As much as the world may have banded against Israel during its war with Hamas six months ago, the result of the state of trauma the nation faced was a good one. Israel was unified by a common threat. The feeling was visceral. Strangers consoled each other and looked out for each other’s well-being, inviting even the homeless into bomb shelters as sirens sounded on the streets. While a small vocal majority was protesting the war, over ninety percent of the country stood united. This unity was not directed against the foundation of an Arab state. It was a call to arms to protect a wounded nation that God had given mercy after the horrors of the Holocaust. People remembered what it meant to be Jewish, to stand as one man and one heart, while external forces tried to destroy them. As an American who had been living near Tel Aviv, it was shocking and emotionally disarming to understand what it meant to be a Jew. As the world outside fought over the merits of the war, it was clear to all in Israel that their existence was a miracle worth protecting.

Six weeks after the peace and order was maintained, the nation had one collective complaint. An anonymous post from an Israeli living in Berlin, revealed pudding cost four times as much in Israel as it does in Berlin. Adding insult to injury, the poster tagged the photo, “Olim L’Berlin,” a phrase usually meant to describe one who makes “aliyah,” the word that literally means ascendance, but is reserved for declaring one has escaped persecution to come to Israel. You can’t make this stuff up. It was the most talked about topic in the country, as people contemplated defecting to Germany to combat the high cost of living and relatively low wages in Israel. A nation so close to realizing their mission to unite and work above their differences was now arguing over the prices of groceries and many people considered going back to the country where many of their parents and grandparents watched their families burn in gas chambers.

Bibi Netanyahu went from being savior of a sovereign state to a war criminal, and a country unified by a state of solidarity was once again split into thirteen parties that couldn't agree on anything. The elections will come on Tuesday and Israel has learned nothing. As seems to always be the case in the history of the Jewish people, they are united in times of suffering and feud with their egos in times of peace. As Herzog, in his mild-mannered way campaigns on strengthening the middle class, repairing international relations and building peace with Palestine, Bibi will stand behind his impeccable national security, the romantic ideal of the Jewish State and the threat of Iran. The troubling aspect of this election is that it is not grounded on any clear reality. Nothing will change. If elected, Herzog will stall a resolution with Palestine and not have the support of the government to make any of the domestic changes he campaigned on. Bibi, if elected, will continue to secure the Israeli borders and watch the economy grow by leaps and bounds, without significantly helping the common people. Regardless of who takes the chair, Obama will reluctantly stand behind Israel, and Israelis will continue to complain about the cost of living, but be too petrified of the recent inferno of anti-Semitism to leave.

What is happening in Israel and around the world is much more sinister. People are being seized by apathy towards politics, because it is becoming clearer and clearer that no matter who is elected nothing meaningful will change in their lives. This is because the economy and political climate of the world is ruled by the human ego that only wants to receive pleasure for its own benefit. This is why Israelis contemplate exile into Germany over the price of cheaper pudding. It is always why Israelis can’t agree on anything and we see two egos exploiting their own personal beliefs for less than 50% of the total votership.

The only good that will come out of this election is that the people will come to understand the old ways of doing things no longer work. Israel is not just another democracy lodged in the Middle East. It is in the Jewish DNA that their people must unite in order to survive the blows ahead of them and why the Star of David was lit when 50,000 gathered in Tel Aviv to protest Bibi, even when they were championing someone who naively claims we are in a position to make peace with a terrorist organization posing as a government. Israel is supposed to serve as an example for the rest of the world, but until we achieve meaningful unity in Israel, the name of the game is survival. As hatred of the Jews around the world continues to fester, the Jewish people will come to a point where they need to unite above their egos, but until that happens nothing will change.

Please listen to my TLV1 Talkbox about this.


Jesse Bogner: 

An author, screenwriter, and blogger for Shatterproof, Jesse Bogner is a twenty-seven year old graduate of Bard College with a BA in Creative Writing. Last year he moved from New York City, where he was born and raised, to study Kabbalah in Israel under Michael Laitman. His book, The Egotist, has been translated into three languages. He was recently filmed by Larry King's crew in Israel for The Spirituality Network. 

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