Israel has returned its most divisive but most popular politician to its highest office. Voters decided that Benjamin Netanyahu, with all his personality defects that caused this to be the fifth national election in three years, was less dangerous to national security than his chief rival, popular writer and talk show host Yair Lapid.
Lapid recently told the United Nations in English what he never uttered in Hebrew back in Israel, that Israel should work toward a two-state solution of its conflict with Palestinians. A majority of voters decided this was one step too far. Even the Left in Israel has come to realize that Palestinian leadership has rejected this solution and that every past Israeli attempt to trade land for peace has brought only more terror against Israeli civilians.
As one Israeli political scientist has put it, Israelis realize that politics is the art of the possible, not a court for morality. Netanyahu’s rivals never brought up his ongoing corruption imbroglio because it was old news that divides voters down the middle, with the Right considering it elitist persecution of one of their own.
What is the current state of Israel? Both its society and politics? And what about its messianic Jewish community?
My wife and I just returned from nearly two weeks there. It was my nineteenth trip. I asked these questions of Jews and Palestinians from north to south. Here is what I found.