As I write this piece, the new government is being confirmed by the Israeli Knesset. For a change, most people I know are are optimistic that the new government may actually accomplish some good. The Haredim have been running around claiming that the government being formed is "based on sin".The Haredim further contend that this new government "anti-semitic"– because Lapid opposed having any Haredim as part of the government. It's true that Lapid did not want the Haredim included. However, neither did most of the population– not because anyone hates them– simply because our current social economic trajectory was not sustainable. When the statistics came out that there the majority of First graders in this country were either Haredi and Arab, it was clear to everyone that our long-term future could not sustain having a large and growing rapidly (haredi sector) receive an ever larger part of the public pie without contributing and being part of the state.
For those who lament the power of the Israeli right, in general, and the power of Habayit Hayehudi, let by Naftali Bennet, in particular, I say while I share some of your concerns, history has shown that we can not deal simultaneously with the making peace, and working to change the state's relationship with the Haredim. What has also become clear is that we cannot wait for peace before bringing about these crucial internal changes. If there ever was a time during which the Middle East was less ready for peace, it is at the moment. Our two strongest neighbors are engulfed in internal problems– one in the region's bloodiest Civil War and the second in an ongoing political religious, economic drama (with no end in sight.) Yes, we need peace– and we almost always try strongly to achieve it. However, we have a unique opportunity to deal with Zionism's second biggest threat. Hopefully the new government will succeed in bringing about those desperately needed changes.
This week marks the second anniversary of the start of the Syrian Civil War. We have become almost fully inoculated from realizing just how bloody and deadly it has been. Estimates are that 100,000 people have been killed. There are over 1 million refugees, and if the war was to stop tomorrow (something that is very unlikely) it would cost $42 billion to rebuild the country. The rebels are slowly, (but surely) gaining on Assad. Their progress has been very slow, and Assad has shown no sign of giving up. So the killing goes on.