The End of the Blue and White Party

In an unbelievable end to the saga of the Israel government stalemate, Benny Gantz, the leader of Blue and White decided to join with Likud in a new unity government and allow Benjamin Netanyahu to continue as the Prime Minister.  This is a stunning development.  It has led to the breaking up of the Blue and White Party.  Yesh Atid led by Yair Lapide, and Moshe Yaalon are angry and disappointed, but they did not have a path to a government with two of the Blue and White members refusing to vote for a Gantz government if it depended on getting the votes of the Arab Party, the Joint List.   Lapide will go into the opposition.  This is less like a unity government than Gantz joining a Netanyahu government.  I think that Gantz did this due to the emergency situation with the virus and the danger of being discredited for not seeking unity at this time.  Bibi has promised him that he would become the Prime Minister in 18 months.  It appears that in this arrangement the Ultra Orthodox will keep their power, but with Gantz’s faction and Labor joining the government is it possible that the power of the Ultra-Orthodox will be less.  I don’t think it is likely. The only possibility Gantz had, and it was a very slim chance, was that he would have stuck to his guns and voted in the new parliament to pass a law that a person could not serve as Prime Minister if under indictment.  Then he would hope that Likud without Bibi would not carry out its threat of no unity government if they did this.   He could then keep have kept Blue and White together.   Gantz decided to not take this chance.  Bibi survives again, the cat of nine lives.  Will he survive his trial for bribery etc.?

I have lived in ambivalence through this whole time.  I saw Bibi as the better candidate re: the Land, the Trump peace plan and annexing the settlements.  Now the settlements have to be taken off the negotiating table with the Palestinians.  Removing the West Bank Israeli cities and towns is no longer possible.  Bibi is stronger on this.  Gantz had qualified his support for the Trump plan as needing international support.  If this was the standard, you could kiss the Trump plan goodbye.  Trump has indicated that Israel can annex the territories of the settlements and the Jordan valley if the Palestinians do not come to the negotiating table.

However, my other issue was the Ultra-Orthodox control and oppression in Israel.  Bibi is in their pocket. If Lapide and Avigdor Liberman of Israel Batainu had been in the government, the power of the Ultra-Orthodox, who bleed the state of needed funds, and who control immigration to the detriment of qualified people, would have ended.  This control will not likely be ended soon.  I voted for Blue and White so they would be large enough so that in coalition with Bibi the Ultra-Orthodox would have to give up power.  I also hoped for equal spending for the Arab Israelis for hospitals, roads,  police and education.  Defunding the Ultra-Orthodox welfare society where men don’t work and only study Talmud all day could be key to this justice.   But this looks like it is not to be at this time.

Well, stay tuned.  We have not heard from Liberman, but he is not needed at this point and will probably go into the opposition.  What will the government be like in 18 months.  Bibi has said, no tricks and he will keep his word.  Time will tell.  It is possible that there are not enough Knesset votes to fund the welfare society of the Ultra-Orthodox. Let’s hope so.

Corona Virus: More Questions & More Political Intrigue in Israel

Some in Israel are questioning the national restrictions to fight the Corona virus.  Are they really based on science or alarm which goes too far?  For example, who is it dangerous for someone to take a walk outside for more than ten minutes if they keep six meters away from those they pass?  How is ten minutes safer with this two meter rule than 30 minutes?  We are allowed to go to the grocery store or to take out stores, other food stores and pharmacies. That is more dangerous than a walk outside.  Some people are required by their health conditions to go for walks. 

Or here is another question.  Why wouldn’t it be more prudent, once there is sufficient testing to know virus location spots, to put the strict restrictions on cities and towns that have the virus and allow those within a town without any cases to have freedom, but to not leave the town except to commute to a safe workspace.  We know where the hot spots are.  There are places with no infections.  Within those enclaves, there could be more freedom.   In the United States, why wouldn’t this work really well for small cities and towns with no cases, rather than restricting the whole country?  In Israel there are places with no infections.  Should they be under the same standards as the areas where there are infected people?

In the midst of all this the political chaos in Israel continues to be even more amazing.  I am asking my Facebook constituents to be praying for us, especially this week.   Here is a little summary.  Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu’s (Bibi) justice minister (Ohana) unilaterally postponed the trial of Bibi until May 24th.  The corona virus was the given reason.  However, many pointed out that at this point the trail would be sharing information and dealing with preliminaries that could have been done safely.  It seems that this will not be challenged in the Supreme court.

The second amazing thing is the speaker of the Knesset (Parliament), Yuli Edelstein, shut down the Knesset.  The virus was given as the reason.  However, most believe that the reason was political.  If the parliament meets, though there is not yet a new executive government with the ongoing stalemate, the Knesset can vote to remove Edelstein and choose a new speaker that is not Likud.  There are probably 61 votes, a one vote majority, to do this.  The big issue then would be to form an arrangements committee.  If the anti-Bibi 61 have require a one vote majority on this committee than they can arrange for laws to be voted on.  The big fear from Bibi and Likud is that they will then arrange the passage of a law stating that an indicted person cannot serve as Prime Minister.  President Reuven Rivlen (Likud) has called on Edelstein to open the Knesset and said democracy is at stake.  The legal advisor to the Knesset has given the same opinion.  Blue and White lead by Benny Gantz says that they will go to the Supereme Court to see that the Knesset is open. Now Edelstein is relenting and says he will open the Knesset on Monday.

In the midst of all this, the Times of Israel says that Gantz is now open to serving in a unity government with Netanyahu leading for either an emergency 6 months or in a three year unity with Bibi serving 18 months, but then having to relinquish leadership to Gantz after that.  This would have to be made law so Bibi could not back out.  However, two of his Blue and White partners, Boggie Yaalon and Yair Lapid, say they are against this, and if Gantz does this, it will break up the party. 

All this is going on in the midst of the virus plague. I think Gantz is seeking to be a stateman and wants the best for Israel in this plague situation.  He is willing to give up his pledge to not serve with an indicted Prime Minister for the sake of Israel’s present need.  Of course, if Bibi is found guilty (who knows how long the trial would take) he would have to step down.

Israel is now in a terrible situation politically and economically.  Sectors of the government can not function without a normal government.   Major sectors of the economy are shut down.  People are in isolation.  Businesses are going out of business and many people do not have back up funds to survive.  We have people in our own congregation who are in very difficult straits.  Meanwhile we, in our connected network, pray for revival.  Do pray much with us!

Israeli Politics and the Coronavirus 

It is most amazing to note that Israel is in the midst of its third political stalemate after inconclusive elections.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, Likud, is already talking about another election!  At the same time, Israel has embraced the most severe restrictions of any country to try to manage the threat of the virus.  The planes are not flying, and the schools will now be closed. Closing the schools will be a terrible trial for working parents!  There are to be no meetings of over 100 people.  The hotels are mostly empty. Israel’s tourism industry is suspended.  The economic consequences are terrible.  All this is happening at the same time as the United States is holding its presidential primaries.  History may note them as the virus primaries. The United States itself is embracing greater and greater restrictions.  Even the National Basketball League has suspended games!!

What is God up to in allowing this terrible situation worldwide? Could revival follow?  Some are praying for this.

It seems amazing that in the midst of such a plague that Israel is in political limbo.  We really need to see our helplessness and our need for God, for we cannot even form a government.  It is not only that the vote failed to put either the Likud or the Blue and White, the two largest parties over the top.  A government could be formed but for the rigid positions taken by some politicians, an amazing stubbornness.  My two favorite Israeli English language newspapers, the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel are in agreement, and I agree with them. Just where are the points of stubbornness?

  1. Benjamin Netanyahu (Bibi) bears responsibility by insisting on remaining the head of his party though under indictment.  The trial procedures begin on March 17th.  There are several things that could be negotiated.  Blue and White would be in a unity government with Likud if not led by Bibi due to the indictment.  They say they will not be in a government led by him due to the indictment. Several solutions could be found.  Likud could choose a new leader and even say that after his trial, if found innocent, Bibi could return to leadership through a new party vote.  Likud could commit to this.
  2. Benjamin Netanyahu insists that all his right-wing partners be included in any government.  This is a non-starter.  This right wing includes the Ultra-Orthodox who have a stranglehold over the government.  I have written many times on how their welfare state within the state is bleeding the government.  They also say that they will not be in a government with Blue and White.  My view on this?  Good.  Let there be a unity government without them.  This would be very helpful.
  3. There are two Blue and White Party members and one Labor-Gesher member who will not allow a government to form through the votes of the Joint List Arab party because the Arabs are not Zionists but want a bi-national state.  This seems really foolish on the part of these three members, since after the vote, Bibi will be gone and there could be a unity government. At any rate, the Joint List will not be part of the government but only give the vote to end Bibi’s reign.  All they are asking is parity in government services spending.  Indeed, this coalition could pass a law that a person under indictment could not serve. 
  4. Blue and White could change their position and accept Bibi in a rotation for Prime Minister with Benny Gantz due to the very bad situation of not being able to form a government and to avoid a fourth election.  It seems dire enough to defend such a change.  They could promise pardon to him for allowing General Gantz of Blue and White to lead the government in the first rotation.  Bibi can lead again if found innocent.  For this to happen, Bibi has to let the Ultra-Orthodox go.  Shas cannot control the interior department.  There has to be a cut in welfare for men to study Talmud and Rabbinic arguments all day! 
  5. The Joint List, including Balad, the more anti-Israel faction, could vote to form the government with Blue and White and accept that only some of their demand can be met since the budget will cannot immediately provide all their demands.  The government can take significant steps. How about a cut in Ultra-Orthodox welfare to finance classrooms, roads, police and hospitals in the Arab areas!  Balad refuses to support a government and has an all or nothing stand.    

There are many possible solutions, but so many are being stubborn.  It is amazing!  And some speak of a fourth election which again would likely be inconsequential. Can Bibi stay in power by having elections forever?    

Meanwhile, the country is in turmoil not only in politically but with the virus.  What a time for us to pray, exercise faith, heal the sick and share the Good News!  What a great time for the Spirit to be poured out. 

The Bizarre Israel Political Situation

On the night of the Israel elections, the exit polls and early counting gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party and the other parties that would join his coalition 60 Knesset (Parliament) members.  It looked like he would be able to flip one vote somewhere to gain the 61 votes necessary to form a government.  With these results, we went to sleep that night.  The next morning Bibi had slipped to 59 and then the next day to 58.  These are now the official results.  The certainty that he would form the next government evaporated.  Amazing! 

Now another new and strange twist is taking place.  With the Arab Joint List Party, the opposition has 62 votes.  They will not form a government together since the centrist Blue and White Party will not join with the Arab Party in a government since they are not Zionists.  However, they are now putting forth the idea that they might vote to pass legislation to preclude Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a government.  Blue and White under General Benny Gantz has said they are willing to form a government with Bibi’s Likud Party but not with him as the leader because he has been indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.  They could pass a law stating that an indicted Prime Minister cannot form a government.  If this happens, it could solve the dilemma for many Messianic Jews.  I will explain.

Messianic Jews in Israel are ardent Zionists.  They like the idea of annexing the towns in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).  They think that Bibi can now do this because the Trump peace plan has been rejected by the Arabs and negotiations are rejected as well.  This opens the door for unilateral annexation.  The right parties are correct that the old two state solution making the ‘67 armistice lines the border is no longer possible.  The Zionist left is not facing reality.  Yes, their rational position of separation and two states is reasonable in that it seeks to keep a large Jewish majority though a separation of populations and the elimination of the many towns except for the larger cities.  They hope that the Palestinian Arabs would accept such a plan but they have proven by the past peace offers that they would.   The Trump plan does this separation but with Israel keeping the West Bank towns and cities.   Some still oppose even the limited state that Trump proposes.  Since the Arabs have rejected the plan some other solution for the West Bank Arabs needs to be found.  Some still wait for them to have citizenship in Jordan and residency in Israel.  This is unlikely in the near future.

Messianic Jews, however, are ambivalent about Bibi for other reasons.  It is that he is fully in bed with the Ultra-Orthodox and especially the Sephardic Shas Party that controls the Interior Department and opposes Messianic Jews.  The Ultra-Orthodox control conversion, weddings and Jewish status issues which makes life very hard for 400,000 Russian Jews who are not accepted as Jewish by Rabbinic law. They make their conversion too hard, and they cannot marry in Israel!  Plus, the Ultra-Orthodox do not serve in the army.  Most of their men do not work.  They receive welfare so they can split hairs on Rabbinic discussions and arguments in the Yeshivas.  This will someday lead to bankrupting the country, and it presently undercuts funds for services and salaries in Israel.

However, if Likud has a new leader who would apply the same policies on the Trump plan and could join with Blue and White, and Liberman’s  Russian Jewish anti-Ultra Orthodox but conservative party, Yisrael Bateinu, then we could see policies that most Messianic Jews would support.   This includes both the issue the Land in Judea and Sumaria, and on the issue of the control of the society by the Ultra-Orthodox.  This is a possibility but not at all certain.

I for one was disappointed by Gantz saying that he supported the Trump plan but would want international support plus support from Jordan and Egypt to implement it.  Well, that would be the end of the plan.  But if Likud leads the next government without Bibi, it could solve the problem.  Bibi’s indictment is not political as he claims.  How do we know this?  Because the indictment comes from his former supporter who did not want to do this, Attorney General Mendelblit.  This Likud conservative did not want to do this, but the evidence forced him into it. Bibi has served his country well, and I believe he would get a pardon from the Knesset if he stepped down before such a law would pass.  This is where things stand this evening.  Amazing! What a saga!


This Monday, March 2st, we will go to the polls to vote for the Parliament (the Knesset) for the third time. Twice we had inconclusive elections, and no coalition could be formed.

Amazingly, after all this, and with his trial set to begin for bribery, it appears that Benjamin Netanyahu is gaining on Benny Gantz and the Blue and White party. It is still my contention that the best government for Israel would be a coalition with Likud and Blue and White. That seems more remote but not impossible. Recent events have been disappointing to me.

First, the leader of the Arab Joint List has made statements that are so extreme that it now may preclude even their support to form a Blue and White government in a parliamentary vote even though they would not be in the government. He has made conditions that require Blue and White to abandon the Gaza defense operations and West Bank anti-terrorist operations. His demands for money for the Arab sector are beyond what Israel can accept (though they deserve much more funding). He has actually empowered Netanyahu.

Another thing that is disappointing is that Benny Gantz has said that he supports the Trump Peace plan but will only move forward on it with international support. If he means more than the U. S., Britain, Brazil, and a few others, then he won’t implement the plan. Bibi is already moving in accord with the United States to apply sovereignty to the areas outlined as being part of Israel in the Trump plan. I think this has lost votes for Gantz and am surprised that the strong conservative, Moshe Yaalon, Bibi’s former defense secretary, did not coach on a better position.

I still believe that we need to have a government where the ultra-Orthodox are less powerful. They are an existential threat to Israel since their population growth in is great, and most of the men do not work and have to be supported by the State. The Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party controls citizenship and precludes important ways forward for some 400,000 Russian Jews and Messianic Jews. The Ultra-Orthodox want to study hair-splitting Talmudic arguments all day and are not productive. This cannot go on, but Bibi’s right-wing government will give them what they want.

We need a lot of prayer. I would like to see a Likud government with Blue and White, may be led by another Likud leader like Gideon Saar. Despite Bibi’s reputation as Mr. Security, I think others in Likud are stronger. In this week’s weekend Jerusalem Post a recent head of the National Security Council in Israel, Uzi Arad, noted as I have said in the past, that Bibi talks strong but acts weak, allowing Hezbollah in Lebanon to re-arm with powerful missiles. He as well not acted strongly enough to deter Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. I do have a sense that God is involved and his providence will eventually work this out.

Israel’s Orthodox Jewish Crisis

When I first came into Jewish ministry (June 1972), I had very little knowledge of Judaism. I had the best of Evangelical Christian education and also studied at a liberal Christian Seminary.  My professors taught about Jewish backgrounds for understanding the New Testament, but not about post-New Testament Judaism. I thought I should study Judaism; how else could I be in Jewish ministry.  I read books on Judaism. Then someone gave me an old copy of the Talmud in English translation by Rodkinson. The Talmud is the primary foundation of Judaism; volumes that define the requirements of Judaism based on the debates in the early Jewish schools, Yeshivot.  It claims to preserve the Oral Law given to Moses. This very inadequate abbreviation of the Talmud in 10 volumes did not have the classical pagination so I could not look up references. Therefore, I took a copy of the Soncino Talmud in English and went through the Talmud page by page in both editions and added the page numbers to Rodkinson. As part of this, I browsed through the Talmud and more carefully read some parts. I was amazed! I concluded at that time that the Talmud could be divided into four evaluation aspects. First was the most incredible level of legalistic extension and minutia in legal requirements that the world had ever seen. This was the dominant bulk of the Talmud.  Secondly, was good wisdom in some applications of the Law. Then there were stories that did sometimes bring out good moral inspiration, and finally some amazing superstitions. I also studied the worship texts of the Jewish people, attended a Jewish college and took a full course on this. This part of Jewish tradition was an accurate reflection about God, his mercy, grace, and redemption based in the Hebrew Bible.  It points to Yeshua. God had not left himself without a witness among our people even after our leaders led us astray in the rejection of Yeshua.  


Recently I decided to again read through the first part of the Talmud, the Mishnah, which was written down about 200 C. E.   I was even more amazed by the arguments and the detailed conclusions by which life is to be regulated in classical Judaism. There were some who were able to relate well to the larger world despite the restrictions Judaism required (Maimonides as a case in point) but the preoccupation with things that are really irrelevant is again amazing.   Some will take issue with me and defend this first aspect of the Talmud. My conclusion is that this aspect of Judaism is the result of our leaders in the first century rejecting Yeshua. In a sense, it is a punishment that locks our people into this very restrictive structure. As Yeshua said, the Pharisees already were teaching as precepts the traditions of men.  (Matthew 15:9). The punishment was God giving our people up to their choice whereby the precepts of men became multiplied into volumes of unbelievably detailed irrelevant material. One cannot read through the Mishnah with a biblically formed mind and heart and think it shows God’s ideal for His people. It is a great departure from the biblical path. 


Orthodox Judaism, the Judaism that seeks to be true to classic Judaism is now established in Israel.  Both Sephardic (Eastern and North African) and Ashkenazic Judaism from Eastern Europe maintained the standards of rigid legalism.  When the Zionist movement began, Jewish religious leaders rejected it. The Orthodox rejected it due to the teaching that we were not to have a state until the Messiah came and led us back to the Land.  Reform Judaism was seeking to break from the Orthodox legal restrictions and be a universal religion. The Zionist nationalism did not fit their desire for Judaism to morph into a universal religion. Only as Zionism succeeded did Orthodox thinkers arise who saw in the re-establishing of Israel a prophetic fulfillment and a foreshadowing of redemption.  Rabbi Abraham Kook led in the establishment, in the 1930s, the formation of a nationalistic modern Orthodoxy that would fully support Zionism and the idea of a state. Modern Nationalist Orthodox today fight in the army, seek to be in the professions and to be interacting with the larger society. Modern Orthodoxy in America, as in Yeshiva University in New York, has the same orientation.  These folks seek to follow Jewish strictures, but in a way that allows for cultural relevance. What is the problem? The problem is that in Israel they are more and more of a minority. Recent statistics indicate that they are not growing. Young people exposed to the larger world can be convinced to leave the world of Orthodoxy. What is growing greatly is the Ultra-Orthodox. The Ultra-Orthodox have displaced the Modern Orthodox in political power in Israel, though most are not Zionist.  The National Orthodox are shrinking in power in comparison. The Ultra-Orthodox lose very few of their children and have large families. Here are some important points.


  1. The Ultra-Orthodox, for the most part, refuse Army service. They claim to be studying Torah and should be exempt.  They mean studying Talmud and Jewish debates on the application of Jewish law (Halakah).  
  2. They reject courses in their schools that could prepare them for the workforce.  Yet the state must pay for these schools.
  3. The men in large numbers do not enter the workforce. Therefore these large Jewish families require enormous expenditures of welfare.  The women work to support the family but at low wages.
  4. A very large number of the Ultra-Orthodox are poor. 


Article after article in the Jewish press, Hebrew and English, claims that the Ultra-Orthodox are an existential threat to Israel.  Why? Because Israel cannot forever support this growing segment of the population that is projected in future decades to be 30% of the Jewish population.  The present government (Netanyahu) does not respond to this threat, but gives in to them, to stay in power. This is very shortsighted. The Ultra-Orthodox passed the 1 million mark in 2018.  Unless they are economically productive, they will destroy the economy. There is nothing in Jewish Law historically that requires a Jewish observance contrary to personal economic responsibility and productivity.  When this battle is finally engaged, it could lead to devastating conflict in Israel. 


The thought comes to me.  Isn’t it amazing that Judaism, as it developed and now is rooted in Israel, is one of the greatest threats to the State of Israel?   And isn’t it amazing that this Judaism grew from out of that ancient Jewish tradition in Talmud that results from the rejection of Yeshua?  It is also amazing that the only answer to the paradoxes of the state of Israel and the secular/Orthodox divide is to look back to where this wrong trajectory was set, back to the first century and to embrace Yeshua.  The continuing rejection of Yeshua has many causes. Anti-Semitism is one. However, before Anti-Semitism from Christians, there was the Jewish rejection of Yeshua. Other Judaism that is not Orthodox and the secular reject Him in part due to their roots in the formation of classical Judaism between 70 and 600 C. E. 

Down the Memory Hole

One of the big differences between the Jewish majority in the United States and the Jewish majority in Israel is how they perceive the Palestinian Arabs. In the United States the majority Jewish leadership, Reform, Conservative and secular are all for a two-state solution. Somehow, they think Israel and the settlements are the problem. The majority of the Israelis believe that the Palestinians have been profoundly dishonest and never had any intention of making real peace with a realistic solution. When they rejected the Clinton-Barak plan and then the Olmert-Bush plan, Israelis drew the conclusion of their insincerity. The last proposal was probably way too generous and gave away too much. Since that time, Israel has turned to right-wing governments and the left has lost almost all its power in Israel. Blue and White is a centrist party with many conservatives.

About 10 days ago, the Palestinian Authority, the supposed moderates passed a resolution declaring that the Jewish people never were even in the Land of Israel. They have no roots here. It has always been Palestinian. This is even beyond the claim that the Temple Mount is not the Temple Mount. So where was the Jewish War with Rome fought? In Spain? What happens to Josephus the historian and Roman historians or other records. History to the P. A. means nothing. Can we in any way believe that if the P. A. will put out such position papers that they have any real intention of a real and lasting peace with the Jewish state? Then they name their squares and streets after terrorists and pay terrorist families high incomes. Israelis mostly believe that a Palestinian state will be a terrorist state as a base to attack Israel. When one lives in Israel, one has access to so much more information on the situation. It is quite clear to me that the Israeli position is the right one!! George Orwell wrote about the Communists simply making up history and putting real historical records down a hole to be destroyed since it was not germane to their communist goals. The Palestinians have a huge memory hole!

The Prime Minister Indicted, What Now?  

This is an update on the very painful situation in Israel.  After two elections due to the rigid stand of Prime Minister Netanyahu who wants to keep the ultra-Orthodox in his corner, there is no government.  Now there are 21 days for any Knesset (Parliament) Member to gain 61 votes to form a government. But on top of all this, Prime Minister Netanyahu, the longest-serving Prime Minister ever, is under indictment for fraud and bribery.  It is not worthwhile for me to recount the case. Readers can easily use their search engine to find out. It does seem credible to me though he is innocent until proven guilty. But the general consensus is that though not legally required a Prime Minister should step down, concentrate on his defense and not weigh down the state.  Instead, the Prime Minister doubles down, accuses the police of being corrupt in their pursuit of the evidence, the lead prosecutor as a leftist, and the conservative Orthodox Jewish Attorney General as being weak and pressured. He was appointed by Benjamin Netanyahu. 


I do believe that another Likud leader (Netanyahu’s conservative party) could pick another good leader to form a government with Blue and White.  But only one prominent member has called for new Likud Party primaries to pick someone, Gideon Saar, who by all accounts would be a capable leader.  I think that the longer it goes on the weaker Israel becomes. He could step down and gain a commitment from Likud to run again if cleared. This is a nightmare.  I have already noted that the ultra-Orthodox bring tyranny to the government and oppress Messianic Jews and Russian Jews who cannot prove their Jewishness by ultra-Orthodox standards.  It really is time for a change and for a government without the Ultra-Orthodox.

Israeli Elections

The Israel election looks like a stalemate but it really is not. I will make a prediction. First, as I noted in an earlier post, the basic issue was that the ultra-Orthodox pushed so hard to expand their power and control in society and no work and service to the country, that Lieberman campaigned against them being in the government. Had they not been too demanding, Bibi would have been home free.

The ultra-orthodox say that they will not be in a government with Yair Lapid. Lieberman says he will not be in a government with the Ultra-Orthodox. So this makes it impossible for Netanyahu to form a government of the right. He only has 56 votes and needs 61 in the Knesset. So he needs to form a government with the centrist Blue and White. But they refuse to join with Likud if it is led by the likely to be indicted Netanyahu.

Confused yet? Netanyahu rails against the idea of a government that depends on the Arab party, the Joint List, for sufficient votes to gain over 61.

Yes, if Gantz and Lapid have the votes of Lieberman and the left parties plus the Arab party, they will have 64 votes. That is enough though the Arabs won’t sit in his cabinet. So Netanyahu tries to scare people that depending on Arab votes is a disaster and a deep danger. Again, he demeans the Arab Israelis. He is wrong.

Are you confused yet? I hope you can follow this.

Here is a way forward. Gantz and Lapid say they want a government with Likud and without Netanyahu. But if Likud does not replace him, then they will have to depend on the left and the Arabs. It will be Netanyahu’s Likud’s fault. Netanyahu is wrong and this is not so dangerous because the Arabs will not be in the cabinet. Secondly, the Knesset has to pass legislation and the centrist Blue and White and right parties will have the votes to keep things on the right in policy. Once Netanyahu is replaced, Likud can be invited to join the government later.

So here is my prediction. If Gantz and Lapid do not change their stand toward Netanyahu, they will form a government through the votes of the Left Zionist parties and the Arabs. Even Netanyahu reached out to the left to join him but they refused so that is not so unusual. My prediction is that the Netanyahu era is over. But this can change. Blue and White with Likud could be a good government; address housing, costs of living, security, and greater liberty for Russian Jews, their marriages, and better for Messianic Jews without the Ultra-Orthodox.

Demonizing those who Disagree

I mentioned in my most recent post that General James Mattis wrote an article on the dangers of tribalism and a type of tribal warfare in America.  Then more recently Carol Roth, a centrist and independent politically, wrote a very strong article expanding on the same theme. It is not that we disagree but that the other side is the enemy and evil.  It is not just the loss of real tolerance and respectful speech. Politics is now elevated to religious fervor since for many this is the central meaning to life. 


The primary reason I see for this is the breakdown of the moral consensus of society that was based on the Judeo-Christian Biblical ethic and the importance of biblical faith in some way as a foundation to the society.  Even civil religion had its benefits as part of this consensus, though of course, people were not saved by it! Mattis and Roth missed a central issue. When one half of the population believes that killing children in the womb is murder and the other half believes it is a right without which women are not respected, we have such a real division that it is challenging to not demonize the other and both sides do.  The pro-choice position is heinous to me, but I still must speak to such people with love and not hate. The loss of faith among many of the pro-choice people does not provide an ethical foundation to treat pro-life people other than as an enemy seeking to destroy women’s rights and freedom. The lawyer for the attacker against Judge Kavanaugh attacked him and others who are more pro-life as misogynists, though the Pro-life movement was mostly women!  You can see the polarizing narrative creation.  


We see this with issue after issue. On one side are the radical Green deal people who say the world will end soon unless we do radical things that will bring millions into poverty.  The other side has doubts and quotes reputable scientists who are in the minority who point to other than human causes for warming and that the danger is exaggerated. Some believe if the human cause is important a more gradual approach is warranted that really does not destroy the lives of people.  For those on the Green new deal side, the others are the enemy, hated and vilified.   


Also on the immigration sides, those who want controlled borders are called racists though they profess to believe in inviting all races but legally.  The level of vilification is terrible, and our Presidents rhetoric does not help. On the other hand, some want blacklists of donors and to “out” Trump supporters for shunning and protest.  The people are not engaging in reasoned debate but on the campus and in many locales, the response is bullying, shaming, and rage. I do think that the left is mostly to blame but there is plenty on the right as well.


Think about the LGBT movement.  They do not want to just have civil rights but to destroy all that does not support their immoral position.  This includes Christian Athletes in Action, to the Salvation Army! So they try to shut down the leading Chicken franchise and ban it from airports and universities. 


Bill O’Reilly gives an example of a professor who wrote a book on racists.  Every white person who believes he is not a racist proves he is a racist by denying it.  And if one admits it, then one is a racist too, of course. Therefore, it is a sin that can never be overcome.  It is a total trap and a logical error. This kind of rhetoric can lead to race wars. Yet the left does not speak of the murder rate of black on black and care about a solution for the horror.  It is the fostering of hatred for whites and many whites on the left go along with it. 


The break down in Israel is similar.  Our Prime Minister calls his major opponents in the Blue and White party leftists.  But they believe in strong defense, security and are pro free enterprise. In most countries, they would be moderate conservatives.  They just do not want to be in a government with the Prime Minister who may soon be indicted or yield to the power of the Ultra-Orthodox.   The charges are so extreme. The Ultra-Orthodox make statements vilifying the secular as evil and seeks a controlling interest in the next government.  The secular vilifies them back. I have longed for a societal consensus in Israel based on belief in God, belief in traditional morality and a more flexible but positive approach to tradition than the rigidity of the Orthodox.  Not much chance of that with Israel’s own LGBT radicals and very liberal abortion policies!


So western societies are breaking down into a kind of tribal warfare.  

Again there are two reasons; first loss of the fear of God and a consensus on ethics and morals based on that.  With that breakdown, a loss on both sides of a commitment to treat one another with respect. I could at least hope that those who profess to follow Yeshua would lead the way in respectful loving speech when they address their concerns.