For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
The politics of the Arabic-speaking world are going to face some serious challenges during 2010. Probably none of them, however, will have anything to do with the Arab-Israeli issue, despite the overwhelming attention and exaggerated importance usually given to that question by outside observers.
Unquestionably, the leading problem will be dealing with an increasingly powerful Iran and its sidekick Syria which aren’t being contained by the United States. The Arabs, after all, live in the neighborhood and if they conclude that America can’t or won’t protect them, they’ll have to cut their own deal combined with finding some way to defend themselves better.
Already we’ve seen huge gains for Iran in 2009 which U.S. policymakers seem largely to ignore:
--The Saudis have reduced their level of confrontation with Iran and Syria, especially abandoning their attempt to block Tehran’s influence in Lebanon.
--The Lebanese moderate May 14 movement has bowed to Iranian-backed Hizballah in setting up a government which won’t do anything Tehran doesn’t like.
--While the full extent of Iranian intervention in Yemen is not clear, it seems like Tehran is backing a tribal revolt which is extending its influence into a new area.
--Western reluctance to raise sanctions and the ease with which Iran fooled and made fools of the West over the nuclear weapons’ issue seems to show that Iran holds the stronger hand. Russia and China are basically defending Iran’s interests in avoiding international pressure. Despite the Obama Administration having set dedlines of September and December, as 2010 begins, the implementation of higher sanctions is still months away.
--While many think that opposition demonstrations and protests have weakened the regime, in a real sense it emerged as stronger. Other factions were forced out of the leadership; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders occupied more positions of importance. The spiritual guide accepted both the IRGC role and the reelection of President Ahmadinejad, despite his past economic mismanagement and the supposed international or domestic costs. In other words, the regime proved how tough it was which in that part of the world is a major asset.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"