious conflict on multiple fronts when it finally breaks out, this coming year or next.

I hope that the newly emerging reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas will go the way of all their previous reconciliations — I would be surprised and worried if it survives the inherently tribal nature of the Arabs of the Land of Israel. There is reason to suspect that Hamas is trying to adopt the Hezbollah model of government.

As predicted, BDS and other anti-Zionist NGOs spewed their venomous propaganda against Israel’s celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation, and as predicted, no one paid attention.

Unexpectedly, MK Betzalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi/Ichud Leumi) introduced a real chance for progress towards resolving the Middle East conflict with his “One Hope” peace plan. If nothing else, it has opened up the tired, 50-year-old conversation to new ideas other than the “two-state solution.” The radical left was duly shocked and outraged.

Economically, Israel had some spectacular successes, and the country’s economy is doing well, despite Finance Minister Kachlon’s failed social engineering experiments in the real estate market.

My urgent concerns in 5778 are not for Israel, but for American Jewry.

Open anti-Semitism from the Left and the Right (talk about intersectionality) is on the rise in the US, and as the Lubavitcher Rebbe once said regarding a new Holocaust, “It can happen again overnight.”

Trump’s election (and equally, Hillary’s loss) has made the progressive/”liberal”/Reform Jewish community a little crazy, while the 2013 Pew study has forced them to face their denominational mortality.

With few exceptions, the Reform movement has avoided any real introspection as to why their ideas are failing — while their membership become less and less Jewish. Indeed, they no longer believe having a fast growing non-Jewish membership is a bad thing.

Instead, the Reform leadership has chosen to unite their dwindling community in a religious war against Israel and traditional Judaism, using Israel’s High Court as the battlefield where they attempt to force their failed and divisive ideologies and practices onto the Jewish State.

Israel has always struggled over issues of religion and the state, but the Reform and anti-Zionist NGO insurgency is helping to radicalize what most Israelis have been adept at working out — because we live here together and have no choice but to get along.

I am also concerned with the permanent damage Reform clergy are causing the traditional ties of their congregations with Israel, with their campaigns to grab more real estate at the Western Wall. Their decision to snub a sitting US President on the eve of Rosh Hashanah may also harm those same congregations. Their arrogance cannot but yield disaster and I can only hope they realize this and step back from the brink.

Here’s an uplifting note: more Jews have visited the Temple Mount in 5777 than in past years going back to 70 CE, and those numbers continue to grow. Israeli police have become more sensitive to the Jewish visitor than in the past (though far from perfect), and for one week this year we tasted how peaceful the Temple Mount could be without Muslim agitators on our holiest site.

As I write these words I’m thinking of the Israeli volunteers who recently flew to Houston to help after the hurricane, and the search and rescue team Prime Minister Netanyahu is sending right now to Mexico to assist after the earthquake. Our hearts are with the victims. It makes me proud to live in Israel, in a country that is able and willing to provide aid and assistance to those in need around the world.