After Netanyahu. Moshiach

Netanyahu's role now isn't to hold the keys for the Moshiach, but rather to do all he can to prepare the nation for his coming.

Yshai Amichai ,

Binyamin Netanyahu at the Western Wall
Binyamin Netanyahu at the Western Wall
Photo: GPO

This article comes in the midst of a series of articles titled “Citizenship Based on Torah.”

Part I and Part II are already up, and at least two more parts should follow. This article is off topic, but relevant to recent events, namely Naftali Bennett’s toppling of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the back of a wide coalition of political parties that includes an Arab party in the Israeli Knesset.

Netanyahu has been the prime minister of Israel since 2009, after serving an earlier term from 1996 to 1999. Altogether he has been in office for 15 years. On Sunday, June 13, 2021, Netanyahu was forced to hand the keys over to Bennett, the 13th and current prime minister of Israel. This has transpired in the aftermath of a rocket war with Hamas (May 2021) and widespread riots and violence from the Arabs, preceded by what was seemingly another stalemate elections (March 2021), preceded by routine quarantines and lockdowns in over a year of Coronavirus (beginning March 2020), which included the March 2020 elections, preceded by the September 2019 elections, preceded by the April 2019 elections.

Things were already going downhill for Netanyahu prior to this, but in slow motion. In November 2018 there was a rocket war with Hamas, and defense minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest over the ceasefire, pulling his party out of the coalition. Not receiving the vacated defense post as requested, Naftali Bennett threatened to resign as well and topple the government. Faced with a crumbling government and incessant corruption investigations, Netanyahu hoped to improve his lot and called for early elections. But Netanyahu has been in power for so long that most of the familiar faces with ambition have already worked with him and wished him out, including Yair Lapid, Benjamin Gantz and Gideon Sa’ar. Under normal circumstances they would not get along, unless pressed into service by a political strongman such as Netanyahu, who knows how to extract benefits from them and maintain the upper hand, which is what Bennett has managed to do this round, although in a really underhanded way.

Bennett, who was the former love child of the religious Zionists and the "settlement movement", has undercut the people of Israel in more ways than the obvious. Besides forming a left and Arab leaning government that is counter to the will of the people, and besides agreeing to legalize illegal Arab settlements, he is undercutting the messianic hopes of many; the hope that somehow, out of all our recent hardships, our redemption is at hand. This might sound funny to some, as if Bennett is hurting the feelings of deeply sensitive people, or absurd to others, as if Bennett could abrogate God’s Will, but losing hope is no laughing matter, especially for a nation such as Israel.

Our national anthem is called “The Hope,” we are in Israel because of that hope, and it is a big reason why Jews, and I dare say even Christians, are still around in the world. We have been holding on and waiting so long for something to happen, waiting for our redemption. Even the most desperate of circumstances could not extinguish this hope. Jews emerged from the Holocaust to build new great centers of Jewish learning, and we rose from the ashes to build the State of Israel. But the funny thing with hope is that it’s stronger in times of hopelessness. Now that Israel has been around for generations, there is less to hope for. Of course, we must hope for the Moshiach and for our redemption, but as time passes we become more complacent in our Homeland, accepting the delusion of redemption in place of true redemption, like being reborn in the flesh but without a soul.

This is a message that the Lubavitcher Rebbe Z”L was keen to convey: “We want Moshiach now, we don’t want to wait.” It can be seen in clarity in a filmed meeting between the Rebbe and Netanyahu (November 1990), in which Netanyahu, then a member of Knesset, asks for the Rebbe’s blessing and help. The Rebbe blesses Netanyahu and tells him that many things have progressed since they last met, but what hasn’t changed is that Moshiach has yet to arrive. The Rebbe implores Netanyahu to do something to hasten the Moshiach’s coming, to which Netanyahu replies, “we’re doing.” The Rebbe is not satisfied with this response and says, “Apparently it’s not enough,” for many hours have already passed in the day and Moshiach is not here, but there are still some hours left, so an effort must be made even for today. The Rebbe was implying in that meeting that Netanyahu’s daily mission should be to hasten the coming of the Moshiach, and to that effect he gave his blessing. You can view the video below:

Netanyahu was in close contact with the Rebbe, as attested to by his own words. In a previous meeting with the Rebbe (April 1988), which can be seen below, the Rebbe was more supportive of Netanyahu and his political ambitions, urging him to continue in his path. The Rebbe told Netanyahu that he will have to struggle with 119 other Knesset members, but that he should not be intimidated, because God is on “this” side (the side of Netanyahu’s chosen path). This can be understood in the context of the previous video as the path that should lead to the coming of the Moshiach. In fact, a prediction attributed by some to the Rebbe is that Netanyahu should remain in power long enough to hand the keys over to the Moshiach. This is perhaps a belief held by Netanyahu himself, which would explain his sense of duty in holding onto power for so long (although he doesn’t seem to be doing anything to hasten the coming of the Moshiach, besides keeping the seat warm for him).

A similar prediction, attributed to the late Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri Z”L, is that Netanyahu would serve a very long time in office, after which the Moshiach would arrive. This is a hope people can deeply relate to, considering Netanyahu’s extremely long tenure in office. The fact that in so many recent elections no leader was able to form a governing coalition, only magnified the hope that the Moshiach would soon arrive. People sitting anxiously in their homes under lockdown, while the eerily empty streets appeared to herald the coming of an apocalypse, told themselves that the Moshiach must soon appear. Families sleeping and living fearfully in safe rooms and bomb shelters across the nation, while Gazan bombs rained down on Tel Aviv and all around, leading to the closure of schools and the airport, saw this is another sign that perhaps the Moshiach is near. Arab citizens of Israel rising up against the Jews across the Land, burning homes and synagogues and lynching Jews in the streets, led people to believe that something is seriously out of order, and things cannot go on as they have before…

Then Bennett came along and formed a government with the Arabs. After all that has happened in the past two years, what hope does Bennett have to offer us? That his coalition will be more adept at making friends with Biden and the Democrats? Is that what we have to hope for these days? Forget about God and the Moshiach, the Democrats will now save us? All the wars and violence were for naught and may now be forgotten? The pandemic, the failed elections, the bitter hatred and anti-Semitism, the incapacitating barrage of rockets and the feeble governments must now all be a thing of the past? I think not. We now have a left leaning government entirely reliant upon Arabs, that excludes the Likud and all the religious Jewish parties, just think about that for a minute: A government that excludes religious Jews. Are we to trade in our hopes and dreams for a nation of its inhabitants?

In the context of history, this very recent travesty far outweighs our previous travails. It comes at a most precarious time as well, when people are restless and tired, so anything new may seem worth trying. But the stew that Bennett has brewed for us is toxic. Even if someone tips the pot in time, its odor has already filled the room and endangered us. The stench filling our Land is the smell of rebellion against God. Reckless leaders have conspired together by any means to throw out a responsible brother, and now the whole world knows and sees, and we have the scent of prey. Yet we need not fear them, but rather fear the Lord our God, Whose Covenant is being disparaged. Netanyahu is not an observant Jew, but at least he has respect for the Jewish Heritage, such that all the religious parties have remained loyal to him. The ones pulling the strings today have advocated for a secular state divorced from God. In the context of history, that is our greatest threat. It sets us up as prey for our enemies while turning our backs on God, our Sole Savior.

I urge everyone to wake up and consider this reality. Now is not the time to be complacent. Now is the time to double up on hope and faith. Pray for the quick demise of this new government and hope for the hastening of our redemption. In the words of the Rebbe, so long as there are still hours left in the day, it is not too late to improve ourselves and do all that is possible to hasten the coming of the Moshiach.

Perhaps Netanyahu will now heed this advice from the opposition, as his role should not be to hold the keys for the Moshiach for years to come, but rather to do all that is in his power to prepare the nation and the government for his coming. The Moshiach will come, that is certain. Pray to God that he will come hastily, and in our time. Please God, Send us the Moshiach and Redeem us this very day!

Yshai Amichai is a father of six and the author of the Hebrew book, “The Constitution of Israel” ("חוקת ישראל"), and the English book, “The Upright One,” both of which will be made available to the public soon. You may contact him by email: yshaia@gmail.com



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