I ran into former New York Governor George Pataki the other day, and I thought to myself how close Congressman Lee Zeldin came to duplicating the feat that Mr. Pataki pulled off in 1994. Actually, Zeldin got more votes than Governor Pataki (2,703,401 vs. 2,538,702) but still lost. By amassing so many votes, he brought in four new Republican Congressmen to New York State. It helped the Republican Party claim the majority in the House.

Although many factors can be blamed for a lack of a robust red wave, the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe vs. Wade on June 24 and its initial leak on May 3 contributed the most. Given the runaway inflation and the crime wave that plagued America, by most accounts, there should have been a better outcome for Republicans across the board. It did not materialize. In contrast, Israel’s election produced a solid right-wing government. The main factor that swayed Israeli voters was the significant uptick in terrorist incidents. There were over 280 terrorist attacks in 2022, with 254 occurring in September alone, close to the election. There were also 1100 rockets fired by Islamic Jihad in August. Over 50% of Arabs in Israel wanted and supported an armed confrontation with Israel.
Although both the American and Israeli elections occupied a large media space in 2022, the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, with the rising death toll on both sides, was the main story of 2022. Unfortunately, it does not appear that an end is in sight at this time. The Russian-Iranian alliance has only deepened. The chance of attack from Belarus into Kyiv is increasing. The war seems to be escalating.
On September 16, protests began in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody. The protests are continuing with higher-profile individuals joining daily. Over 550 people have been killed thus far. There is a real chance that the current regime will be overthrown.
North Korea continues to sow fear and dread with the launch of at least 88 ballistic missiles this year. On one day alone (November 2), North Korea fired 25 missiles of various kinds. Later that month, North Korea launched its second ICBM, which covered 620 miles and reached an altitude of 3700 miles. This one could reach the United States if fired from a different angle.
China has continued to ratchet up its threats against Taiwan. It is looking very carefully at the Russian/Ukraine situation.

The border crisis at America’s southern border is about to get worse, as Title 42 is about to expire on December 21. Over 2 million people entered the United States from Mexico in 2022. That number will balloon if Title 42 is allowed to expire.
Although the deaths from Covid-19 have decreased from 2020 and 2021, Covid-19 is still the third-leading cause of death in America after heart disease and cancer. In January 2022, 73,000 Americans died from the initial Omicron wave. Despite President Biden’s statement in September on 60 Minutes that “the Pandemic is over,” it is still a major illness to be reckoned with.
Overall, 2022 was better than 2020 and 2021, with Covid restrictions being lifted and people able to travel freely again, but society has a long way to go to confront all of the challenges on the world stage that I outlined. Hopefully, we will indeed overcome.

Dr. Joe Frager is Chairman of the Israel Advocacy Commission for the Rabbinical Alliance of America; Chairman of the Executive Committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim; Dean at Kollel Ayshel Avraham; Executive Vice President of the Israel Heritage Foundation; and a physician in practice for 41 years.