Michael Boyden

A Sea Change

The term “sea change” is first recorded in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, where we read in Ariel’s Song of how Ferdinand’s father is presumed drowned following a shipwreck and that his body underwent “a sea change”.

Nowadays, of course, we use the expression to describe a profound or notable transformation.

Followng Hamas’s massacre of men, women, children and babies in kibbutzim and villages on October 7th and the dragging away of over 200 hostages into captivity and an unknown fate in the Gaza Strip, the Jewish People has undergone a sea change both in Israel and overseas.

Bibi’s efforts to divide our nation and his plans to pass legislation to bring about a judicial reform to save his own skin are now in disarray. Describing his opponents as “traitors” doesn’t cut ice anymore when huge numbers of Israelis have turned out for reserve duty irrespective of their political views.

Both politicians and key figures in our defense establishment have taken responsibility for the failure that enabled Hamas terrorists to enter southern Israel almost unopposed. Only Bibi remains silent. But the day of reckoning will come, and he will have to render account and take responsibility for his misguided strategy aimed at appeasing Hamas and Gaza’s population. He is unlikely to leave of his own volition, but will be forced out in disgrace by public opinion, including that of many from his own party.

Likkud will be hard put to find a fitting replacement to lead them given the manner in which Bibi operated in always distancing those whom he saw as a potential threat to his dominance of the party. Likkud will not be what it was and there will be different political alliances in Israel.

However, the sea change is not only taking place in Israel, but is already beginning to show itself in how many diaspora Jews see themselves and their relationship with Israel.

There is a statement going around on Instagram mirroring the well-known words of the Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller in World War II. However, this time it says: “First they came for LGBTQ and I stood up, because love is love. Then they came for immigrants and I stood up, because families belong together. Then they came for the black community and I stood up, because black lives matter. Then they came for me, but I stood alone, because I am a Jew.”

American Jews have been shocked by the frightening lack of willingness of Ivy League colleges to name Hamas and express their disgust and condemnation of the slaughter that took place on October 7th.
Jewish students had become used to anti-Zionism and antisemitism on campus, but this went too far.

Anglo Jewry is protesting at the manner in which the BBC stubbornly still insists on referring to Hamas terrorists as “militants” when even their king and prime minister call them what they are.

At a time of growing secularism and assimilation within Jewish communities throughout the world, many Jews have ceased to identify with their People and have distanced themselves from Israel or been repulsed by her government.

However, the events of two weeks ago and the huge pro-Palestinian demonstrations in cities such as London and Paris, have reminded many of whom they are. This at a time when there are increasingly large numbers of Muslims in the West, who have failed to condemn Islamic terrorism that not only results in the murder and abduction of innocent Israelis but threatens Jews wherever they live.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
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