Home February 2017 Punditry. Or Not.

Punditry. Or Not.

0217israelsceneBecause I’m Israeli-by-choice, some credit me with an insider’s view of events in this corner of the world. I have no such credentials. Still, my opinion was frequently sought during the American pre-election period, and I was queried relentlessly about President Trump’s ambassadorial and ministerial choices. I read three to four newspapers every day online and skimmed an almost equal number of newsletters, many of which assumed they were preaching to a receptive and like-minded choir. The need to “be informed” was, at times, all consuming.

I’m going to go out on a limb here are remind everyone—including/especially myself—that I am a religious person. Either with savvy or naivete, I believe that our G-d in Heaven runs the world and the best we can do is play our roles with aplomb. The G-d-thing is, for me, not open to debate, but I’ll never pick a fight with or try to convince others who think differently. Not my kids and certainly not strangers. Politically, I have strong opinions, but am modest enough to know that they don’t amount to more than a drop in history’s ocean and severing relationships over things that are out of our control denotes arrogance.

For what my Cosmo-Girl-On-the-Go opinion is worth, it seems that the conservative side of the Israeli-aisle is satisfied with the appointment of David Friedman as Ambassador from the U.S. ‘Thrilled’ isn’t a word we use loosely here, because we’ve been thrown under the diplomatic bus too often not to feel a tad wary. Nevertheless, he’s a Torah-observant guy whose history indicates that he senses the on-the-ground reality that many conveniently ignore. Satisfaction with this appointment doesn’t really amount to much in the public sector because we understand that the ambassador remains an extension of the President and does America’s bidding.

I had the opportunity to meet President Obama’s designate, Dan Shapiro, a few times during his eight-year term, and I can confidently state that he is a nice man. So nice, in fact, that he often appeared embarrassed in his role of Court Jew, defending his employer when the Israeli public felt that they were, again—and again—being held to standards reserved just for us. He was so nice, in fact, that typically brash Israelis held back from ripping into his frequently vapid-justifications. On a devilish personal note, I would have loved to learn that he’s “gone native” and is standing on line for his Israel Identity Card at this very moment.

Keeping my public mouth shut about this past American election was a difficult exercise, but I’d been bullied/warned by American friends on the left to mind my own political business. I cherish those friendships and did not wish to enter fruitless debates that traditionally leave everyone bloodied, angry and forever suspicious of one another. This isn’t to say that I don’t have extremely strong thoughts about the before, during and after players. But only those who are related to me by blood or second marriage are privy to these passionate views.

New York native Andrea Simantov has lived in Jerusalem since 1995. She writes for several publications, appears regularly on Israel National Radio and owns an image consulting firm for women.

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