Take this Rosh Hashanah political-security quiz and prognosticate on the future for the Jewish new year. (My predictions are recorded at the bottom of the article.)
1. Which of the following political developments events can be expected this year?
a. A US-Saudi-Israeli diplomatic deal, bringing an end to 100 years of Arab-Israeli conflict. Oman and Indonesia will normalize relations with Israel too.
b. Compromise proposals on judicial reform between the government and opposition that pass Supreme Court muster too.
c. A plea-bargain agreement for minor misdemeanors between Binyamin Netanyahu and the State Prosecution, ending the Netanyahu trials.
d. Netanyahu will triumphantly bow-out of Israeli politics, after proving himself as Israel’s greatest peacemaker and feeling vindicated by the feeble end to his trials – allowing formation of a broad centrist coalition government.
e. All the above. And the messiah will come too.
f. None of the above.
2. Who will lead Likud in a post-Netanyahu era?
a. Yisrael Katz
b. Nir Barkat
c. Tally Gotliv
d. Yariv Levin
e. None of the above. Likud will splinter into two or more factions, and it will take the right-wing a decade to recover from mistakes of the past year and Netanyahu’s divisive leadership style.
3. The top political slogan of the year will be:
b. The Supreme (Court) reigns supreme!
c. The Nation is sovereign!
d. Share the burden, or no (military) service for me!
e. Unity now!
f. Love your neighbor as yourself!
4. Which of the following security developments events can be expected this coming year?
a. 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, or Mohammed Dahlan.
b. The IDF will mount a significant ground operation in Judea and Samaria to stem terrorism and prevent a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority.
c. The Israel Police and General Security Service will mount a massive campaign to confiscate the tens of thousands of unlicensed weapons in Israeli Arab communities, and to shut down Bedouin protection rackets in the Negev.
d. Israel will fight a “Third Lebanon War” to crush Hezbollah and knock the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps out of Lebanon and Syria.
e. Israel will strike deeper and harder against Iranian nuclear installations and Iranian leadership, bringing Israel and its allies closer than ever to full-scale, open warfare with the Islamic Republic.
f. Iran will test-detonate its first nuclear weapon, and in response US President Biden will bomb the hell out of Iran, decapitating the Islamic Republic’s leadership ranks and all known military and nuclear sites.
5. Which of the following reforms in matters of religion and state will be implemented over the coming year?
a. Public transportation on Shabbat will become the norm, including operation of the light rail in Tel Aviv.
b. Mild reform in military draft law will nudge upwards the number of haredi conscripts, while freeing many Ultra-Orthodox youth to study at college.
c. Passage of a Basic Law on Torah Study will permanently legitimize and legalize haredi draft-dodging.
d. Election of Yehuda Deri as Sephardi chief rabbi and Meir Kahana as Ashkenazi chief rabbi.
e. The Saudi-Israeli deal will lead to a new administrative regime for the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) whereby Jewish and Christian prayer at the holy site will be possible alongside Moslem prayer.
f. The Meron investigation committee will hold haredi community and police leaders responsible for the disaster on Lag BaOmer 2021 and recommend criminal charges including indictment of then-interior minister Aryeh Deri.
6. Which of the following global events can be expected?
a. China will invade and annex Taiwan.
b. Vladimir Putin will admit defeat in Ukraine and resign from office.
c. Australia, Britain, Canada, and others will move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem following the peace with Saudi Arabia, despite Palestinian recalcitrance and protests.
d. Donald Trump will be convicted on multiple criminal charges and be unable to run again for President, giving Rick DeSantis, Nicky Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Tim Scott a shot at the Republican ticket.
e. President Biden will decide not to run for re-election, paving the way for Kamala Harris and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez to compete over the Democratic nomination for president.
7. Which of the following developments in Israel-Diaspora relations and religious matters is most likely?
a. Ultra-Orthodox leaders in Israel will realize that violent demonstrations against archaeological digs, higher education, military draft, and even against the light-rail in Jerusalem – constitute Chilul Hashem (a desecration of G-d’s name) and do not advance the cause of Jewish faith or unity.
b. The poisonous discourse that posits dark, anti-democratic and anti-liberal dominance in Israel takes root, leading Diaspora Jewish leaders to demonstrate against Israeli leadership and withdraw philanthropic investment from Israel.
c. Cooler heads prevail, leading to renewed Israel-Diaspora engagement including respectful and practical dialogue regarding necessary amendments to the Law of Return and other aspects of Israeli immigration policy.
d. Basing itself on the Declaration of Independence, the Supreme Court will declare as “unconstitutional” the Chief Rabbinate’s exclusive purview over Jewish marriage, divorce, and conversion.
8. Who will be Israel’s prime minister ten years from now?
a. Shikma Bressler
b. Itamar Ben-Gvir
c. Yuli Edelstein
d. Yitzhak (Bougie) Herzog
e. Yitzhak Goldknopf
9. The most important prayer that Israelis can offer this Rosh Hashanah is:
a. A prayer for more Zionist spirit and backbone, including renewed commitment to national service and winning against Israel’s enemies.
b. A prayer for an end to polarization, stereotyping, and vulgarization in Israeli politics; an end to inter-communal curses, boycotts, and threats.
c. “May it be your Divine will that your mercy overcome your anger; that you treat your children with compassion and forbearance; and that you judge them with leniency.” (Attributed to Temple High Priest Yishmael Ben Elisha)
d. “May it be your will, O Lord, that there be great affection and peace among all your people of Israel; that we should all be guided by brotherly love and compassion; that we should accept one another and learn from one another; that we should appreciate all your living beings; and that the misfortune of one person should touch the hearts of all.” (Attributed to Rabbi Nachman of Bratislav)
e. All the above.
MY ANSWERS: 1e. 2e. 3d. 4 Definitely not f. 5 Hopefully b and e. 6c. 7c. 8c. 9e.
Ketiva vaChatima Tova!