Ian Joseph

A Future History of Israel

In Volume I we discussed the events leading to the rise of the state of Israel, from the first Zionist Congress in 1897 till the establishment of the state in 1948. The struggles of the early pioneers, the impact of WW1 and the resulting British Mandate. The trauma and loss of the Holocaust with the creation of the state from the ashes of WW2. At the time of establishment the state had a total of 806,000 residents.

In volume II we examined the creation of the state in 1948, the resulting War of Independence and the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. The Sinai Campaign in 1956, the 6 Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. We also discussed how in the period from 1948-1973 Israel gathered in exiles from many countries, predominantly Arab states, established the basis of the modern state and went from shaky foundations to firmly establishing its presence in the region. By 1973 the population had risen to 3.4 million

In Volume III we presented the rise of the startup nation, the impact of one million immigrants arriving from the former Soviet Union in the 90s, the beginnings of the normalization of Israel’s relationship’s with the Arab countries, and the start of a rapprochement with the Palestinians as a result of the Oslo process. This period ended at the turn of the century in 2000, at which time Israel had a population of 6.3 million.

Volume IV covered the period up till October 7, 2023. In this period Israel thrived economically, politically and in the world arena. It went from strength to strength, establishing itself as a major exporter of computer, medical, agricultural and military technologies. Despite some security setbacks, the second intifada, the second Lebanon War, ongoing minor campaigns and skirmishes in Gaza and on the Gaza border, the Israeli economy flourished, Tel Aviv became one of the most expensive cities in the world, real estate boomed, Israel joined the OECD in 2010 and GDP per capita rose marking Israel’s entry to the 20 richest countries in the world. By any measure, the state of Israel had become a shining example of how a state could raise itself from the ashes of war to become one of the most successful countries in the world. In 2023 Israel had a population of almost 10 million.

This volume, volume V, covers the fall of Israel, and its disappearance as a Jewish state. As we will show, October 7, 2023 was the tipping point from which the decline of Israel started. A short précis of the period from October 2023 till the disappearance of the state in 2067 follows. Further detail can be found in the chapters following the summary.

On October 7, 2023 thousands of Hamas fighters broke through the fortifications surrounding Gaza and attacked nearby army bases and civilian settlements. In the resulting carnage and barbaric massacres 1,200 Israelis were killed including babies, men, women and 325 soldiers. 240 people of all ages, from toddlers to the elderly were kidnapped and taken back to Gaza as hostages. Following this, Hezbollah in Lebanon attacked and fired on civilian settlements in the north of Israel. Both Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon fired thousands of rockets and missiles at Israel.

As a result, Israel was forced to evacuate 200,000 civilians from both the north and the Gaza area creating an unparalleled crisis of 200,00 refugees internal to the state of Israel.

Israel immediately called up 360,000 reservists and declared war on Hamas. The stated, somewhat contradictory, objectives of the IDF were to eliminate Hamas, ensure it could never repeat the actions of October 7, and free all the 240 hostages held by Hamas.

At this point one needs to look back at the elections held November 2022 which produced a coalition of the most right wing parties ever seen in Israel. The new government proceeded on a path of judicial reform which was perceived by their opponents as a legalistic coup, designed to remove the only remaining legal barrier to the aims of the ultra orthodox and the West Bank settlers. Opponents to the judicial reform took to the streets for weekly demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of people designed to pressure the government to change course. The proposers of the judicial reforms and their opponents divided the country and many were fearful it would result in a civil war. October 7, brought this to a halt and united the country behind the need to fight and withstand a common enemy. However the divisions and bitter infighting preceding October 7 were only temporarily shelved while the war was being fought. As soon as the war ended the divisions and mutual animosities returned.

The United States of America provided political, material, military and financial support to enable Israel in its war against Hamas. Without American support, and constant resupply of ammunition and arms, Israel would have been forced to halt its military campaign after four weeks when it would have exhausted all its available munitions. After 12 weeks of war, at the beginning of January 2025, Israel was forced both by American and international pressure to halt its intensive military campaign without achieving all of its stated objectives. The primary factor behind the pressure on Israel to cease its intensive campaign were the deaths of more than 30,000 Gazans, of which 20,000 were non-combatants, and the resulting humanitarian crisis; nearly 2 million Gazans were displaced from their homes and forced to live in tent camps. Diseases broke out and hunger with the threat of starvation faced 50% of Gazans. It became virtually impossible to feed, shelter, cloth and care for close to 2 million displaced civilians in the middle of a war zone. 

Netanyahu’s greatest fear in this period was that a unified West Bank and Gaza would, together with American and international support, place pressure on Israel for the creation of a Palestinian state. As a result, his failed policies of support for Hamas, while undermining the Palestinian Authority led directly to October 7 in his attempts to foil the creation of a Palestinian state. 

In January 2024, despite tactical victories and the destruction of most of Hamas military infrastructure, growing internal criticism resulting from the ongoing loss of soldiers lives and international pressure as a result of the humanitarian crisis and civilian deaths, forced the Israeli army to pull out of Gaza, without destroying the Hamas government in Gaza and without freeing all the hostages still held by Hamas. After the end of hostilities, indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas secured the release of the remaining hostages in exchange for the release of almost all the Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. This further bolstered popular support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza as the Palestinian street understood that Hamas, with its terror tactics and violence, had succeeded where BDS and the PA had failed. It forced Israel to release prisoners and to pull back from Gaza without an Israeli military success. It proved, yet again, that overwhelming Israeli military force could not bring a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Netanyahu was ousted shortly after the IDF was forced to exit Gaza. Unfortunately, his replacements were no more capable of negotiating a compromise and a peace settlement with the Palestinians.

 As a result of the failure to both remove Hamas from Gaza and the inability to distance Hezbollah from the northern border, the majority of civilians were fearful and reluctant to return to their homes. Despite their reluctance to return, most did as they had no other alternative. However, due to the fact that the state could not guarantee their absolute safety, a slow civilian exodus from the Gaza border communities and the northern communities ensued, depleting both areas of the majority of their civilian populations over a ten year period. This essentially ceded those border areas to Hamas and Hezbollah.

During the years 2024-2035 a steady war of attrition was waged between Israel and Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north. The war of attrition took the form of sporadic mortar, artillery, rocket, missile and drone attacks from both the north and the south who coordinated their attacks for maximum effect. Israel retaliated with cross border raids, artillery fire and airborne attacks but could not halt the steady ongoing attacks on civilian communities and military posts both close to the border and in the center of the country. Both Hamas and Hezbollah steadily improved their military capabilities with technologies capable of reaching any target in Israel with pinpoint precision. In many case they both shared technologies and were supplied, supported and trained by Iran with devastating effect. Israel also engaged in an undercover war of assassination targeting Hamas and Hezbollah leadership abroad. As successful as the assassinations were, nonetheless both organizations had deep reservoirs of potential leaders to draw upon after every assassination.

Israel historically was only able to train 50% of the doctors it needed and so was dependent on Israeli students receiving their education abroad and returning to Israel afterwards. Due to the ongoing violence and lack of safety, many medical professionals emigrated and very few citizens returned after completing their training abroad. As a result the already strained, inadequate and overloaded medical services further deteriorated with waiting times increasing and quality of services deteriorating.

Israel’s high tech miracle was fueled by about 150,000 software and hardware engineers. These information technology professionals were highly desirable and easily found employment in countries abroad. The desire for a safer, less stressed environment led to a steady exodus of those who fueled, supported and enabled Israel’s high tech economy. By 2035 the previously booming and successful high tech sector had basically disappeared.

Israel’s universities were among the top 500 tertiary education institutions in the world. But, due to the situation, academic professionals started emigrating and not returning from post doctoral positions. Contributing to the deterioration in educational standards was the worldwide boycott of Israeli universities by academic institutions. This led to all of Israel’s universities slipping out of the top 500 lists of academic institutions worldwide wide.

Leading up to the crisis resulting from October 7 were the elections of November 2022. Israel was experiencing a population explosion unseen in the western world. This population rise was fueled predominantly by religious, and ultra orthodox families. It was not unusual for religious families to have 4-5 children and it was accepted that the ultra orthodox would have families of at least 8-9 children. This gave rise to a changed demographic in Israel whereby the religious and the ultra orthodox began to realize and express their influence at the ballot box and in elections. Due to the nature of Israeli elections, a proportional system, the religious and ultra orthodox began to express their power in government as a result of the fact that it was impossible to form governing coalitions without their participation. Due to the religious political power and influence, Israel became a society which in practice was a theocracy, further leading to educated professionals to seek alternate lives abroad.

By 2035 approximately 500,000 Israelis had emigrated from Israel. While this was less than 5% of the total population, it was nonetheless the best and brightest from academia, the high tech world and the medical profession. This emigration directly led to the downward spiral resulting in the disappearance of Israel as the state of the Jews in 2067. Israel, as we know, was replaced by the unitary state of Palestine in the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

By 2024 less than 50% of Israeli youth aged 18 were conscripted. This was due to the facts that Arab youth were exempt, ultra orthodox youth were exempt, any woman claiming a religious exemption was exempt and a large percentage of youth were unsuitable either physically or psychologically. Israeli combat units, special forces, pilots and other elite military units were dependent on the spirit of volunteerism that permeated the elites and upper echelons of society. It was considered a badge of honor to be accepted by and serve in one of the many units recognized as the military elite. In many cases it was an entry to a well regarded profession or career at the end of military service. 

The elections in 2022 and the resulting schism that was exacerbated in Israeli society, led to many volunteers in the military reserves to declare that they would no longer serve in a country that was abandoning democracy. While they did indeed respond to the Hamas attack of October 7 by suspending their refusal to serve and serving during the war, they resumed their refusal after the war and the reemergence of the splits in Israeli society. As a result of their refusal, a substantial majority of the secular elites no longer volunteered for elite military units. The lack of volunteers and the emigration of elites, severely degraded Israel’s military strength with the decline observed post 2030 and most marked after 2035 when the chief of the air force announced that they no longer had enough combat ready pilots to man all the aircraft at their disposal.

Unfortunately, after October 7, no government was able to find a peaceful solution and settlement with the Palestinians to end the conflict. Israelis were justifiably fearful that a second state in their midst would lead to further attacks by the Palestinians. A further restraining factor on the creation of a second state was the presence of 450,000 Jewish Israelis in the West Bank and a further 250,000 in East Jerusalem. There was no practical way to establish a viable Palestinian state with the numbers of Israeli Jews living in many different areas over what was known as the Green Line.

After 2035 the emigration of the elites began to have a marked effect on the economy, Israel, always highly dependent on imports for food, raw materials and finished goods, began to experience a balance of payments problem where the value of imports began to pass the value of exports and never reversed course. This led to recession, inflation, a steep decline in the value of the New Israeli Shekel (NIS), rising interest rates and a crash in the value of commercial and residential real estate.

The ongoing, irreversible decline in both the economy and the ability of the military finally led to a situation in 2060 whereby the government recognized that it could not sustain the ongoing repression of Palestinians as it had neither the military force nor the economic ability to do so. The ever increased application of sanctions and boycotts made economic pressures on the country more severe.

In 2060, the government of the day initiated discussions with the Palestinians to create an equitable settlement whereby both nations could live side by side in peace. As is usual in such negotiations, they took on a life of their own. During 2061, 2062 and 2063 the negotiations had to be suspended owing to terror violence from both Jewish and Palestinian hardliners. A renewed Palestinian police force together with the Israeli military managed to suppress the violence and negotiations resumed in 2064.

The final outcome of the negotiations was a single unitary state of all its citizens with a constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion for all citizens. A unique clause was inserted into the constitution guaranteeing Jewish refugees a safe haven in the even of Jews being threatened anywhere in the world. The name of the state was changed to Palestine – Israel with a new flag and symbols reflecting the identities of all inhabitants.

At the end of negotiations in December 2065 elections were held with every adult over the age of 18 who had resided in the area for the previous three years having the right to vote. A mix of proportional and direct elections was held with the Palestinian representatives winning a slight majority and gaining 53% versus 47% of the popular vote, in line with their proportion in the general population. A timetable to transition the government from the old state of Israel to the new state of Palestine-Israel was established.

The new state came into being in 2067, one hundred years after the 6 Day War which, by its capture of Gaza and the West Bank initiated the conditions for the creation of the environment that led to the decline of Israel as we knew it. It is possible that, had Israel either retreated from the West Bank and Gaza, returning them to Jordan and Egypt respectively, or used its capture of the two areas to initiate a negotiation with the Palestinians for a political settlement and the creation of a second state, the Jewish state, with about a 20% Palestinian population would have managed to survive. 

The new state of Palestine contains a population of 16.4 million with 53% Arabs and 47% Jews. Jewish elites continue to emigrate from Palestine-Israel. 

[A note from the author – this is obviously a work of fiction and no one, least of all me, has any idea what the future will bring. It is with a heavy heart that I draw these conclusions and make this forecast, it is however based on current realities, trends and the history of past conflicts in the world. My personal, fervent hopes are that Israel and the Palestinians can, in the near future, negotiate a peaceful settlement that will preserve and maintain a safe haven for Jews, their national home, the Jewish state of Israel.]  

About the Author
Born and educated in South Africa, a graduate of Jewish day school and Habonm Dror, Ian Joseph served in the IDF as an officer in combat units, and currently resides in North Carolina and Cyprus. Ian holds an MBA from Shulich School of Business in Toronto, is certified as a Master Instructor by the American Sailing Association and is currently retired from IBM. Among other pursuits Ian edits a weekly newsletter of Israeli news items, teaches sailing around the world and certifies sailing instructors.
Related Topics
Related Posts