You ain’t heard nothing yet…writes Michael Kuttner

September 30, 2016 by Michael Kuttner
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If you thought that this Jewish year just ending was a vintage one you had better strap yourselves in because the coming year promises to be action packed in more ways than one.

Michael Kuttner

Michael Kuttner

Predicting political and similar events can be fraught with uncertainty but if one is sensitive to the way winds are blowing it is not rocket science to work out exactly what is likely to occur. At this time of the year we are bombarded with honey coated messages which convey annually recycled expressions of unattainable objectives. Peace and love, prosperity and equality are things all decent human beings should strive for and which Judaism promotes in our daily lives. However we are also taught to keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. That means taking note of reality around us and drawing the logical conclusions.

Therefore, ignoring pious pontifications political posturing and pie in the sky mirages, here are my politically incorrect prognostications for the upcoming year.

Terror: Expect much more worldwide. The scourge of Islamic terror can only be defeated by a concerted effort on the part of those targeted. This involves not only physical confrontation at its sources but also an extensive campaign to eradicate the poisonous ideology which drives it and recruits so many to its ranks. Funding must be dried up and those who finance it must be dealt with. Given the current state of denial on the part of those who should be leading the fight, the refusal by many to identify those really responsible and the lukewarm and half-hearted efforts at doing anything meaningful, can any sensible person realistically maintain that the coming year will see this plague disappear?

UN: This farce will continue. Without any doubt Israel will once again in the next year continue to be condemned more times than any other member country for an ever-increasing multitude of sins. From the Secretary General (current and future) to the other associated bodies, the same old litany of lies will trundle forth. Israel’s PM is optimistic that eventually this corrupt organization will see the light and love us. Forget it – it’s not going to happen in any of our lifetimes.

BDS & other manifestations of hatred: The latest mutation of Judeophobia is hatred for the Jewish State. Combined with age-old prejudices and rewriting of historical facts the “progressives” of this planet have joined up with self loathers and others to campaign against the very idea of a Jewish national movement in its original homeland. In scenes reminiscent of the 1930’s boycotts and labeling have become the weapons of choice. A recent resolution passed in the NZ Parliament supporting yet another cockeyed “peace” boat to Gaza illustrates not only total ignorance of the situation but also highlights a refusal by any MP to actively demonstrate effective opposition. The media (social and general) help to whip this along and the New Year will see more of this malodorous activity.

Europe/UK: The continent of Europe is doomed, condemned by its negative birthrate and suicidal surrender to the forces of political correctness. Ordinarily this would not cause me to lose any sleep but as there are still large numbers of Jewish communities there, the situation is worrying. A survey conducted last week showed that 70% of European Jews will NOT be attending Synagogue services for the High Holy Days this year because of security fears and harassment by local Muslims. Some French Jews are on the move but far too many will hope that it all blows over. It’s more likely to blow up than blow over. Meanwhile in the UK the Labor Party has been hijacked by the rabidly anti-Israel hard left. The Liberal Democrats succumbed to anti Israel phobias a long time ago which only leaves the Conservatives as a party with any semblance of a balanced approach. Meanwhile anti Jewish incidents are on the rise in the UK but the Jewish “establishment” is in denial. Next year does not promise to be a tranquil one for the Jewish Communities of Europe.

USA: Domestically the country is in crisis with not a day passing during which there are not reports of violence, shooting, racial upheavals and economic problems. On the foreign front the Obama/Kerry team has overseen the demise of American influence and prestige, the payment of ransom monies and enablement of the world’s foremost sponsor of terror to acquire weapons of mass destruction. While support for Israel is still manifest, the obsession with Jewish homes being built in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem makes one wonder about what it is which drives those in the White House and State Department to ignore far more peace threatening situations. Terror on the home front is supposedly caused by deranged individuals who have no connection to any common ideology. An official in the Homeland Security Department confessed this week that the rising threat of terror against Jews keeps him awake at night. Meanwhile a large number of American Jews prefer to disconnect. Will anything change after the forthcoming elections? It’s hard to say but common sense suggests that Clinton despite pre-election promises will be Obama lite and Trump being an unguided missile may or may not initiate radical changes. Either way it is not going to be a picnic.

PA: The 2 State delusions will keep haunting us. Eventually the realization will dawn that Jordan is the Palestinian Arab State but not before there is much more grief and mayhem. Abbas will hang on for dear life but this mockery of democracy will be ignored by the purveyors of hallucinatory visions. The outpouring of hate, incitement and outright lies will continue to be a feature of Palestinian Arab attempts to delegitimize any Jewish connection to our country. The international community will continue to excuse this and keep pouring billions into the bottomless coffers of Ramallah and UNRWA. The Arab refugees will continue to be used by their compatriots as weapons of mass destruction against Israel, history will continue to be rewritten and no effort will be made to prepare the Palestinian Arab population for compromises. These unfortunately are predictable outcomes based on current daily events.

Israel: The only bright and optimistic feature of an otherwise bleak international landscape lies here in the Jewish State. There are problems which must be tackled in the coming year. They include economic inequality (something most nations suffer), the cost of living and high prices for housing, the security situation which necessitates enormous spending for defense related activities and the urgent challenge to release the strangle hold which the out of touch Rabbinate has on citizens’ lives. The electoral threshold must also be raised so that minor parties can no longer hold Governments to ransom.

These are challenges which are symptomatic of a dynamic country where the population is made up of individuals from every part of the globe and which spans diverse ethnic and religious groups.

The achievements and progress which Israel has made in 68 years in the face of terror and obstacles which would have sunk most countries, is nothing short of miraculous. Our economy is robust, the shekel is a respected currency, foreign currency reserves are at a record high and discoveries of oil and gas have made the country an exporter of energy for the first time. Innovation and investment has made the Jewish State a leader in desalination and cyber security. High tech has revolutionized agriculture and industry and propelled the country to the forefront of the world’s leading nations. Pharmaceutical and medical developments provide citizens with first class care. Israel is now the third most popular country for medical tourism in the world. Israel’s aid to African nations is bringing hope and improved living conditions to millions on that continent. After any natural disaster anywhere, Israel is usually the first or one of the first to send teams of search and rescue workers and establish field hospitals.  Major infrastructure projects are transforming our highways and railway network beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. This short video gives a glimpse into the amazing vista which will greet us in less than 18 months time:

As we prepare to start a New Year it has been announced that Israel’s population has reached 8.5 million. In the past year 30,000 people came to live here and the birthrate was more than four times greater than the death rate with 189,000 babies born and 46,000 people dying. What a stark contrast to Europe. Israel was the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population increased (by 1.5%).

These are just some of the positive factors which point to the Jewish State truly becoming a “light unto the nations.” Compare this to the haters and delegitimizers whose countries are “blights unto the nations.”

Shana Tova – a healthy New Year to all.


Shimon Peres z’l, the last remaining disciple of David Ben Gurion passed away as I was writing this op-ed. This is truly the passing of an era and deserves more than a few lines. Next week (next year) will be an opportunity to remember his monumental contributions to the Land and people of Israel.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel and is J-Wire’s correspondent in the region.

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