Monday, November 21, 2011

A Three Act Play called ‘Israel’s Future’

By Tuvia Brodie

A Three Act Play called ‘Israel’s Future’

The proverbial handwriting on the wall predicts the future. The handwriting on the wall today is for Israel’s future, and it appears, so far as we can tell, to be writ as a three-act play. Act one began October, 2010 with a scene that featured Mahmoud Abbas and France’s UN ambassador. It ended during the second week of Nov, 2011 with a scene that featured, among other players, Mahmoud Abbas and France’s President. Act two began the third week of Nov, 2011 and will end approximately the second week of May, 2013, a little more than a hundred days after the next US presidential inauguration. What’s so important about the first hundred days after a US president’s inauguration? For decades, political pundits in America have looked at those first hundred days the way a fortune teller reads tea leaves; and as we know from following political discourse in America, reading tea leaves appears to be fundamental to that discourse. The third Act begins approximately mid-May 2013 and could last forty months, or until the US begins its next presidential election cycle in 2016. During these next five years we will see drama, betrayal and danger. It will be more exciting than a Hollywood cliff-hanger. It will be better than Hollywood because we will not only watch it —we will be part of it. This will be an audience participation drama: we will have a say in determining if there will be an Act Four (or Five or Six), or if the play will end after Act three.

Your admission ticket to this three act play will be the cost of a good siddur (prayer-book).

Act one began with a shocker. Three act plays don’t usually start with a shock. But this play is different. It began with two shocks. First, Mahmoud Abbas threatened to go unilaterally to the UN for statehood. That was a shock because no one expected a move like that. It sounded outrageous. Then the UN ambassador from France announced, ‘the votes are there in the UN, right now’. That was the second shock: the UN, the French ambassador suggested, would support Abbas.

I don’t know if you noticed, but very few people left their seats to go to the bathroom during this first Act. It was full of surprises. The US supported Israel, then threatened to turn against her; the US rescued Israel (with the February 2011 UN veto of a call to brand West bank settlements ‘illegal’); then turned almost viciously against Israel (see America’s UN veto and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu,, March, 2011). Finally, to everyone’s surprise, newspapers began to announce, just before the curtain fell on Act one, that Abbas did not appear to have the UN votes he needed for statehood.

The US and Abbas weren’t the only actors to keep us at the edge of our seats. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had surprises for us, too: he was a victim (of Obama’s anger), then a hero (in the battle against the PA in the UN) and finally a villain (because of continuing demolition of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria). As Act one ended, Abbas and France surprised us with another duet: Abbas threatened violence and chaos if his bid failed at the UN and French president Sarkozy verbally spat upon Prime Minister Netanyahu-- as if two actors had held hands to open and then close Act one.

This was more thrilling than a Harry Potter movie.

Act two is ready to start. Look at your playbill during intermission. There will be additional actors on stage: can you guess their names? Israel’s religious right will appear. Israel’s Left will fight them. Israel’s Leftist courts and civil administration will come under fire. Attacks against Jews and Israelis will increase. We will see elections in multiple countries—and, possibly, Israel. Jews in Judea and Samaria will feel harassed by the IDF and our civil administration. Arabs will attack Jews with a growing sense of impunity. How many surprises will we see?

We learned in Act one how unpredictable history is; who knew that, by mid-November 2011, Abbas would still be powerless? Only the Director-Writer knew. But we can affect the ultimate outcome because everyone in the audience has a 'participant's control device’. If you have been to DisneyWorld, you know the process: as you enter a theatre, you receive a small box with buttons on it so you can vote (at the appropriate moment) to control the course of the drama you will be watching. Well, that’s what a siddur (prayer book) is—your ‘participant’s control device’ to affect the direction of history.

Now please hurry and return to your seat. The curtain is about to rise. Just remember to keep your ‘participant control device’ nearby . You might wish to use it during Act two.

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