Two things happened today that stressed the importance of this moment in Jewish history. One is a lunch meeting with a fellow wrestling coach, who is not Jewish but asked me “What is happening in Israel?” The other is a fellow Kellogg-Recanati Alum who is running a startup from New York but along with her husband cancelled all her meetings, took her kids out of school so that they as a family could fly to Israel to fight for the democratic future of the one and only Jewish state. These two events are different but cemented for me what is at stake.
Usually non-Jews talk about Israel because there is war but the idea that Israel is a stable democracy never crosses their mind. The concept that Jewish people would destroy a stable government of the people, just doesn’t compute. So when a non-Jew puts that question to me it marks to me just how grave and dangerous this point is, just what is at stake as a collapse of democracy in Israel would create a flood of the very people who do most to keep that country safe and secure. Without those people in the government, army and business, Israel is weak and defenseless.
Furthermore, if Israel stops being a democracy in order to pass laws that pursue racist ideology, and keep a corrupt politician in power, it will lose all credibility and trust from the free world that supports it. With so many people pushing for BDS, it is incumbent to have as many allies who can withstand the strong public pressure to boycott and divest. That political clout would disappear the moment Israel becomes a de-facto dictatorship, and the financial impact would cripple it, destroying its ability to keep an able army.
This is why my former classmate is getting on a plane to fly home. Netanyahu has taken bombs that make Iranian nuclear weapons weak in comparison, and planted them into the Israeli democracy that have the power to destroy the nation just as Agrippa did two thousand years ago.
There is a prominent writer (who happens to be a BDS supporter) who in one of his books said that “Things that happened once, may not happen again. But things that happen twice are sure to repeat.” The Jews have lost Israel more that twice. The possibility that they will lose it again, is there. But it will not happen from a war, as long as Jews are united, they can with stand anything. As long as Jews are free, they can withstand anything. It is only when they are placed under a power that isn’t G-d, it is only when they are split and forced to be against each-other, that the Jewish dream of a free and Jewish state of Israel is truly at risk.