Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer
Rabbi Prof. Dov FischerCourtesy
It is the motto of the Hanukkah dreidl: ness gadol hayah po — a great miracle happened here. If only more Jews, including religious Jews, could see hidden miracles from G-d when they unfold. The generation of Esther and Mordechai grasped that the confluence of random events around them were not happenstance but, in their synergy, constituted G-d’s Purim miracle: a drunk king who made an abusive and insane demand of his wife, the wife’s fatally impertinent response, a beauty contest to find her replacement, an assassination plot discussed in a strange foreign language within ear shot of some Jew who happened to understand that language, too much wine at too many parties.

Not every Divine miracle requires a sea or river to split open, or food to descend from heaven.

I have written here in the past of the miraculous turn of events that repeatedly has stopped Israeli politicians of the Left from ceding Judea and Samaria to the sworn enemy.

-Rabin was going to do it, but it did not happen. His successor, Shimon Peres, was sworn to do it, but an inexplicable sudden intensification of Arab terrorism and bus bombings got so uncontrollable that Peres was voted out.

-Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu succeeded him, and Bibi signed the Wye Accords, but he was replaced by Ehud Barak. Barak went to Bill Clinton in Washington, D.C., met with the cutthroat Arafat, and offered to cede to him even much of Jerusalem; yet Arafat incomprehensibly responded to that insanely generous offer by launching an intifada that drove Barak from office and brought in Ariel Sharon.

-Sharon, who had championed Jewish life in Judea and Samaria, suddenly changed course and became obsessed with ceding the regions unilaterally, as he had done with Gush Katif in Gaza, but he was felled by a terrible stroke before he could give it up. When he recovered, he resumed his disastrous effort to abandon Judea and Samaria, and this time he was felled by a stroke that finished him off.

-Ehud Olmert emerged to lead the Kadimah party, and now he aimed to give Arafat all that much, but Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, prompting a war that Olmert and his unqualified Defense Minister, labor-union hack Amir Peretz of the Labor party, were unable to conduct — and the two were ousted from government before they could cede Judea and Samaria.

To this day, the Judea-Samaria miracle continues. Obama and Biden and Hillary and John Kerry tried to impose it, so Abu Mazen (“Mahmoud Abbas”) decided miraculously to let them do his work for him, and he refused for years to negotiate with Bibi, causing all talks to be suspended during most of the wasted Obama decade. And then came Trump. Now, Yair Lapid’s speech at the United Nations, advocating a “two-state solution,” is dead in the water.

Two States? It never will happen.

This week another miracle happened in Israel, as elections saw an end to the stalemate that had paralyzed government four prior times in three years. Really, if you look carefully, the Bibi-Likud nationalist-religious right-wing bloc did not attract all that many more votes than did the Lapid-Gantz-Labor-Meretz-Arab left bloc - because the Left includes the pro-terror Arabs. But the apportionment of the Knesset seats resulting from the quirks of the rules has given the nationalist-religious right a strong and stable government with a huge majority of 64 seats that no one or two rebels can bring down — versus the opposition’s much weaker 51 seats, and five other seats held by an Arab party that hates all Jews, even the leftists, and probably does not even belong in the Knesset. Or in Israel.

How did this miracle happen, and what makes it a miracle?

In high school biology, we learn the paradox of the amoeba: they multiply by dividing. (Think about that.) What works for amoeba does not necessarily work for humans in politics. By every measurable level of sanity, in an election where parties are eliminated when they fail to secure at least 3.25 percent of the total valid votes cast, it would be expected that small parties would band together, at least for the election. And they typically do. But something miraculously incomprehensible happened this time.

On the religious right, there was talk of United Torah Judaism (UTJ) splitting, with the “Lithuanian” faction and the hassidic wing each running separately. They would have destroyed each other like a robust shul weekday morning minyan of 18 men where half of them walk out. In the end, sanity prevailed between the UTJ factions, and they remained united as per their name. Similar dynamics almost saw Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir run separately, while also excluding the Noam faction. In the end, sanity prevailed there, too. UTJ garnered seven Knesset seats. Religious Zionism emerged with 14 seats. Together with an extraordinary eleven seats for Shas and 32 seats for Likud, that bloc emerged with a commanding 64 seats.

Such a result might have been achieved by the Left if they also had acted with sanity.

For reasons rooted primarily in ego, Labor Party chief Merav Michaeli refused to run in conjunction with her mirror-image extreme-left cohort, Meretz. Together, they stood to win eight or nine seats. But she just would not agree to coalesce. She would not even sign a Bader-Ofer agreement with Meretz to share their respective left-over votes that could have secured one of them an extra seat if they both passed the electoral threshold. As a result of Michaeli’s intransigence, Meretz missed entering the Knesset for the first time since it was founded in 1992 during the days of Shulamit Aloni and Yossi Sarid. Meretz’s approximately 150,000 votes, comprising 3.16 percent of the total votes cast, went down the drain because they barely missed the 3.25 percent electoral threshold. Meanwhile, Labor scored 3.69 percent. Together, they drew 6.85 percent, enough to entitle them to seven or eight seats. But they did not coalesce, so Labor got four seats and Meretz got shut out. The Left lost three to four seats because of ego.

Michaeli spent too much time believing her own press coverage. The Israeli media, which is almost completely leftist, crowned Michaeli a charismatic hero in the past for supposedly bringing Labor back from the dead. Labor, the Marxist socialist cohort that governed Israel for thirty years under such as David Ben-Gurion, Rabin, Peres, Moshe Dayan, and Golda Meir — all heroes of the American Jewish left (i.e., the American Jewish establishment rooted in the ACLU and the Democrat party) — had collapsed from its former dominance and was on the brink of disappearing as the Israeli population has shifted demonstrably towards the right. The media hailed Michaeli for salvaging Labor from eradication, so she got it into her head that she no longer needed Meretz and that they were getting into her sun. So she shut them off. And, as it emerges, shut them out.

Similarly, among the anti-Jewish Arab Muslim parties dedicated to ending Israel, Balad — just a bit more viciously anti-Israel and more openly pro-terror than the other two parties in their previous joint list — opted to run alone. Never before had they failed to win Knesset seats since their founding in 1996. But this time they opted to break off from the Joint List of three Arab Muslim parties that hate Israel, and they went it alone. They scored some 138,000 votes, comprising 2.9 percent of the total. The other two, Chadash and Taal, scored 3.75 percent. Together that would have made 6.65 percent, good for seven or eight seats. Instead, because Balad did not run with the other Jew-haters, Chadash and Taal emerge with five seats. Ra'am, headed by Mansour Abbas, which ran alone,,also got 5 seats.

So the Left lost 3-4 seats and maybe even five, and the Arabs lost 2-3 seats and maybe even four, because of petty differences, ego-driven delusions, jealousies, and what-not. Had they united, those 5-7 lost seats — and maybe even more — would have had to come from somewhere because the 120-seat Knesset is a zero-sum game. The Likud religious-nationalist bloc would have been reduced, very possibly to 60 seats. That would have meant stalemate again and sixth elections, with Lapid meanwhile continuing until next Purim, a holiday he once said he dislikes because the Jews killed Haman's son Vayzata and the Persians out to kill them, as pseudo-prime minister, making speeches advocating “two states” and handing over Israeli waters and natural gas fields as opportunities would arise.

Our Jewish history is rife with sordid memories of wanton, purposeless hate — sin’at chinam — that cost us the Holy Temple and sovereignty for nearly two thousand years. This time the plague miraculously hit the other guys. Merav Michaeli and Balad both thought that, like an amoeba, they could multiply by dividing. The results provide a cautionary example for us on the religious right: You can’t always get every last thing you want, but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need. As long as you proceed sensibly and avoid ego distractions.

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer is Senior Contributing Editor at The American Spectator, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, was adjunct professor of law at two prominent Southern California law schools for nearly twenty years, and is Rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. He likewise has held leadership roles in several national rabbinic and other Jewish organizations including Zionist Organization of America, Rabbinical Council of America, and regional boards of the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation. He was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. His writings have appeared in Newsweek, National Review, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Los Angeles Times, Federalist, Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, and other major Jewish and Israeli Hebrew media. Other writings are collected at www.rabbidov.com. To attend any or all of Rav Fischer’s weekly 60-minute live Zoom classes on the Weekly Torah Portion, the Biblical Prophets, the Mishnah, Rambam Mishneh Torah, or Advanced Judaic Texts and Topics,send an email to: [email protected]