JackEngelhard
JackEngelhard צילום: מתוך האתר האישי

Suddenly, the name Idit Silman emerges atop the news, and in a snap, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s ruling coalition is at risk of falling apart.

Uneasy rests the crown with a five percent approval rating.

Somehow, when Israel did to Netanyahu what the American left did to Trump, Bennett cobbled together a Knesset majority that put him over the top…by one vote.

That vote disappeared, in time for Passover, when MK Silman disapproved over something that isn’t even political, but religious.

Israel, after all, is where monotheism…religion as we know it…begins.

Silman objected to rulings from Israel’s High Court and from the country’s health minister, that would permit bread, hametz, to be brought into hospitals and military bases.

Hametz is strictly forbidden during Passover.

In Silman’s view, the permissiveness contributes to an erosion of Israel’s Jewishness.

So she bolted from the coalition that harbors something for everybody…Leftists, Arabs, Islamists, and, gratefully, also by-the-Book right-leaning Israeli Jews.

Bennett’s government teeters at 60-60 in the Knesset.

That’s something like our Senate in America…50-50…except that the Democrats can get the VP to tilt the outcome.

Over bread, you ask? Over that an Israeli government may go belly up?

I’m not sure I can explain this to myself, let alone to my American readers, who are astonished that Israel thrives even in the face of its rollicking politics.

Except for me to say that this is Israel, where everything is possible…in the holiest sense of that term.

Or, as the Gentile prophet was moved to exclaim in admiration of Israel’s attention to Biblical particulars: “How goodly thy tents, O Jacob” …

Yes, these are the same Hebrews who quarreled in the Wilderness, even against Moses, and yet when it counted, were “a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.”

Why should this generation be different from preceding generations? In Israel, customs live on…from habits that started more than 3,000 years ago.

At a moshav I visited, where the family was known to be strictly non-observant, the lady of the house emphatically explained why she lit Sabbath candles.

“I am Israeli. This is what we do.”

Do and done: quite like na’aseh v’nishma.

At the Navy Base in Haifa I was reminded that David Ben Gurion…a man not necessarily Religious…decreed that all military bases were to observe kashrut.

That reminder came after an incident, in which I, stupid American, may have used the wrong ladle to dip into a vat meant for meat.

The cauldron was sealed off. No soup allowed. The hungry cadets waited patiently.

The entire dining hall grew silent until the rabbi arrived to check it all out. I was vindicated. A thousand fresh-faced cadets cheered when the chaplain gave the thumbs up.

These shipmates come from homes that practice religion and politics variously, but, do not mess with them when they gather together under the one Israeli flag.

Such kids! Such a People!

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