The new Netanyahu government could not have been elected too soon to thwart the illegal land grab by the Arabs in Judea and Samaria. The new coalition has made this thankfully a priority. It’s about time. The government is to be commended for demolishing illegal Arab outposts in Wadi Rahhal and Irtas in the Gush Etzion area recently. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s persistence and determination finally paid off after five tries in three years. Israel, the Jewish People, and Democracy are the real winners. It was a long and arduous road getting to this point, full of bumps and potholes. It was an obstacle course. Even after being sworn in, Bibi had to suffer Yair Lapid’s disgraceful final act of lack of civility in not offering a handshake. We Jews have to be a light unto the Nation. Lapid’s lack of respect does not help the extreme polarization in the world. The Left constantly criticizes the Right for being non-Democratic. Yet when the Right wins in a totally Democratic fashion, the Left fails to shake the hand of the Democratically-elected Prime Minister.

After 15 rounds and four days of wrestling and wrangling, Congressman Kevin McCarthy was voted in as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The last time the process required multiple ballots was in 1855. In 2023, the proceedings were relatively tame compared to then. In that pre-Civil-War environment, it took 133 rounds and two months to pick a Speaker. The Speaker is second in line after the Vice President to become President in case of a need for succession. Interestingly, after the Speaker, the law of succession is as follows: President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and Secretary of Defense. Secretary of Transportation is way down on the list.

As 2022 winds down, it looks like it will have been the worst year ever in America for anti-Semitic incidents. With the polarization of the United States and the lack of civil discourse, the forecast for 2023 is not much better. Social media, which amplifies and promotes anti-Semitic messaging, may be the main culprit. The lack of oversight and controls has not only allowed for spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories but the breakdown of society in general. Jews through the ages have always been the first target of hate when the economy is failing. The Jewish People have been a barometer of society ills.

On September 28, 2000, General Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. In February 2001, he was elected Prime Minister. Many attribute his defeat of Ehud Barak to his fighting for the Temple Mount. I had the privilege of mentioning to him that his name “Ariel” was used by both Isaiah and Yechezkel to relate to the “Altar” of the Temple. He lived up to his name by walking on the Temple Mount.

I ran into former New York Governor George Pataki the other day, and I thought to myself how close Congressman Lee Zeldin came to duplicating the feat that Mr. Pataki pulled off in 1994. Actually, Zeldin got more votes than Governor Pataki (2,703,401 vs. 2,538,702) but still lost. By amassing so many votes, he brought in four new Republican Congressmen to New York State. It helped the Republican Party claim the majority in the House.