Yisrael Rosenberg

Understanding Israel’s Current ‘Crisis’

The tumultuous events that have engulfed Israel since the recent elections here are not an anomaly. Instead, they are the natural consequence of factors that have been in place since the conception of the modern, reborn State. For those who have been following certain long-term developments within Israeli society, this phenomenon is not a surprise.

We in Israel are in the midst of shifting from a society largely controlled by left wing, Ashkenazi secularists to one with a leadership composed of right wing, Sephardi religious people. In the 75 years since the miraculous recreation of the State of the Jews in its ancient homeland, the Land of Israel – the rule of the existing oligarchical elite has been the status quo. As a result, they became accustomed to being in charge. Understandably they are now feeling deprived of what they see is their rightful position of privilege.

This is the real reason why they are protesting so vociferously. As painful as it is to admit, the dominant ruling class is now behaving like a child who, when their favorite toy is abruptly snatched from them, tumbles to the floor and throws a temper tantrum. The good news is that sooner or later, they are going to have to stop crying and accept the new reality in front of them. Ultimately they will have no choice. Try as they might, they will be unable to change the tectonic shift in the composition of the Israeli populace that has brought the current government into power.

Amazingly, these trends were already outlined more than 3,000 years ago in the Hebrew Bible underlying each of the three Abrahamic faiths. In the Book of Deuteronomy, there are ten verses (30:1-10) that describe the specifics of what is slated to take place when the Nation of Israel returns to the Land of Israel after its extended Exile all over the world:

  • turmoil before things settle down;
  • an ingathering of Diaspora communities;
  • a spiritual re-awakening;
  • freedom from ancient enemies; and
  • an agricultural and technological revolution that will transform a neglected and parched land into a veritable Garden of Eden.

Imagine if our current woes were just the precursor to the period that the Hebrew Prophet Yeshaiyahu envisions when he states:

“Comfort, comfort my people,” your Lord will say. “Speak to the heart of Yerushalayim, and call out to her; because her time [waiting] is done; her sin has been expiated; she has taken double from the hand of HaShem for all her sins.”(Yeshaiyahu 40:1-3)

The consequences of re-framing current events in this manner are nothing short of cataclysmic. With this perspective, we not only don’t have to be frightened; we can actually be immensely thankful for the miraculous providence that HaShem is showing to us, exactly as He promised He would:

“And you: don’t be afraid my servant Yaakov, and do not fear, Yisrael. Because here: I am saving you from far away, and your children from the land of their captivity; because I am with you. Yaakov is returning – there will be quiet and tranquility, and no frightener”. (Yirmiyahu 46:27)

In short: it is time to step back, take a few deep breaths, recognize the true dynamics of this situation, and accept that what appears to be a catastrophe is in fact the birth pains of a whole new act in a thousands-of-years-old drama: for the Nation of Israel, and the whole world in its wake.

When those of us who are busy kicking and screaming have finally calmed down, we can move on as one nation to welcome the future that is beckoning to us. We are, after all, the Nation of Israel back in the Land of Israel. It behooves us to behave accordingly.

Stay tuned.

About the Author
Yisrael Rosenberg is a former New Englander who made aliyah 30 years ago. He lives with his wife and four children in Jerusalem.
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