As good as things are at this moment in time, dark clouds are looming. Yes, there are always reasons to be worried, and different people have different concerns. But, from my perspective - as leader of Reut and with the framework of Flexigidity in mind - I see the following threats to our golden epoch:
First, the Israel and the Jewish world are gravitating apart. Powerful trends and mindbogglingly inconsistent policies of the Government of Israel, are driving this trend. Many Israelis and their politicians are turning their backs to World Jewry, informed by a toxic combination of arrogance and ignorance. Meanwhile many Diaspora Jews are decreasing their engagement with and exposure to Israel, unable to embrace a nuanced understanding of Zionism and Israel.
Second, Israel doesn’t seem to be heading toward ending its control over the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria / the West Bank. This issue has profound implications for the future of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, and many feel that it is therefore an ‘internal Israeli matter’.
But I contend that it is also a huge challenge for the Jewish People. Micah Goodman writes about this beautifully in his books The Last Speech of Moses and the Kuzari, referring to the famous book written in the 11th century by Yehuda HaLevy. According to that story, the Jewish sage had no answer to the question whether Jews will use power in a different and more moral way than other nations (Kuzari, Book 1, sec. 114). Hence, the way Israel controls the Palestinians and treats its Arab minority has acute also for Jewish destiny.
Third, Israel is becoming a wedge political issue among Western nations. In Britain, an anti-Semite is the leader of opposition and a likely next Prime Minister, making Israel, of all countries, the centerpiece of his foreign policy. And in the USA, multiple Democratic politicians feel an urge to be anti-Israel. Jewish history - from Egypt to Europe - tells of many calamities that eventuated when Jews became a wedge issue for their societies. We can only imagine the consequences of a perfect storm of multiple anti-Israel governments in leading Western nations. The singling out of Israel, its demonization and delegitimization, disguised as criticism of Israeli policies, are a new form of antisemitism, which is spreading.
Fourth, Jewish communities are polarized and polarizing. This is true especially in the USA since the days of the Obama Administration. American Jewry became the greatest Diaspora community in Jewish history in large part because of its institutions, primarily the Federation system. That simple truth is now being forgotten by so many who would rather celebrate their differences rather than their commonalities and burn bridges rather than build them.
Fifth, the Jewish People is losing its edge. We used to be the only fully literate and global People. These are no longer our exclusives. We used to be powerless but ethics-based and resilient. We are now powerful, even a superpower, but that creates an outlook of entitlement and therefore also vulnerability.
Some of you may say: where is Iran and what about assimilation and intermarriage? Well, I am confident in our ability to contain Iran and eventually to see the collapse of its regime. And with regards to the challenge of assimilation: it has been with us since the days of Egypt and will continue to bother us deep into the future. In this respect, there is nothing new under the sun.