Steve Kramer

Surmountable Challenges

Israel’s political, social, and military prospects have all taken a hit this year following the installation of the current government coalition, headed by the redoubtable Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu. While the right wing, religious, and nationalistic parties won a decisive electoral majority, the difference in the popular vote was less dramatic. 

Bibi’s campaign was partially based on a much needed reform of Israel’s highest court. Therefore, the leaders of Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionist, the two nationalistic parties in the coalition, felt confident that their legislation, aiming to make the court more democratic, would become law. (Currently the High Court has veto power over the Knesset’s laws while having the power to make laws on its own.)

It’s apparent that the proposed legislation was “too much, too soon” because it engendered a huge mass movement, supported across the board by the mass media, the financial establishment, the left wing parties, and the lifeblood of the economy – the high tech sector. I have no qualms about stating that the head of the opposition, Yair Lapid, along with another party head, former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, have sabotaged the country (Gantz to a lesser extent), endangering it financially, socially, politically, and militarily by their extreme rhetoric and self-fulfilling prophecies. 

As of right now, during the Jewish/Israeli holiday season which ends April 26 with Israel’s 75th Independence Day, the Knesset is on vacation. Negotiations are being held under the auspices of President Herzog, a former leader of the left Labour Party, who is supposed to be non-political but isn’t. If  the parties fail to reach a negotiated agreement, the legislation will most likely be passed in the Knesset. Such an outcome is not the best solution if  Israel is to return to “normal.”
Should I be worried?

On the military front, US Gen. Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, while testifying before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense said that, “…the US ‘remains committed as a matter of policy that Iran will not have a fielded nuclear weapon.’ The word ‘fielded’ created the impression among Israeli officials that the U.S. had changed its policy on Iran and would tolerate Tehran having a nuclear weapons program. Several days later at a House Armed Service Committee meeting, Milley stressed that the US is committed to ensuring Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. This time, he didn’t use the word ‘fielded.”’ [Even if not expressed, it remains implied.] (

How many times has the Biden administration practically begged the Iranians to go back to the Iran Deal (JCPOA), which was implemented during Joe Biden’s vice presidency. It’s just too pathetic. With the deal very close to its sunset – which allows Iran to do just about whatever it wants  with nuclear and other weapons –  the administration still can’t get over its obsession: to co-opt Iran to the American side, displacing Israel and Saudi Arabia as the Americans most stalwart Middle East allies. 

What would Iran gain from rejoining the pact? Tons of US dollars with which to continue its malevolent program to develop and field nuclear weapons while living up to its reputation as the world’s biggest funder of terrorism – especially against Israel. In contemplating this eventuality, consider these two facts: October 2025 is the JCPOA’s “Termination Day,” when the Security Council closes Iran’s nuclear file, just 2.5 years from now. Second, as part of the renewed deal, a huge cash windfall paid to Iran would finance even more terror. That bonanza would be paid with money the US doesn’t have, which it must borrow. (China is America’s 2nd biggest creditor after Japan.)

After the Biden administration’s incredibly inept diplomacy in the Middle East, the latest sign of American loss of prestige is China’s recently brokered alliance of sorts between Saudi Arabia and Iran. These two countries have been implacable enemies for decades. But because of a lack of confidence in American power and steadfastness, Saudi’s acting ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has switched its allegiance. China has gained yet another foothold in the region, making the US look unreliable as an ally. 

This is made even worse by the fact that Saudi was touted by Israel as perhaps the next country to join the Abraham Accords, which have been downplayed by the current administration compared to the previous administration. With China supplanting the US as a strong country to be counted on, Iran has gained a powerful ally. In fact, China and especially Iran are backing Russia in its grinding down of Ukraine. The US is strongly supporting Ukraine, to the point that the US weapons arsenal, upon which Israel relies for replenishment of much of its spare parts and ammunition, is severely depleted.
Should I be worried?

No. The current US administration cannot remain this myopic for much longer. Reality intrudes…. The realization that a China-Russia-Iran axis portends a Western defeat is too huge to ignore. 

I believe that the miracle of Israel will not be upended by these current troubles. If you look at Israel’s modern history, you have to believe in miracles. It was David Ben-Gurion, described by many as modern Israel’s “founder,” who said: “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.”

I consider myself a realist, so I’m not worried. But I am concerned.… Our problems are surmountable if we pull together, in a joint effort for our common good.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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