15 days until the First Seder… you ready?
With that massive calendar event on the near horizon, it’s time for the 4th annual reveal of four additional Israel-related questions that I'm wondering about this year.
Question One- Coalitions
The remarkable electoral triumph of Bibi Netanyahu and Likud in Israel’s elections on Tuesday sent shock waves across Israel and Washington. Roaring back from pre-election polling that had him 7 seats behind the center-leftists, he tacked hard to the right and rallied for a convincing victory. Now that he has subdued the left and circled the wagons with the right, the next coalition will speak volumes about what Bibi will try to accomplish in his next government. The first question: will the next government be a unity government, or will it be another rightist coalition? I think we’re all hoping it’s the former, but don’t be surprised if it’s the latter.
Question Two- Repercussions
The Doomsday scenarios have been all over the web since Tuesday’s results were announced. With Bibi’s political doublespeak and race-baiting firmly on the record, there have been ominous signs from Washington, and the rest of the world, about the potential consequences of the Prime Minister’s words. Today’s news about the potential removal of the traditional US veto over UN Security Council resolutions condemning Israel is, make no mistake, a big deal. The second question must be: will this year see the United States end their long-standing practice of protecting Israel from UNSC sanction? I certainly hope, and pray, that the answer is no.
Question Three- Bad Deal Or No Deal
Given all the election news, the Iran issue has drifted into the background, but with Bibi in the Prime Minster’s residence again, you can be certain it won’t remain that way. With the Republican party eager to deal the President a legislative rebuke on the Iran issue, and the administration seemingly going all-in on a nuclear deal that, according to polls, will be unpopular, the third, and biggest, question out there is: deal or no deal?
Question Four- European Glory?
Israel’s national team opened Euro 2016 qualifying with an unprecedented 3 wins from 3 games, and now sit atop their qualifying group. With two matches next week against Wales and Belgium, and five more matches after that, they couldn’t be in a better position. Given their history of never winning the most important matches, though , the fourth question is, will this be the year they emerge from a history of underachievement and qualify for a world-class competition for the first time since the 1970 World Cup? Hope so.
Chag Pesach Sameach