Which of the following political, security, and domestic events can be expected this coming year? Take this quiz and calculate what Israeli and Jewish future you need to be prepared for.
Published in The Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2021. Print-friendly copy
Coming off our hot summer, and before settling into the High Holiday season (hopefully without coronavirus lockdowns), take this quiz and calculate the 5782 political future you need to pray about. My answers are at the bottom of the article.
1. Which of the following political and security events can be expected this year?
a. The Bennett-Lapid government will fail to pass a budget by November 4 and automatically collapse.
b. The government will persevere and serve-on beyond the planned rotation of Yair Lapid into the prime minister’s office in September 2023.
c. Binyamin Netanyahu will bow-out of Israeli politics, and the Likud will split into rival factions.
d. No new Qatari funding arrangement satisfies Hamas; missile fire into Israel resumes; and the IDF mounts a massive ground operation to cut Hamas and Islamic Jihad down to size.
e. Mahmoud Abbas will be overthrown by one or more of the following Fatah leaders: Hussein al-Sheikh, Jibril Rajoub, Mahmoud al-Aloul, Majid Faraj, Marwan Barghouti, and Mohammed Dahlan, but his ouster/resignation eventually will lead to Hamas dominance in the West Bank.
f. Donald Trump will be indicted/convicted on criminal charges of tax evasion and be unable to run again for President.
g. All the above, except a.
2. Which of the following domestic developments can be expected this year?
a. Passage of Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana’s reforms of the kashrut and conversion systems.
b. Swift exit of haredi yeshiva boys to academia and the working world, following lowering of the draft exemption age from 24 to 21 years.
c. Massive campaign by the Israel Police and General Security Service to confiscate the tens of thousands of unlicensed weapons in Israeli Arab communities.
d. Prices of fruits and vegetables will drop dramatically as agricultural import tariffs are reduced.
e. Public and peaceful Jewish prayer quorums formally will be allowed on the Temple Mount.
f. The investigation committee will enforce a complete overhaul of the pilgrimage site in Meron before next Lag BaOmer, and recommend criminal charges against leaders of the haredi community and the police.
g. Alas, none of the above.
3. What will be included in the Israeli government’s next round of corona lockdown restrictions?
a. Closure of all pet shops, bakeries, toy stores, and dry cleaners.
b. Banning of all weddings in the Arab and haredi sectors, until next summer.
c. No international travel allowed at all, except to conferences abroad related to fighting antisemitism.
d. Prohibition against sleeping inside houses on the Feast of Tabernacles, but rather only in open-air Succot booths.
e. One month’s quarantine in Saharonim (a Negev facility built to hold illegal African migrants but is now empty) for all Breslov pilgrims traveling to Uman for Rosh Hashana.
4. When will the coronavirus pandemic come to an end?
a. Next summer, when an Israeli-American team ingeniously produces and globally distributes a broad-spectrum vaccine against all known variants. (The Turks, Iranians, and Afghanis will be the last to get it.)
b. Not until summer 2023, because virus outbreaks continue to come in waves around the world while the public flaunts lockdown restrictions.
c. Better treatment protocols and drugs will lead to steep declines in global fatality rates over 2022. 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.
5. Which of the following Mideast developments can be expected?
a. Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia will announce normalization of their ties to Israel.
b. All 22 Arab League counties will sue for peace with Israel. Iran completely will dismantle its nuclear program.
c. The Palestinian Authority will sign a “treaty of protection” with Turkey and Iran.
d. After Afghanistan, Iraq will fall to Islamist forces backed by Iran.
e. 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.
f. After the debacle in Afghanistan, President Biden redirects US resources and energies into tough and winnable strategies against Iran and China.
g. Iran will test-detonate its first nuclear weapon, and in response Biden bombs the hell out of Iran, decapitating the Islamic Republic’s leadership ranks and all known military and nuclear sites.
6. Which of the following developments in Israel-Diaspora relations is most likely?
a. World Jewish Congress president Ron Lauder will publish yet another op-ed article ridiculously warning that “capitulation to Ultra-Orthodox parties in Israel and the settlers” are the reasons why young American Jews are distancing themselves from Israel.
b. The Bennett-Lapid government will refurbish and expand the egalitarian prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem; thousands of Reform and Conservative Jews will pray there three times daily; and peace will come to Israel-Diaspora ties.
c. American Jewish leadership will draw the inevitable conclusions from the recent Pew report and other survey data that only halachic lifestyle (the framework of traditional Jewish law, including Shabbat and kashrut observance) successfully maintains Jewish identity and affiliation for the long term; not funky Friday night Jewish fraternity parties, not groovy Jewish summer camps, and not outreach to interfaith and intermarried couples.
d. Ultra-Orthodox leaders in Israel will realize that violent demonstrations against archaeological digs, higher education, and the military draft, and even against the light-rail in Jerusalem – constitute Hilul Hashem (a desecration of G-d’s name) and do not advance the cause of Jewish faith or unity.
7. What will be the best political books to read in 5782?
a. Benjamin Netanyahu’s memoirs about his longest-ever tenure as prime minister of Israel.
b. The diaries of ambassadors Dan Shapiro and Ron Dermer about US-Israel relations during the Obama and Trump presidencies.
c. Jared Kushner’s book about the Trump presidency.
d. Angela Merkel’s caustic memoir of transatlantic relations over the past 20 years.
e. Vladimir Putin’s self-aggrandizing autobiography.
f. Daniel Silva’s “The Cellist,” the 21st book in the series featuring Israeli spy and art restorer Gabriel Allon.
8. Who will be Israel’s prime minister ten years from now?
a. Amichai Shikli
b. Benjamin Netanyahu
c. Mansour Abbas
d. Merav Michaeli
e. Naftali Bennett
f. Nir Barkat
g. Yair Lapid
h. Yossi Cohen
MY ANSWERS: 1g, 2g, 3e (I wish), 4c, 5d+e, 6a, 7f, 8h.