created at: 2013-03-21Last year at this time I penned an additional four questions for the Passover Seder related to Israel. In looking at them this year it’s interesting to see what I was thinking about last year at this time.

In keeping with this new Passover tradition, I offer these four new questions for consideration at our seders next week.

  1. The civil war in Syria has become increasingly bloody and has crept closer to the Israeli border on the Golan Heights. The winter has been full of stray shells falling in Israeli territory, kidnapped UN peacekeepers, and threats from Jihadis that the long-quiet border will end up going the way of Southern Lebanon. Will the coming months see continued escalation and violence on the Golan?
  2. President Obama’s visit to Israel this week has been celebrated, micro-analyzed, debated, and scrutinized from every possible angle. It is certainly a big deal for Israel, and the carefully orchestrated events and messaging are doing their best to portray Bibi and Barack as best pals. Are all this pomp and circumstance and the brotherly love-fest between the two men just a show? Is there really “no daylight” between them on Iran? Or is it all just politics, with the end results being a perpetuation of the distrust between them?
  3. The elections in Israel resulted in a dramatic non-mandate for any one party or ideology. As a result, the negotiations to form a new government were long, drawn out, and contentious. After the grand failure of last year’s broad coalition, should we be optimistic that this government will be able to last until next Passover?
  4. Israel hasn’t made it to the World Cup since 1970 and it doesn’t look that likely at this point given the difficult qualifying group they are in. After a lackluster away draw against Azerbaijan and a lopsided loss at home to Russia, they delivered two wins against lowly Luxembourg to position themselves in second place in the six-team group. This Friday, they face Portugal and all-universe forward Cristiano Ronaldo at home, and continue the campaign next week in Northern Ireland. Can Israel pull off improbable wins and qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil? Here’s hoping the answer is yes.

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