I’m not a fan of Naftali Bennet, Yair Lapid, or the Knesset, but this latest move to disband the government has almost got me reaching for sackcloth and ashes.
Don’t get me wrong. This government with its bizarre cast of characters wasn’t anything to write home about, but being without it terrifies me. Remember back, to the last couple of and four election cycles. Four divisive and costly attempts to get it right failed.
Well, they didn’t fail for everyone.
Our cousins got the message — for years, their nonvoting was factored into the Israeli political calculus, but the repeated elections taught them how to vote. Now they are the third largest group in the Knesset.
It’s highly likely that another election will continue this momentum. G-d help us if Mansour Abbas and his ilk become the powerbrokers.
Yesterday’s events feel deja vu. like we’ve turned the clock back to the Second Temple era when it was we Jews whose overtures to the Romans led to the loss of our independence.
On the Hebrew calendar, we are on the verge of Rosh Hodesh Tammuz, about to begin the three-week mourning period commemorating the loss of both Temples and our exiled state and all the attendant pain and bloodshed.
These latest events are yet another example of our talent for self-destruction. From the assassination of Gedaliah Ben Ahikam, o the Kamtza Bar Kamtza narrative to the Biryonim, Temple-era extremists who set fire to the grain stores transforming the siege of Jerusalem into an epidemic of starvation and death we are geniuses at shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot.
Zionist history is riddled with these stories too — the Altalena, to the assassinations of Chaim Arlosoroff and Yitzchak Rabin, Yamit, Gush Katif, and more.
And now we seem to be reenacting this terrible pattern.
Our Torah teaches us the supreme value of unity even under a less-than-ideal government. During Ahab’s reign, the Jews worshipped idols but they won wars because they were united! And there is the famous Rabbinical adage Yiftach (a minor prophet) in his generation as Samuel in his generation teaching us that we need to unite behind whoever is in charge, barring someone who is out and out evil. Though I don’t especially like the guy, I wouldn’t class Naftali Bennett with Hitler, Stalin, or Atila the Hun.
The Ethics of the Fathers states that without government society would self-destruct. We are surrounded by enemies who’d like to drive us into the sea. A disbanded government and more elections signal weakness to our enemy and puts us all at risk.
May the G-d of Israel help us — He is our only hope.