Home > Ira Sharkansky, Iran, Iraq, Israel > An Israeli columnist’s 2010 predictions

An Israeli columnist’s 2010 predictions

By Ira Sharkansky

JERUSALEM–This is the season for projecting a continuation of what has been. Some of you have accused me of cynicism. Some have called me a realist. No one should be surprised by what follows.
Overseas observers will report on Israel’s military exercises in preparation for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. There won’t be a comment from the IDF, the prime minister or defense minister. Other leading officials will express their threats. Iranians will bluster against Israel and about their own rights, while they hold off home grown opponents, and reports leak out about the casualties. President Obama will express regrets and vague comments about Iran’s nuclear program, international sanctions, and the rights of Iranians.
The White House will see progress in Iraq, hopeful signs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and maybe even in Somalia.
Congress will add a thousand or two pages worth of patches to health benefits and regulations. There will be a theatrical presidential signing and declaration of success. HMOs and insurance companies will scour the legislation for their opportunities, and Americans who think that they have health insurance will wrestle with new regulations and paperwork. It will take a while to know if they move up from the bottom of the heap for life expectancy and other health indicators.
Israeli officials will not say no to the deal for Gilad Shalit. Neither will they say yes to the demands of Hamas. 
The leaders of SHAS will lament homosexuality.
Ultra-Orthodox rabbis will curse and demonstrate about the violation of Shabbat, and mumble or be silent when some of their colleagues protest the actions of police and judicial personnel who move against those who behave unconventionally.
Mahmoud Abbas will remain the president of the Palestine National Authority (West Bank) and travel the world urging potential allies to recognize his country in its historical boundaries of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital. The election originally scheduled for January 2009, and more recently January 2010, will be pushed ahead to a more appropriate date.
Israeli activists will claim that their country has the least desirable scores in the world, or (more modestly) among Western democracies on traffic accidents, economic inequality, environmental quality, the accomplishments of school children, higher education, the unrepresentative nature of the political system, religious persecution, the violation of minority rights, international laws of war and the rights of refugees.
With Jews helping to lead them, international promoters of peace and justice will say Amen to that listing of sins, and do what they can to condemn, disinvest, and impose other sanctions.
Most of those bothering to read this will still be here a year from now. I hope to be among you.

Sharkansky is professor emeritus of political science at Hebrew University

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