Brynn Olenberg Sugarman
"Mediterranean Chic"

A Tale of Two Nations

Image by Angelo Giordano from Pixabay
Image by Angelo Giordano from Pixabay

Disclaimer: This is a satirical piece.

I have sometimes considered America’s bloody civil war, and pondered if the Union could have achieved the crucial, morally supreme goal of abolishing slavery without conflict? Maybe they could have simply “paid off” the Confederates?

While the circumstances are very different, as Israel goes through its own internal political crash, I wonder: Is civil war horrifically inevitable, or is another solution possible? Perhaps we can simply agree to disagree, and go our separate ways.

One need only harken back to ancient history. At around 930 BC, the Israelite Kingdom was divided into Israel and Judah. We already have the names! These entities can be reestablished, with no hard feelings, because individuals will have free choice when it comes to citizenship. That will require some population swapping, but it would not be the first time: Think Cyprus, 1974.

Judah can feel free to apply its own brand of democracy, whereby “the winner takes all,” and can persist in its current Haredi (ultra-Orthodox)/Radical Right-wing Nationalist coalition. If Bibi’s physical heart hasn’t given out by then, like his symbolic one already has, he can declare himself King Bibi, Moschiach Ben David, and his wife Queen Sara. It will be enshrined in law that the ultra-Orthodox need never enlist nor work, since learning Torah is their way of serving. But there will be a dilemma: Judah will have lost much needed taxpayer revenue and soldiers to Israel. Where will the money and muscle come from? Certainly not the “heilige-buchurim!” The solution:  Judaean legislation will decree that all non-Haredi civilians must double their workday from 8 hours to 16, and likewise double their army service from 3 years to 6. Only then can those who do the real work –  learning all day long, all of one’s life – be properly supported.

In order to run for office, Judaean policy will require a minimum of one previous indictment or conviction, or at the very least jail time, in the spirit of its laudable leaders: Smotrich (arrested in 2005, jailed for 3 weeks for plotting to blow up the Ayalon,) Deri (thrice convicted, guilty of violating his latest plea bargain,) Ben Gvir (53 indictments, and multiple convictions,) and Bibi himself, under indictment for the past 4 years. 

Ben-Gvir (rejected by the IDF, on the grounds that he was too dangerous to handle a gun) will continue as Minister of National Security. However, having thumbed his nose at the USA (“we are no longer a star on the American flag,”) he will find that Judah is bereft of military alliances. But who needs F-35s and Iron Domes when one can return to the ways of our forefathers (exclusion of foremothers intentional,) and instead rely on slingshots and swords, or for that matter, nothing but divine protection? 

Meanwhile, in Israel, democracy will be defined via robust American-style checks and balances, and the understanding that a democracy “is only as strong as the limitations imposed on its elected officials.” A government of many stripes will sit together, similar to the previous Lapid/Bennett government, and prioritize the formation of a constitution, along with term-limits for prime ministers, both essential tools when it comes to political damage control.

Economic prosperity, by means of high-tech and strong international relations, will be at the core of the nation’s goals, along with the upholding of Israel’s original Declaration of Independence, which balances Jewish identity with a guarantee of “equality of social and political rights to all of its inhabitants, irrespective of religion, race, or sex.” All citizens will be expected to serve in the army or, in some cases, do National Service, and cutting-edge self-defense will persist, in cooperation with other developed nations, particularly the US. Liberated from funding the non-productive Haredi sector,  the state will free up generous funds to better assist the working poor, special needs populations, new immigrants, the elderly, and the environment, as well as improve its health and education systems, particularly in the periphery. A strong pluralistic Jewish spiritual tradition and literacy system will be lauded, with insights relevant to our modern times celebrated. Individuals will be guaranteed the right to marry whoever they want, either via a religious or secular ceremony.

Both countries will remain open to citizen swapping. For example, a Judaean battered wife, told by her Rabbinate that she must stay with her husband for the sake of “Shalom Bayit,” will have the right to relocate instead. Crash courses in subjects such as Psychology 100, Engineering 101, Medicine 100, Israelite Law 101, ESL, Accounting 101, Art Therapy 100, Surfing 101, Yoga 100, thong-wearing 101, rave dancing 100, and Getting Stoned 101 will be provided to ameliorate her chances of success. I estimate that there will be at least 500,000 such souls. Similarly, any Israelite disenchanted with working can choose to become a “buchur” and live in Judah, where he will be provided with similarly appropriate integration training: Goat Sacrificing 101, Red Heifer Identification 100, Yom Kippur Chicken Swinging 101, Village Burning 100, Peyes Twirling 101, Shuckling 100, and Stoning 101. The extra expense of more “buchurim”  will of course require extra funding, and hence a further lengthening of the workday of those Judaeans who do work, from 18 hours to 19, but hey, anything for the cause. 

As most marriage counselors (Rabbinate-employed excluded) will tell you, an amicable divorce is far more desirable than a bickering marriage. Healthier for the kids, too! So, it is time to think outside the box, and initiate a two-state solution through a sound split, rather than remain together, widely splitting our hearts open.

About the Author
Brynn Olenberg Sugarman was born in New York City. She graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BA in Creative Writing and from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with an MA in English Literature. She is the author of "Rebecca's Journey Home," an award-winning children's book. She has also had both speculative fiction and children's stories published in a number of magazines. Brynn lives in Tel Aviv with her husband, Dov, where she enjoys writing and painting. She is passionate about Israel advocacy, travel, vegetarianism, animal welfare, the environment, archaeology, and literature.
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