Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s persistence and determination finally paid off after five tries in three years. Israel, the Jewish People, and Democracy are the real winners. It was a long and arduous road getting to this point, full of bumps and potholes. It was an obstacle course. Even after being sworn in, Bibi had to suffer Yair Lapid’s disgraceful final act of lack of civility in not offering a handshake. We Jews have to be a light unto the Nation. Lapid’s lack of respect does not help the extreme polarization in the world. The Left constantly criticizes the Right for being non-Democratic. Yet when the Right wins in a totally Democratic fashion, the Left fails to shake the hand of the Democratically-elected Prime Minister.
This is not the first time that the Left has acted inappropriately. Israel will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It is a testimony to the indomitable Jewish spirit that one of the strongest and most Right-Wing coalitions have been cobbled together this particular year. Israel is fast approaching the 80 years of the “Golden Age” of the reigns of King David and King Solomon combined. The present government would make both proud. It has been a struggle. Future generations can look back at this moment as a turning point.
The past has been checkered with all kinds of missed opportunities and outright mistakes. I only mention some of these so they are not repeated. Israel is a miracle and has grown to be a world leader. Modern Israel is a fulfillment of the prophecies of old. This is clear to anyone who can see.
The Religious Zionists were the first to make Aliyah to Israel. Five hundred students of the Vilna Gaon went to Israel between 1808 and 1812. A large wave of mostly Religious Jews came to Israel in 1881 after pogroms and persecution in the Ukraine. Although Religious Zionists led the way, secular Zionists brought Israel into existence in 1948. The Religious Zionists have finally attained a position in the government that is well deserved and long overdue. Ultimately, the future of Israel rests with those who observe the Torah and its commandments.
The Altalena catastrophe almost split Israel in two. It was only because Menachem Begin was such a visionary and leader that Israel remained united. He prevented a civil war.
After the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel annexed Jerusalem but could have annexed all of Judea and Samaria. It failed to do so. It was easier to do so then than now. Sovereignty should have been achieved in Judea and Samaria during the Trump presidency. This should have happened but did not. I know it was really close to happening. To this day, I am not sure why it did not take place. It has to be one of the top priorities of the new government.
After 1967, General Moshe Dayan made the mistake of handing control over the Temple Mount to the waqf. Even the Arabs were surprised by this move. It has been a continuing source of problems for Israel ever since. Rabbi Shlomo Goren of Blessed Memory was prepared to hold services there from the moment it was captured. I personally asked Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount. He did not say “no” to me. Jews should be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.
In 1988, General Ariel Sharon moved into his apartment in the so called “Muslim Quarter.” This area should rightfully be called the Old Jewish Quarter since the majority of people in this area were Jews until 1936. Although Ateret Cohanim has done an amazing job in bringing back the Jewishness to this part of the Old City over the past 40 years , the Jewish world could be doing so much more. I have worked on this project since 1985 and am extremely proud of this work. It has been a great privilege.
The Oslo Accords signed in 1993 caused the deaths of thousands. It has been one of Israel’s greatest mistakes. Unfortunately, it continues to be a thorn in Israel’s side. Those working for a Two-State Solution are only perpetuating all of the errors of this process. It would lead to a terror state, similar to Gaza controlled by Hamas. Indeed, the Oslo Process led to the expulsion from Gush Katif in 2005, which gave Hamas a free hand to carry out its deadly attacks against Israel. Until Hamas is neutralized, Israel will not be able to achieve the peace it deserves. I fully expect the new government to once and for all put an end to Hamas and its proxies like Islamic Jihad. Obviously, taking care of business in Iran would be a major first step.
The new government of Israel has its work cut out. It is a daunting task but definitely achievable. I wish them tremendous success.
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.