It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Email this to someone
Iran soldiers.jpg
It is still difficult to assess how Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will govern in his next government. The public has little interest in begging the Palestinians to return to negotiations. But then the Israeli public has rarely had much interest in pursuing fruitless deals with unreformed Palestinian terrorists. The only reason we continue to chase deals with them is because the US is obsessed with supporting Palestinian anti-Israel demands in the name of peace.
To a significant, if not necessarily determinative degree, whether the Palestinians will continue to be a salient issue in the coming years will be a function of events in the wider Arab world. The collapse of the Egyptian state, Syria’s civil war, and the potential collapse of the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan will all limit President Barack Obama’s ability to press Israel to give away land to the Palestinians.
At the same time, Netanyahu’s assault on his own political camp, starting with Likud and moving to Naftali Bennett and the Bayit Yehudi indicate that at a minimum, Netanyahu will do nothing to advance Israel’s position vis-à-vis the Palestinians. He is unlikely to permit significant new construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria or significant Jewish building in Jerusalem. He is unlikely to undertake any democratic reforms in the Justice Ministry or the court system. He is unlikely to take any steps to boost Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria or to undermine the terrorist-led Palestinian Authority.
Where the next government is likely to move ahead are in two other significant, if under-discussed areas: economic reform, and religious reform.
This weekend Israel reportedly conducted its first successful test pumping of natural gas from the offshore Leviathan natural gas field. In the next four years, Israel will become a major natural gas exporter and will make great strides in developing its recently discovered shale oil deposits. Israel’s emergence as an energy exporter will have a transformational impact on Israel’s economic independence and long-term viability.
Moreover, as the surrounding Arab world becomes more unstable, violent and fanatical, Israel’s economic independence and vitality will emerge as our most important diplomatic asset and a hugely important domestic trump card. Under the economic leadership of Netanyahu, Lapid and Bennett, as Israel stands at the cusp of this economic breakthrough, it will be led by its most powerful, and – at least in the cases of Netanyahu and Bennett – ideologically committed champions of free market economics.

Lapid’s emergence as the leader of the second largest party will lead to one of two possibilities – Shas, the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party will join the coalition and have no power, or it will be kept outside the coalition and have no power. Either way, both in terms of Israel’s ability to capitalize on its economic opportunities, and in terms of its ability to transform the country’s religious institutions, Shas’s demotion from political kingmaker to political deadweight is a major and possibly transformative development.
As far as religious reform is concerned, one of the sources of social friction that has weakened Israeli society over the past few decades is perception shared by most Israelis that the ultra-Orthodox community is comprised of freeloaders. The fact that most ultra-Orthodox men do not serve in the IDF, while receiving government handouts to study in state-funded yeshivot is one source of social friction. Another source of friction is that while its members do not participate in either the common burden of national defense or in the economic life of the country, due to Israel’s proportional electoral system, the ultra-Orthodox minority has managed to maintain control over the state religious institutions and so dictate the (sour) relationship between religion and society in Israel
Both Bennett and Lapid ran on platforms of universal male conscription or national service and ending the ultra-Orthodox community’s monopoly on control over the state rabbinate. A Netanyahu-Lapid-Bennett government could enact major reforms in the religious establishment that would lead to a national-religious takeover of the rabbinic courts and the chief rabbinate of the country. Such a government could also require the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the IDF, and enable the community’s members to integrate into the economic life of the country.
All of these steps would have a salutary, indeed, revolutionary impact on the religious life of the country. National religious rabbis would do what the ultra-Orthodox rabbis have failed to do, or stubbornly refused to do. They would make Judaism part of the life blood of the country in a way that is relevant to the lives of the vast majority of Israelis and pave the way for Israel’s further emergence as the spiritual center of world Jewry. The ripple effects of such a reform would extend to nearly every corner of Israel, and indeed, to nearly every corner of the Jewish world.
We will learn a great deal about Netanyahu’s plans to contend with Iran’s nuclear project, the hostile Obama administration, the rapidly expanding and metastasizing campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state in the West, and the rise of genocidal anti-Semitic regimes in neighboring countries through his choice of Defense Minister. After the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister will be the most important member of the government, on nearly every level and every sphere of national endeavor. He has two outstanding candidates for the position inside Likud — Moshe Ya’alon, and Yuval Steinitz. If he chooses either of these men, then we can be relatively confident that Israel will rise to the challenges we face. If he chooses anyone else, then the country’s capacity to contend successfully with these threats will be more dubious.
But here too, external events may be more important than the identity of Israel’s national leaders. The gravitational impact of the Islamic wave engulfing the Arab world and Israel’s emergence as an independent economic force will limit the ability of any one person to determine the course of events based on his own political preferences.
We are still at the earliest stages of the formation of the next governing coalition. The reports just this week about Israeli Air Force strikes on convoys of anti-aircraft missiles being transferred from Syria to Hezbollah and fears that Syria’s chemical weapons will imminently be controlled by al Qaeda or Hezbollah; the still unconfirmed reports about an Israeli attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Fordo; and the mass riots in Egypt particularly in the strategically vital cities of Port Said and Suez all make clear that regardless of the plans of the next government, and the intentions of the Obama administration, many of the actions of the next government will be dictated by forces beyond the control of the Israeli electorate and the preferences of our leaders.
It's only fair to share...Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Email this to someone


  • Elie 01/31/2013 at 5:05

    It makes good sense, what Caroline thinks.
    It is difficult not to share in the optimism radiating from her belief in Israel’s potential economic development as a result of the energy potential. I wish I could be as optimistic of the chances Pollard will be released soon. Obama-Hagel-Kerry…I do not think so.
    Bibi should choose the best qualified candidate for defense, even if he does not care for that person. It will be a critical decision, and he knows it. We are watching and waiting.
    It is interesting that The US naval presence has given way now to a dominant Russian naval presence. No one trusts The Russians.
    One thing is quite clear, The Gov’t of Israel appears to be making much better chess moves now, as contrasted with The Kadima period. I congratulate the Israeli electorate for their collective decision to send Kadima to the garbage heap. Ms. livni and Mr. olmert are FINISHED.
    In this regard, the contribution by Ms. Glick, cannot and will not be diminished, on the contrary. I urge new readers to study up on her earlier articles, available for the picking right here to The Left…no pun intended.

  • naomir 01/31/2013 at 8:02

    Israel has opportunities now that she hasn’t had in many years. All decisions from choice of Defense Minister to the economy and including a possible overhaul of the judicial system will not only have an impact on Israelis, but Jews everywhere. A superb assessment of affairs in Israel today. I just pray that we are wise enough to make the right choices. Yasher koach Caroline. You’ve done it again.

  • Nehama, Leeds, UK 01/31/2013 at 10:40

    Unfortunately the energy resources that about to come online for Israel will be a red-rag to the bulls of Araby. The prospect of Israel being not only independent and self-sufficient in energy, but also an exporter earning significant income from natural resources means Israel’s enemies are under considerable pressure to destroy or destabalize Israel before that income can be realised.
    It seems to me that the latest attacks from the UN and EU are the first shots across our bows by Obama’s 2nd Administration and his collective cronies in the EU and OIC. He will not attack Israel, or even Netanyahu personally, in any direct fashion but will use the UN to do his dirty work for him, just as he did with the Palestinian statehood bid when he encouraged other states to vote in their favour.

  • Mark 02/01/2013 at 4:00

    Israels greatest threat might emenate from its over-reliance on the USA for military hardware. Israel needs to become totally self-sufficient militarily, not subject to the sway and vagaries of American political encumbants and administrations. If I were Israel I would be expanding my nuclear arsenal dramatically both quantitatevly and in terms of Megatons of killing power, building secret, impregnable bunkers to house delivery systems, nuclear submarine second strike capabilities and a massive expansion of its arsenal of offensive stealth and supersonic cruise missiles. To this add devestating chemical and bioligal weapons and Israel might stand a chance at some deterrance. Maybe a pipe dream, a flight of fantasy, who knows?
    Israel does have the capabilities but does it have the motivation.

  • Anonymous 02/01/2013 at 9:07

    The Israeli shale gas is exiting ! I hope Israeli entrepreneurs will proceed with building in Gaza sorry Westbank ! I hope to see Israeli build skyscrapers. Indeed the situation in Syria and Jordan is precair but not hopeless. Hussein Obama loses more and more people of some stature like Hillary what difference does it make Clinton, Tim Geithner, Panetta and kicked out Petraeus. And he gets bigger idiots back like Hagel, Kerry, Brennan.
    Controversial Lyndon Larouche said on video that the US finacial system under Bernanke, Geithner is broke and Hussein Obama must be impeached for a variety of treason and forgery. Of course Gaza, Sinai and Westbank must come under Israeli entrepreneurs instead of an EU subsidized Arab state.

  • David 02/01/2013 at 9:14

    “Shas’s demotion from political kingmaker to political deadweight is a major and possibly transformative development.”
    And just what “transformation” would you like to see?
    Rubber-stamp conversion? Rubber-stamp weddings?
    The definition of who is a Jew is a fundamental national security issue.
    Does anyone doubt for a minute that there are scores of Reform and Reconstructionist “Rabbis” who would gladly hand out “conversion” certificates to every African infiltrator, every West Bank Arab, and every Arab “refugee”?
    Yes, the current conversion/citizenship laws are hellish.
    But every developed country which is worth getting into also makes getting citizenship hellish.
    By diluting the conversion and marriage processes, Israel will be opening yet another floodgate of problems.

  • stefankdorf 02/02/2013 at 16:32

    Excellent article.
    I would like to add that Shas predicament is one of its own.
    Their odious public bus add campaign “against assimilation” featuring Avigdor Liberman as symbol of that “assimilation” was nothing short of racist, hateful and divisive among the diverse Israeli aliyah.
    Mr. Liberman is a 100% kosher Jew, who preserves traditions in his family; by the way, his daughter is a religious observant.
    The Left vociferously demonizes Avigdor Liberman because of his politics, but for Shas to mimic
    Meretz propaganda with a racist scent was nothing short of ghoulish.
    I hope that the new government will bring in religious reform, including the right of every Israeli citizen to marry inside its borders in front of an Israeli official, be it rabbi, priest, imam or mayor.

  • Alex 02/02/2013 at 19:54

    Israel has two choices to deal with its problems – turn to Germany for help or turn to God for help (America is no longer an option).
    Prophecy shows Israel will turn to Germany for help (not a good choice).
    King David was inspired to write these words:
    “You are my King and my God who decrees victories for Jacob.
    Through you we push back our enemies; through your name we trample our foes.
    I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory;
    but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.
    In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever”(Psalm 44:4-8).
    Since Israel has no leaders like King David today they will turn to another nation for help.
    The lessons of history have not been learned and history will repeat itself.


Leave a Comment