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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The State of Israel Sixty Years Hence - Third Scenario

The State of Israel Sixty Years Hence - Third Scenario
By Shifra Shomron

Third Scenario
The senior citizens among us might still remember the legendary Israeli news reporter Chaim Yavin, and his immortal line "Gentleman, a revolution!" This evening, the State of Israel has certainly been witness to a revolution. For the first time in its one hundred and twenty years of existence, a religious prime minister has been chosen. It's general knowledge by now that the new Prime Minister, Benny Narkis, was born in the town of Sheder Shalom to which many of S'derot's residents voluntarily relocated after enduring twenty seven years of unceasing Kassam rocket bombardment. He attended the religious high-school Etzion for the Young, and continued afterward to the army where he served in the mixed combat units, in which he found his future wife. Following his release from the army, he felt a need to spiritually strengthen himself, and therefore combined his studies at the prestigious Savyon University with evening learning at the Kodesh Midrashiya. Narkis emphatically claims to be neither an extremist nor closed-off. "I grew up among the regular people, salt of the earth. True, I come from a religious family, was educated religiously and consider myself religious. But I view it as an ideal to be as open and accepting as possible. Indeed, due to the large secular emigration from the State and their low birthrate, in the last couple of years we've seen the enlightened religious public integrating more and more into the public services of our country. The citizens of Israel didn't vote for me because I wear a kipa; rather because they saw me as the right man for the job."

It still isn't clear who Narkis will choose to join his coalition. At first glance, it seems as though choosing the religious parties is an obvious step, but according to Narkis' liberal outlook it seems as though he will try to form as wide a coalition as possible. The NU-NRP has conditioned their joining the coalition upon the Prime Minister's signing a document in which he promises to rebuild the settlements of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron which were destroyed sixty three years ago. Also, they demand that the Prime Minister formally annex Judea and Sameria, encourage the emigration of Israeli Arabs, prevent national manifestations of the Thai towns New Banthai and Ma Du Zi, and more. The document is a sprawling seventy pages and includes social, educational and security issues. The Prime Minister hasn't responded yet.

In the meantime, the celebrations continue. "What's the problem, finally someone with a bit of tradition!" rejoiced Avi Dagan from Tel-Aviv. "After the last Prime Minister, Abdul Hasan, anything is preferable. Would you have rather Marwa Pachima got in? I've heard tales about her grandmother that would make your hair stand on end!"

"The important thing is someone who understands the importance of the army," Deputy General Yuri Stern explained his reason for voting for Benny Narkis. "We hear a lot of nonsense that ever since we've signed a peace treaty with the State of Palestine, and gave the Arabs compensations, and sent over economic, construction and agricultural experts - everything is fine and dandy. They forget that without a strong army the Arabs will attack at once. And there are too many citizens who don't enlist - and I'm not just talking about the Hareidi. There's less of a problem with them. For fifteen years now we've had special units for them and whoever isn't suited for studying Gomorrah all day comes to us. No, my problem is with all those that don't enlist for no reason at all - just to have fun. And now we're suddenly hearing about religious pacifists! I ask you, where's the limit?! I'm glad that Benny Narkis got elected - he's got a good army background, and I know that he plans to deal with this issue and strengthen the army.

"The President of America Julie McGaver has invited the new Prime Minister for a visit in the White House. The Prime Minister has announced his intentions of putting a laurel on Jonathon Pollard's grave during his visit, thus marking thirty years to Pollard's dying in prison. Currently, the Heroes-Home student organization is working to collect signatures on a petition demanding that the Prime Minister work to bring Pollard's bones to Israel. "Jonathon Pollard OBM dedicated his life to helping Israel. He was a Jew and he worked to save Jews. He dreamed of being freed from prison and coming to Israel. We didn't manage to achieve that during his life, and the least we can do is bury him in Israel. The thirty years memorial and a religious Prime Minister are two factors that are causing us to increase our efforts," said the head of the Heroes-Home organization, Levi Schalit (24) in a press conference yesterday.

In conclusion, the new Prime Minister has many challenges to face. He is accompanied by the hopes of many, as well as by an alert public that expects to see many changes for the good in the situation of Israel in the near future.

We wish him much success.

Shifra Shomron (21) is a former Gush Katif resident-expellee and the author of Grains Of Sand: The Fall Of Neve Dekalim, (Mazo Publishers, 2007).
Travel beyond time and beyond location - into my Gush Katif
Visit Shifra's website: www.geocities.com/nevedekalim

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RE: third scenario -- seems less plausible because

1)I can't think of a truly religious government anywhere that works or has worked well, and maybe it shouldn't . . . as idyllic as it sounds to a believer or religious person (and I separate the two because I definitely see them as being different), the concept of freedom of choice in terms of religion and political affiliation cannot (or should not, in my opinion) be separated from freedom of choice in lifestyle, drug use, pornography, etc. I am pretty conservative in my beliefs overall but the right that allows me to choose conservative views or Christianity is the same right that allows an atheist or satanic worshiper who is gay and makes gay porn flics to choose as he chooses. Taking away his right to his choices also takes away my right to mine. Unfortunately, very religious leaders would tend toward narrow-mindedness regarding everything that they believe is not "right." Even more unfortunately, I don't believe it is possible for anyone to live in peace with either religious or secular leadership, or with military minded or pacifistic leadership. I guess I don't believe living in peace with those unlike oneself is possible at all. I don't believe there is such a thing as true "tolerance" of "diversity." I don't believe it is possible for human beings to achieve.

2)So far, I haven't known anyone who is a devout believer that does not consider others who believe differently from them to be "wrong" (or "left" to be more PC), some for vehemently than others. It's inherent in religious (or anti-religious) doctrine/education/training. While this scenario depicts a religious leader who is very "tolerant" (to use the PC term of the day), in my experience that doesn't happen, unless one or the other is a ruse. It's a conundrum of sorts. I want leadership that cannot be labeled (religious, secular, liberal, conservative . . .) yet I need a label by which to identify them to me so that I can elect them and choose them by their "platforms" made up of planks of labeling issues! And I tend to choose some planks from one and others from the other platforms. Makes voting very difficult for me.