From the beginning the Israelis were admired as rugged pioneers who “made the desert bloom.”
To this day, planting a tree in Israel is a symbol of rebirth and permanence.
That’s what we do when we go to Israel to visit or to stay. We plant trees.
But not everybody is happy about this, three Arab communities in the Negev in particular, who say…not in my backyard.
To many of them, of course, the entire Land of Israel is their backyard, and so they riot when they don’t get their way.
They demand a halt to Israel’s forestation project, and as discussions continue between the government and the Bedouin, the planting has indeed been suspended.
The question is…which government? Which government is in power…the so-called Jewish one run by Bennett/Lapid…or, do elements of the Muslim Brotherhood really call the shots?
It’s come to this? Yes, it has.
Because in order to form a government by hook or by crook, Bennett/Lapid needed up to four more Knesset votes, and got them from Mansour Abbas and his Arab Ra’am Party.
Within a tug-of-war coalition like this, Israelis wake up every morning wondering who’s got the upper hand, and who gained an advantage overnight.
While they slept, which Israeli religious site along with Homesh Yeshiva has been marked for the bulldozers?
Who fought, bled and died for Zion and whose country is this anyway?
Parenthetically, some years back, as American volunteers for the IDF, a group of us arrived late back at our hotel where we were invited to stay rather than on base in Haifa. Our Madrich (group leader) began accompanying us to our rooms. The desk clerk shouted, “Stop.” Why? It was past visiting hours.
The heated exchange continued when our Madrich announced firmly that “I can go wherever I want, whenever I want. This is my country.”
“For the time being,” responded the Arab clerk. (More about all that in this thriller.)
So, there it was then, and here it is now.
I’ve got friends in and around NYC who, in bewilderment, keep asking me who is really in charge of the country. I tell them to stay tuned. It varies day to day.
On this day, it’s the Arabs, seeing how the coalition capitulated in the Negev, which proves that Bennett/Lapid are only half the show… and often the lesser half.
When the Muslim Brotherhood speaks, they listen, and obey. They have no choice. Should any member of the Ra’am Party bolt, poof goes the entire government.
On that exact threat, the Israelis caved, and stopped planting in the Negev, upon further notice. Or upon deciding once and for all if Israel is to remain the Jewish/Zionist dream and reality.
If the Jews are so smart, say my friends, how could they be so stupid? The Negev, which is about half of Israel geographically, is sovereign Israeli territory.
Jews are 80 percent of the country…the rest 20 percent…so how did the Jews put themselves in such a spot where others can dictate to them where they can or cannot plant trees?
Or houses…or neighborhoods…or communities…or yeshivas…
In a word, my friends…politics.
Don’t ask me to explain. It’s too complicated. Or maybe it’s too simple. The best of us, I’d suggest, become Einsteins in science and other fields.
That leaves politics for the rest…usually not the best and the brightest, but energetic and power-hungry just the same.
That doesn’t go for all. Once in a while, so far as leadership, we get lucky…in both Israel and the United States.
But in the United States, we still voted 80 percent for Biden, and would do so again, so yes, how can people so smart be so stupid.
In Israel, my friends and relatives are worried that at this rate, and through various political shenanigans, the Jewish nation of Israel is beginning to unravel and slip away from them.
G-d forbid, they say. But they do worry…and it does not have to be all at once…only through one uprooted yeshiva and one tree unplanted at a time.
New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.
He wrote the worldwide book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal,” the authoritative newsroom epic, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” followed by his coming-of-age classics, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” and, the Holocaust-to-Montreal memoir, “Escape from Mount Moriah.” For that and his 1960s epic “The Days of the Bitter End,” contemporaries have hailed him “The last Hemingway, a writer without peer, and the conscience of us all.” Website: www.jackengelhard.com