Ben Herman
Building Community, One Person at a Time

The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend

As a student of History, I was always fascinated by the United States’ alliance with “Uncle Joe” Stalin against Hitler. Talk about strange bedfellows: a man who murdered twenty million of his own people, sent millions more to the gulags and professed a totalitarian system of government antithetical to western beliefs. Why form an alliance with Stalin? Simply because we faced a greater enemy (may his name be obliterated) who we needed to defeat.

I view the recent Israeli government coalition in this light. Three individuals who have little to nothing in common: Naftali Bennett of the far-right Yamina party, Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, and Mansoor Abbas of the Israeli Arab party Raam join together with five other parties in a coalition. A man who has said “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life and there’s no problem with that” is set to become Prime Minister in the first coalition to have an Israeli Arab party. Here’s a picture of a smiling Bennett next to Mansour Abbas.

. May be an image of ‎5 people, including Ami Cohen and ‎text that says '‎لاعلا ي نواف النباري‎'‎‎ What gives? Simply, the desire to oust Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, the longest serving Israeli Prime Minister ever. This is an example of where the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The hatred that one-time allies Bennett and Lieberman appear to have for Netanyahu, as well as strategic thinking on Bennett’s part, is what has led to this. Under the terms of the agreement, Bennett will be Prime Minister for the first two years with Lapid serving the next two.

Only in Israel can one whose party was in 5th place, a mere 7 seats out of 120, become Prime Minister. However, the two have mutual control, as anything that Bennett wants to sign Lapid will be able to veto.  I just hope the government lasts long enough for Lapid to get his chance at being Prime Minister. We saw what happened with the Gantz-Netanyahu government last year which lasted a matter of mere months. Strange bedfellows Bennett, Lapid and Abbas are striving to fell a common enemy. By June 14 we will know if they are able to do so or if Bibi, the ultimate survivor, can find a way out of this one as well.

About the Author
Rabbi Ben Herman is the Senior Rabbi at Mosaic Law Congregation in Sacramento, California. He has previously created initiatives and helped implement programs such as Drive In Shabbat, a Drive Through Sukkah, a student-led musical service called Friday Night Live, Shabbat on the Beach, and the United Synagogue Schechter Award-winning Hiking and Halacha. Rabbi Herman also serves on the Rabbinical Assembly's Conversion Commission as well as its Derech Eretz and Social Action Committees. He is a Mahloket Matters Fellow with PARDES and has previously been part of JOIN for Justice's Community Organizing Fellowship as well as the Institute for Jewish Spirituality's Clergy Leadership Program. Rabbi Herman's focus is growing the membership through outreach and relational Judaism, including creating Havurot, implementing engaging programming and enhancing the Educational and Young Family programs at Mosaic Law. Rabbi Herman earned a Bachelors Degree in History, Hebrew and Jewish Studies with Comprehensive Honors in 2005 and received Rabbinic Ordination with a Masters Degree in Jewish Education from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2011. Rabbi Herman married Karina in June 2014, and the two of them are very excited to be living in Sacramento and in California, Karina's home state. They welcomed daughters Ariela Shira in February 2016 and Leora Rose in December 2018.