Time to start polishing the crystal ball

March 19, 2021 by Michael Kuttner
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“You can trust a crystal ball about as far as you can throw it.”

Michael Kuttner

With elections pending (again) and other developments which impact Israel, this would seem to be a propitious time to dust off the old crystal ball and give it a good polish.

The only trouble with this is that the crystal balls aren’t what they used to be. Perhaps they are all made in China these days and only useful for short periods because the rate of accurate predictions has decreased significantly in recent times.

Nevertheless one can occasionally fluke it and therefore despite the quote introducing this op-ed I will try to discern some trending news and hazard an educated guess as to the prognosis.

First and foremost of course is the fourth round of elections which Israeli citizens will be participating on Tuesday 23 March. Punters will know that when there is an absence of enthusiastic bettors the return on one’s betting will be greatly diminished. The higher the interest and active desire to win or perhaps lose on the outcome means that the final returns on your investment will soar or sink.

The same can be said for elections because if there is a poor turn out of voters any prior predictions can be wildly wrong. Pre-election polls all depend on their reliability on truthful answers from those polled and at the end of the day whether sufficient numbers actually front up to the ballot box. Past experience has demonstrated that either or both of these factors will skittle any accurate predictions.

Meanwhile, the frenzy of promises increases and only the gullible will be seduced by them. The mud is flying as we get closer to polling day. Any discerning voter should avoid those whose sole contributions to the campaign are insults, vilification and false accusations. The field of aspiring parties may be large but at the end of the day, most of them will fail to pass the minimum requirement.

One does not need a crystal ball to confidently predict that no party will be able to govern alone and that horse-trading on a massive scale will once again be necessary in order to cobble together a workable coalition. In normal democracies, those leaders who have led their party to defeat or a poor showing will retire from the scene and let someone else take over. Israeli politicians however very rarely accept responsibility for their own failures and thus we will no doubt find that even those who have crashed will blame others and cling tightly to their perks and positions.

While we have all been bombarded and focused on our election shenanigans, other developments elsewhere are of equal importance and deserve to be addressed.

The surrender by the “democracies” in the face of Iranian subterfuge continues unabated. France, Germany and the UK after having threatened to censure Iran for nuclear cheating violations unsurprisingly cancelled their intended slap on the wrist after threats from Iran. Their explanation that diplomacy was the best policy falls into the same category as the failed appeasement attempts from another era. If this was not farcical enough, the Irish Foreign Minister met the Iranian President after which we heard some Irish blarney trying to convince all and sundry that the Mullahs were squeaky clean.

As though these demonstrations of abject moral surrender were not clear enough a policy statement from the White Hose as reported makes it clear that we are on our own:

The US will not turn a blind eye to Middle East allies actions taken against Washington’s interests and vision, the White House said in a recent strategic document.

The document, titled “Interim National Security Strategic Guidance,” aims to outline US President Joe Biden administration’s vision on the strategic landscape the US is facing and the ways to approach it.

On the Middle East, the document rejects the notion that “military force is the answer to the region’s challenges.”

“We will not give our partners in the Middle East a blank check to pursue policies at odds with American interests and values,” it declared.

My murky crystal ball predicts that this will further embolden Iran and its terror proxies to ramp up their preparations for further murder and mayhem safe in the knowledge that Israel has been warned to back off.

Did you catch up with the news that squeaky clean Switzerland has now joined Belgium, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands and Sweden in officially banning niqabs and burqas? Imagine if Israel was to follow suit. There would be emergency sessions of the UN General Assembly, Security Council, UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International, human rights NGO’s worldwide and demonstrations against the Jewish State would be the order of the day. The World Council of Churches together with the Vatican, the Arab League and all Islamic nations would express their condemnation and every foreign ministry would be in an uproar.

Contrast this with the near-total silence and occasional feeble statement which followed Switzerland’s decision.

This proves yet again that our security and indeed future cannot ever be in the hands of those who refuse to challenge in any meaningful way those scheming to harm us.

Will our next Government finally tackle the multiplicity of problems and threats facing us?

Election Day will be crucial as we toss a coin, hold our noses and choose the party we think will be best for the country.

Meantime the noises coming out of Washington sound like the taps being turned on again for millions of dollars to flow to the PA/PLO and a return to the failed policies of the Obama era.

The bottom line is: who needs to polish crystal balls when the road signs and danger signals are so clear?

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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