Politics may not be the most uncertain activity. Playing in traffic is more problematic, but politics is close.

Its uncertainties begin with the number of participants and the variety of their aspirations, skills, and resources, and extends to "externals" like natural and human catastrophes.

Think about trying to maintain a position in the world when the most powerful of countries embarks on the idealistic missions of taking down evil rulers, like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi, without thinking through what would come next.

Or what would happen if someone even less experienced, wise, or well informed than George W. Bush and Barack Obama--like Donald Trump--would find himself sitting in the Big Office? Hillary would not make us feel too much better, given her record as Secretary of State and pushing for US participation in the removal of Qaddafi. And the ideals of Ted Cruz aren't encouraging to those who don't pray in his church.

Politics competes with religion as phenomena at the heart of civilization. Religion claims to show us how to attain the good life and avoid the bad, and politics plus government allow us to manage differences in religion and many other traits. Winston Church is credited with the expression that jaw jaw is better than war war. That pretty much sums up the contribution of politics.

Few politicians express themselves with the elegance of Churchill. Clamor is part of it, ranging from the one-liners of Donald Trump to the chants of those excited by BDS or other mass ecstasies of the moment. 

Both religion and politics range from the heights of great ideals to the crusades of know nothings, such as those currently killing one another and threatening the rest of us in the Middle East, Europe, and the US.

We have to remember that most things associated with religion, politics do not change, or change gradually. However, it's the ones that change quickly or in major ways that create the problems.

Planning is essential to survival, and there is plenty of it in politics. It ranges from the highly professional discussions, position papers, and projections produced by highly trained employees of government departments, as well as think tanks, and concerned individuals, to the scheming and maneuvers of politicians and activists to gain traction for themselves or their ideas. All is fair, not only in love and war, but also in politics. It may be difficult to separate the nonsensical noise from serious efforts meant to advance admirable goals.

This little country is currently bothered by a variety of internal and external uncertainties. Most are already well known, i.e., the chaos in Islam, with hatred of Jews and Israel so far subordinate to the efforts of Muslims to kill one another. There is also the rise of what can fairly be called anti-Semitism, with some claiming to be the best and the brightest feeling that Israel's existence and activities rank as the most offensive.

Israelis may feel pride in the company we keep The terrorists who created havoc at the Brussels airport meant to target planes to Israel, Russia, and the US.

An event that may be no more than a media blip, but has the potential for much worse is the action of otherwise insignificant Jews--despite the prohibilitions--to perform their wedding ceremony on the Temple Mount

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The Temple Mount/al Aqsa was among the sparks that set off the recent wave of attacks and counter measures that have taken more than 200 lives. Muslims complained and shouted enough about Jews threatening al Aqsa that the Prime Minister ruled that  Israeli officials must stay away from the place. Israeli officials reiterated in discussions with Jordanian and Palestinians their commitment to preserve the status quo that gives Muslims priority on the site.

Jews complain, and Israeli courts have ruled that Jews should be able to perform their religious ceremonies on the Temple Mount, but that the greater importance of peace, security, and human life require the subordination of those rights.

There may be nothing more to write about this than the folly of the media to record and broadcast news of the wedding. On the other hand, especially in the run up to Passover which has historically been a time of religious tension, it may trigger yet another round of violence.
Josephus described thousands of pilgrims on Passover flowing to the Temple for the rituals of sacrificing birds and animals. Jesus' insistence on making a commotion against what he proclaimed as improper led to his death and all that has come as a result. 
Israeli officials are urging calm, and preparing security forces to counter what may come from a holiday spirit likely to lead Jews to provoke and Muslims to respond.
Another uncertainty is associated with the hostility of Israeli Arabs to the success of a Muslim within  the Israeli Police.

There was a public ceremony in which the Police Chief and the Minister of Internal Security pinned the new insignia of rank (the highest below the Chief) on the uniform of,Jamal Hakrush. Officials said that there would be efforts to recruit more Arabs to the police, and to increase police activities dealing with high levels of crime among Arabs..

Many of the Arab dignitaries who were invited to the ceremony did not appear. 

Opposition to the appointment in the Arab community ranges from general opposition to participation in anything associated with the Israeli state, to more specific charges that the police--including the newly promoted officer--have not done enough to demonstrate to Arabs that the police will work primarily to provide security for Arabs and not for the sake of providing security for Jews.

You can't win is a feeling generated by both the Jewish couple feeling they must marry on the Temple Mount, and the country's Arabs protesting the appointment of one of their own to a major position.

It ain't easy. What I know about politics tells me that it ain't easy anywhere. But I'm here, and here's where I complain.

Comments welcome
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
[email protected] 
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

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