March 28, 2023
Sondra Oster Baras
After weeks of aggressive demonstrations in the streets of Israel against the Government’s proposed judicial reform, in the past few days, things reached a frenzy that was truly frightening. More and more officers, soldiers and reserve fighters declared their refusal to serve if the reform passes. A fighter pilot was filmed making an outrageous statement: “If the reform goes forward, there will be no attack against Iran.” When I heard that statement, I literally trembled. What is happening in our country? How many red lines have been crossed?
On Saturday night, Yoav Galant, Israel’s Minister of Defense, announced that the IDF was in danger. Talk of refusal to serve was spreading and it was truly frightening. He called upon the government to halt the process to enable dialogue. Netanyahu responded by firing Galant. That triggered larger and more aggressive demonstrations than ever before. All night Sunday night, people were on the streets demonstrating. They closed down a major highway and started fires in the middle of the road. The police seemed powerless, or unwilling, to stop the craziness.
On Monday, the unions and major companies joined forces to announce a general strike on Tuesday. The Airports Authority announced an immediate cessation of all flights to and from Israel. Highways were blocked all over the country. It was insane. It was clear that Netanyahu would have to halt the legislation. Things could not get much worse.
And indeed, just after 8 pm last night, Netanyahu faced the nation and called a halt to the process for the next few months to enable dialogue. He remained committed to judicial reform but admitted that it needed to be passed through consensus.
He opened his speech with a powerful Biblical Story. “Three Thousand Years ago” he began and proceeded to tell the story of King Solomon and the argument between two women who both claimed they were the mother of a newborn baby. Solomon in his infinite wisdom suggested that the baby be cut in half and each mother would receive half. One mother agreed. The other one agreed to give up her claim to the baby to save his life. She, of course, was the real mother.
Netanyahu then proceeded to explain that both sides of our heated debate are convinced they are right. He conceded that most of the protesters are truly concerned and convinced that the reform will damage Israel’s democracy. But a small, extreme minority are moving the country to a frenzy. And the frenzy, rightly or wrongly, is causing real damage to the country. Therefore, Netanyahu announced, he would freeze the legislative process for judicial reform for a few months, to enable real dialogue and consensus. Like the mother of the baby, Netanyahu was not willing to destroy the nation, to cut it into shreds, just to persist in what he is convinced is the right approach to improving the judicial system.
I have to say I am relieved. Netanyahu really had no choice but to halt the process that was creating such a terrible situation in the country. And I hope that the opposition will truly take advantage of this break to enter into real dialogue with the government. Dialogue means compromise. No side will get everything they want. But if the opposition continues to manipulate, to persist in its demonstrations, refusing to halt without a total surrender of the government’s positions, then nothing will be accomplished. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of demonstration leaders and some Members of Knesset who persist in their insistence that their way has to prevail. Only time will tell if there are enough responsible adults to find the right path.
What does disturb me and many on the right, however, is the fact that the left practically pointed a gun at our foreheads, extorting the government to stop. This government was fairly elected. They represent a clear majority of the nation who wanted a conservative government and real change in the judicial system which has been stacked against the right for decades. But when the opposition crossed the lines, when directors of high-tech companies threatened to transfer their companies abroad, when investors expressed hesitation if not outright refusal to invest in Israeli companies (as a result of the distorted portrayal of the judicial reform), when high-ranking IDF officers and fighter pilots declare their unwillingness to fight, while our enemies rub their hands in delight at the deterioration of Israeli deterrence, we have no choice. But what does that mean for the country? When there is a left-wing government, will the right threaten to refuse to serve? Will there be two armies — one which follows the orders of right-wing governments and one that follows the orders of left-wing governments? This, of course, is an impossible situation.
In 2005, close to 10,000 Jews were forcibly removed from their homes pursuant to a hugely controversial government decision. We knew it was a mistake and a move that would cost lives. And we can safely say today that we were right, as missiles rain down on Israel every few months from Gaza. We took to the streets and protested. Hundreds of thousands at a time marched in Tel-Aviv, in Jerusalem and in so many other places. There were those who suggested that soldiers refuse to carry out the expulsion order, as an immoral order. But those voices were quickly silenced. We all knew that we had to keep the IDF out of this struggle. We did not block highways, we did not call for general strikes. We protested and when the expulsion order was carried out anyway, we felt that people in high places did not hear our pain.
Today, as we hear the left complaining of the government acting on its democratically-elected right to pass legislation with their Knesset majority, they complain that their feelings and fears are not being heard. They are frustrated and I can really understand how they feel. I understand how they feel because I was in their shoes in 2005. But those running the demonstrations remain as obtuse as ever to our pain. And that is a problem.
But I refuse to remain stuck in my pain. I understand their pain and I hold out a hope that we will come to an agreement on judicial reform. But at the end of the day, we will only find real healing if each side can feel the pain of the other. I pray that our opponents will learn that lesson.
22 thoughts on “ Israel in its Most Difficult Hour”
This is the typical way that the left, globally, solves their disagreements with everything…violence. Unlike the right, the left don’t care who gets hurt in the process, as long as they get their way, like a petulant child.
We are praying for you all in the UK thank you for keeping us updated our thoughts are with you – prayers for wisdom
I have been amazed at how quickly organised opposition mobilised. I find it hard to believe that all the people involved were left wing led.
I wonder if the situation was exacerbated by people’s perceptions of Netanyahu’s past misdemeanours, and a suspicion that he would manipulate the Judiciary for his own benefit?
I don’t think Israel can ever be fully ‘democratic’ because that is not their calling. Whether they like it or not, believe it or not, they are a people set apart for G-d’s purposes.. chapter 19 of Exodus (esp. verse 6). The voice of holiness in Judaism must not be ignored.
Sondra, your assessments are well stated, and I couldn’t agree with you (and Netanyahu) more. Similarly, I well recall the foolish Gaza giveaway as I was summoned to a very private meeting in Washington D.C. with Ehud Olmert on the eve of the historical “giveaway.” Actually, I was tasked with providing a list of approximately 30 leading evangelical pastors, with the hope that Ariel Sharon would be persuaded not to abandon the Gaza. (Have photos of that historic meeting if you like). Anyway, we obviously didn’t prevail. Nevertheless, we evangelicals love Israel much, and continue to pray fervently for you, your fellow countrymen, and peace for all Israel.
Hi Sondra. Be assured that many Christians in Scotland have been praying for the situation in Israel.
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem. This only gives the left more incentive to continue their brazen practices, sorry to say.
We pray for peace in Jerusalem. This should be the desire of every Christian. But know, it not happen until Jewish people, indeed all Israel recognises that Yeshua ha Masiach is indeed THE MESSIAH, the long-promised Messiah. Understand that and embrace Him and all will be different in the Land
Many thanks,Sondra for keeping us updated.
We sincerely appreciate your dedication to keep us informed and remind us of what you are thinking, your family and friends have and are experiencing.,in the Heartland.
When loved ones are behaving recklessly “As long as there is life, there is hope.”
Your hope for Israel in this case is our hope.
Prayers,Love,Blessings and Shalom
Joyce and Charles Dixon
If I were the boss (lol) I would find one thing both sides can agree on. Pass that one thing into law. then work on the next. Maybe there are two things both sides would agree on. Then, publicize it again and again. It takes baby steps to deal with the childish and selfish. I know, there will always be those who vote against a bill because it doesn’t go far enough.
Thank you for keeping us informed. There is unrest all over the world. I am keeping you and all of Israel in my prayers daily. We cannot be silent. I am confident that G-d hears our prayers and He alone will grant us peace and strength in the midst of our trials. Many blessings to you dear Sandra. Sharon from South Carolina
Charles and I from NC responded to this much appreciated update from Sondra .I noticed you are from SC.
We are hosting CFOIC this Wednesday in North Myrtle Beach,SC April 12from 11:30-1pm for a luncheon At Windamere ,Meeting Room .God willing we have planned for many years and.hope and pray this gathering will be the beginning of many prayerful and supportive CFOIC gatherings there in the area.Please pray for doors of opportunities to open there! Blessings,Joyce Dixon from (NC)
HaShem said that the Hebrew people are a stiff neck people. There is nothing but rebellion in the souls of the nation. and so it is, can the nation become a society of justice, truth and righteousness or will it go down the path of rebellion just like its ancestors.
We are praying for the Peace of Israel/Jerusalem.May God Almighty prevail in Israel
Is ont thé Time for Israël to turn to GOD for help?
Thanks for sharing with us. I am sure HaShem’s entervetion will prevail. I am pleased that Benjamin Netanyahu has rich understanding and knowledge of the Living Word for the Living G-d. He is my favourite leader because of that. Now, let him declare prayer to the Nation. As he once did for the Bible to read by all.
Israel is not like other nations. Israelis are G-d chosen people who should seek His presence and leadership in everything they do.
Israel is a light and blessing to all mankind. That is why they survive in whatever circumstances they may face. Let’s go back to the old way as Jeremiah declared. We have been and praying with you.
Praying that God will intervene and Peace will be restored to Jerusalem and Israel and God will speak to the hearts and minds to the government, the armies and all affected
Sondra, thanks for this update! Our thoughts turn to Psalm 122:6 and WE ARE PRAYING! Your article gives us HOPE and insight from one in the land we so love!
Rita Bates Jones
This is only the beginning of sorrows, not only for Israel but for the whole world. All Christians, at least the one’s I know, are supportive of Israel, but understand that there can be no peace for this distressed planet until Messiah establishes it. Read Zachariah.
Great Article Girl!!! And Exactly the Right Discernment on this matter I Have to Add Sondra!!! God is Good, and I Believe He is With Bibi in Everything in these last days. Praying for Israel, Praying for Lost Souls to be Won for Christ, and Praying that God brings about His Will, and that We Stand With Him Thru Everything that comes at us, and Certainly Praying for Your Wonderful Ministry-
Sondra and CFOIC team, toda for breaking this down for us. I appreciate your insight from Eretz Israel, especially since you hold to the biblical promises given to Avraham, his seed and the land. We are continuing to pray for the Knesset leadership and Jews in Eretz Israel and the diaspora, that G-d will bring everyone into harmony with His will. Shalom
Prayers for Wisdom among your leaders and Peace among Israeli citizens.
The one thing that I heard that was incongruent with what I saw was the media comment that spontaneous protests erupted when your PM fired one of his cabinet officers. Yet the crowd they showed seemed organized in advance as they were wearing the same red shirts. Seemed a little staged and pre-funded to me.
I see an insidious manipulation of government here, and I am amazed that the arguments for and against these reforms have not been spelt out. What is clear here is that even in Israel the left wing of international politics is as powerful in its manipulation of the population is as powerful as it can be, and the sheer immorality of their thinking comes through Lapid and his gang of amoral clowns is yet another example of this.