In a little over two years, Egypt has gone from an autocracy of some considerable duration, then to a popular uprising bringing in military rule, a democracy for just 12 months and now it’s back under military control once again with a return to the democratic process expected but at a date as yet unspecified.
Egypt has certainly gone through quite a few remarkable changes in recent times and with more in prospect up ahead. In fact, the entire Arab world has seemed, of late, to be exhibiting mood swings of a most radical nature, a new-found strength and intensity enabling opposition to the many forms of top-down governance and those regimes unable to adapt fast enough to this, the 21st century.
Israel’s progress in the same period has appeared positively sedate, almost moribund by comparison. Governments are formed, administrations split apart and then recombine, parties emerge from elections with agendas reflecting popular opinion to a greater or lesser extent, these transitions taking place without serious public disorder. But, by and large, there has been no revolutionary spirit in evidence, no fervour for a total revision of the national consensus nor any abrupt reversal in its overall direction.
Is this relative stability indicative of good or bad fortune in Israel’s future? Does it reflect a mature and sophisticated society or one that is unwilling or afraid to take radical measures in addressing the problems that confront it? Are Israelis more tolerant of the status quo, ready to accept what has been the norm for decades, never questioning the need for slow and careful handling of their unique and, certainly, somewhat parlous situation?
Has there never been a moment when Israelis wished to throw off this ever cautious approach to life and let tomorrow determine, once and for all, whatever outcome it may of the last 65 years and more?
It has been said that one reason for the creation of Mankind was to provide G-d with the element of risk, an experience previously not included in the vast repertoire of so supreme a being.
Has G-d won or lost this bet he had with Himself long ago? Or is He still waiting to find out?