Published in The Jerusalem Post, September 25, 2020; and in Israel Hayom, September 27, 2020.
A political quiz for the new year. Which of the following political, security and economic events will occur this year? Calculate what Israeli and Jewish future you need to be prepared for.
Before embarking on the long Yom Kippur weekend and Succot lockdown, take this quiz and calculate the 5781 political future you need to pray about. My answers are at the bottom of the article.
I. Which of the following political, security and economic events will occur this year?
- Israel’s national (dis)unity government will collapse in March, with new elections held in June.
- The next government will introduce an austerity budget with massive new taxes and big spending cuts, to pay for coronavirus spending and budget deficits.
- The IDF will mount a massive ground operation to cut Hamas and Islamic Jihad down to size.
- After a bloody succession struggle, Mahmoud Abbas will be replaced by Mohammed Dahlan as Palestinian Authority president, backed by the UAE and the Saudis.
- Donald Trump will be reelected president of the United States
- All members of the anti-Israel “squad” (Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib) will be re-elected to Congress.
- All of the above.
II. Which of the following scenarios will play-out in the Jerusalem District Court?
- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial will open but immediately descend into months of sidebar wrangling over legal technicalities, as Netanyahu’s lawyers seek to endlessly draw-out the proceedings.
- The trial will never take place, because Netanyahu will fire Attorney General Mandleblit, and his replacement will cut a soft plea bargain deal with Netanyahu whereby the prime minister admits only to misdemeanors and therefore he can stand for reelection.
- The Israeli Supreme Court intervenes with another of its arbitrary, precedent-setting rulings which determines that Netanyahu must recuse himself from the prime ministership while on actual trial.
- The trial comes to an abrupt, unfinished end in summer 2021 when the Knesset elects Netanyahu as President of Israel, and he thereby acquires absolute immunity from prosecution for a seven-year term in office.
III. What will be included in the Israeli government’s next round of corona lockdown restrictions?
- Closure of all pet shops, bakeries, lingerie stores, and dry cleaners.
- Banning of all weddings in the Arab and haredi sectors, until next Passover.
- No demonstrations allowed unless they are demonstrations against demonstrations, and/or in support of a second season of the “Tehran” television series.
- Prohibition against sleeping inside houses on the Feast of Tabernacles, but rather only in open-air Succot booths.
- Imprisonment for two months of all quarantine violators and returnees from Uman in Saharonim in the Negev (a facility that was built to hold illegal African migrants but is now empty).
IV. When will the coronavirus pandemic come to an end?
- Next summer, when an Israeli-American team ingeniously produces and globally distributes an effective, broad-spectrum vaccine. (The Turks, Iranians and Palestinians will be the last to get the vaccine).
- Not until summer 2023, because vaccine trials prove problematic, and virus outbreaks continue to come in waves around the world while the public flaunts lockdown restrictions.
- Better treatment protocols and drugs will lead to steep declines in global fatality rates over 2021. But fear of viruses will persist, meaning that “normal life” (with widespread international travel for leisure and business, packed amusement parks and concert halls, dormitory life on university campuses, etc.) will not be coming back anytime soon.
V. If Trump is re-elected, what will happen next with the American Mideast peace plan?
- Oman, Morocco, Sudan and then Saudi Arabia will announce normalization of their ties to Israel.
- All 22 Arab League counties will sue for peace with Israel. Iran completely will dismantle its nuclear program.
- The administration will give Israel a “green light” to unilaterally extend its sovereignty to the broad Jerusalem envelope, Jordan Valley, and settlement blocks.
- The Palestinians will sign a “treaty of protection” with Turkey and Iran.
- Freed from electoral constraints, Trump will cut soft deals with Iran, China, and Russia to prove that he is huge global peacemaker; and he will ignore the Arab-Israeli arena.
- Not answer b.
VI. If Joe Biden is elected as president of the US, replacing Trump, which of the following will happen?
- The P5+1 and Iran will resume negotiations, where once again Iran will fleece the West while blissfully and not-so-secretly advancing towards a nuclear weapon.
- Iran will test-detonate its first nuclear weapon during the early months of Biden’s presidency. In response, Biden will bomb the hell out of Iran, decapitating the Islamic Republic’s leadership ranks and all known military and nuclear sites.
- The administration will spark a renewed feud with Israel over home construction in West Bank settlements, while renewing aid to the Palestinian Authority to give Palestinians a “diplomatic horizon.”
- Biden will mostly ignore the Mideast and other interminable foreign policy hotspots, and instead concentrate on fighting the coronavirus and rehabilitating the US economy.
VII. When will the Tokyo Olympics be held?
- In July-August 2021, as announced, after having been postponed from this year. The Israeli baseball team will win a gold medal.
- Not until summer 2022, and even then, all athletes will have to wear protective masks while performing and competing.
- The Tokyo Olympics will be cancelled all-together because of lingering coronavirus concerns.
VIII. What will be the best books to read in 5781?
- Benjamin Netanyahu’s memoirs about his longest-ever tenure as prime minister of Israel.
- The memoirs of ambassadors Dan Shapiro and Ron Dermer about US-Israel relations during the Obama presidency.
- Jared Kushner’s book about the one-term/first-term Trump presidency.
- Rabbi Uriel Eitam’s expected book on Shabbat as the ultimate path to repair of the ruptures in our world stemming from primordial sin in the Garden of Eden.
- Prof. Yuval Noah Harari’s next book deconstructing all codes of morality, sexuality, family, community, nationality, and accepted codes of decency.
IX. Who will be Israel’s prime minister ten years from now?
- Ayelet Shaked
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- Naftali Bennett
- Ron Huldai
- Ronni Gamzu
- Yaakov Litzman
- Yossi Cohen
- Yuli Edelstein
MY ANSWERS: I.7, II.4, III.5, IV.1 (hopefully), V.6, VI.4, VII.3, VIII.4, IX.1.