In the last few days, I have been asked the same question, 1,000 times: “What’s going to be with our beloved Israel?” and my answer has always been the same: “The future is bright! Things are going to be great, and I am not worried at all.” One second – not worried about the protests? Not worried about the hatred in the eyes of the Left? Not worried about the lack of unity among the people? No, no, and again, no! I am not worried, and let me explain why.
After the Rabin assassination, there was real dissention and hatred. Religious Jews were assaulted across the country, and we were all blamed for his murder. I was working in Tel Aviv at the time, and it was not pretty. People spat at me and yelled obscenities. I did not fear for my life (it helps to be 6’2” and close to 300 pounds!), but I did fear for the future of my nation. For the first time, I saw a real division in Israel, and I was concerned about how this would play out. Shimon Peres became the Prime Minister, and he fanned the flames of division and separation. He spoke about Israelis vs. Jews (What??) and kept pushing the button of shame and blame on every right-wing and religious person in the country.
“We want peace,” he used to say, “while they want violence and war.” Less than a year after the assassination, elections were held in Israel and all polls had Peres winning a decisive victory over Netanyahu. As a matter of fact, as Election Day ended, even the exit polls had Peres winning! I went to sleep that night with the depressed thought that Shimon Peres just won the election. But when I woke up a few hours later, it was announced that a miracle had taken place: Netanyahu won the election by less than half of a percent!!
How did that happen? Weren’t we the bad guys?? Didn’t the nation hate the religious, the settlers, and those loyal to the land? The last poll by Minah Tzemach – considered the expert pollster in Israel – had Peres winning by seven points! Nobody flips seven points in one day; so how did it happen? The answer is one word: Hashem.
Bibi is no tzadik – not at all; but when compared to Peres, it’s night and day. A leading news reporter asked Peres what happened, and his answer said it all: “The Israelis lost and the Jews won” – nothing more needs to be added.
What do these events – from 1995 and 1996 – have to do with today? Simple: It’s the same fight all over again. Judicial reform was just the cover; it has nothing to do with that anymore. An excellent article was just written by Liel Leibovitz, entitled “A Jewish State or a State of the Jews – Zionism’s Moment of Decision.” Allow me to quote a few lines from that important essay:
“Israelis aren’t arguing about politics anymore. They are fighting about the future, not only of Israel but of Zionism, the miraculous movement that, in the span of one century, freed the Jews from their respective houses of bondage, returned them to their indigenous homeland, taught them the spells of sovereignty, and powered their miniscule nation’s growth from embattled weakling to global powerhouse… It’s a fight that isn’t going to end quickly, or with anything remotely resembling a compromise, because it’s about a question so central, even the brave and prescient founders of the country avoided answering it. Israelis must now decide if they want a state for Jews, or a Jewish state.”
I agree with Leibovitz, and that’s why I am not worried, because just as the country made the right decision in 1996, we will make it again! Hashem will simply not let the Ehud Baraks and Yair Lapids of the world take away the greatest gift He has given His people in 2,000 years! Will it be a fight and a struggle to win this battle – the fight for the heart and soul of our nation? Yes, it will. It won’t come easy, but in the end, those loyal to the King will win because once the final redemption has begun, it will not end.
One final point: The next time you see a picture in the newspaper or on social media of settlers in Yitzhar, Efrat, or from the Golan Heights, take a close look at their faces. They are always smiling! Then, look at the faces of those who are advocating “freedom” and “democracy” – they are always angry and upset. And do you know why? Because they know they are fighting a losing battle. They don’t even want to live here – their dreams are elsewhere. But since that can’t happen, they fight for the chance at making Israel a Hebrew-speaking Portugal. Deep down, they know this will never happen, and so, eventually, they will run out of gas.
Compare this to families from Itamar and Bat Ayin. They risk their lives every day. They battle real and violent neighbors who try stealing their land and killing their children, but they live with emunah and bitachon and purpose. They are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, and therefore will never run out of gas! The gift they have been given – to build and defend the land – is appreciated and desired. This is why these holy Yidden, and those with a similar ideology and vision in cities across Eretz Yisrael, will ultimately win and make sure that Israel will be the Jewish State it was destined to be!
Be happy, my friends: The future is bright. Come join us as we begin year 76! It’s going to be a great ride!
Am Yisrael Chai!