I haven’t been writing much in this blog in recent weeks for a couple of reasons – first, I’ve been working on a writing project of my own, and second, and perhaps more relevant to readers of this blog, the news of the world – specifically in the United States vis a vis all things Trump and in Israel vis a vis all things this most extreme Israeli coalition government in the 75-year history of the Jewish state, is exhausting. Add to the troubles in America and Israel, the criminal war waged by Russia against Ukraine that has cost the lives of thousands is disheartening. Is it any wonder that so many of us are weary?

As I listen to podcasts and read the news, talk by zoom and skype with Israeli friends, I honestly can’t keep up with what’s happening every day in Israel with the radical revolution currently underway against Israel’s democratic system of government. The only light that has begun to peak through the clouds was posted on Haaretz last night. In a report three, and possibly four members of Netanyahu’s Likud party are calling for a freeze of all legislation being rammed through the Knesset. The fly on the camel’s back that hopefully is bringing it to its knees seems to be the reaction of Israel’s air force reservists who say they will not report for duty in an undemocratic government of Israel. Add to that the fact that the Israeli shekel has lost much of its value, international companies decided that investment in an un-democratic Israel is unwise, that for the past three months massive demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of Israeli protestors across political and religious lines have taken to the streets, and that the international Jewish community including leaders who never criticized Israeli government actions before are doing so now, and what we’re witnessing is evidence of the tearing of the fabric of what has kept the Jewish people together around Israel for the past 75 years.

There are many conclusions we might draw about what is happening in Israel; extremists from the nationalist ultra-religious segments of society are pushing their uncompromising agenda to transform Israel’s judicial system and create, in essence, a one party government and are annexing de facto on the way to de jure the West Bank into Israel, and Bibi is letting them because they hold the sword of Damocles over his head. If he denies any of them what they want, he risks losing his ruling coalition and either the government falls, he tries to create a new ruling coalition, or new elections are called. With new elections, Bibi could well lose the leadership of his party and the government, and the court cases against him could cost him his freedom. It seems as though Bibi is willing to sacrifice Israel’s democracy for his personal ends.

Which leads us to Trump. The slow pace of the judicial system in bringing indictments against him in Florida, Georgia, New York, and in the DOJ has allowed this despicable human being and twice impeached ex-president to pollute the media to an extent I haven’t seen in my lifetime. Trump’s attack on anyone involved in his prosecution as “animals” supported by George Soros, is on its face blatant racism and antisemitism. It’s no longer dog-whistles. It’s a fog-horn of hate. Watching him speak on his “Trust Social” is to watch an infuriated, deeply disturbed and terrified man who has taken the Roy Cohn rule-book to the extremes – deny – deflect – distract – divide – never back down – never apologize – never admit wrong – attack – self-justify – humiliate one’s enemies – stoke racism, antisemitism and hate – do whatever is necessary; common decency be damned; the rule of law be damned; the truth be damned; America’s democratic traditions be damned. The fact that few, if any Republicans are standing up to this anti-American and traitorous ex-President is a source of shame the likes of which America has never seen before in our 236 year history since the adoption of the US Constitution.

It’s all so exhausting. Are you feeling it as I am? Are you seeking comfort away from the news and tumult? What are you doing to distract yourself from the toxin in America and Israel?

It’s difficult to turn away not only because what we’re watching is so unprecedented in both countries, but because so much is at stake. That said, each of us, I would hope, has some means of finding relief from it all – exercise, sleep, healthy eating, being with our spouses, life-partners, friends, seeing children and grandchildren, reading fine literature, doing art, writing, etc. etc. etc.

I’m trying all these strategies, and they help me, to an extent, maintain perspective. That said, the next two weeks in Israel before Pesach will be determinative, and hopefully, indictments based on solid evidence will be brought against the former American President. We can only hope that in both countries, our leaders will step away from the brink, do what’s right for the common good, and allow both great nations to begin to heal from the distortions and aberrations.

Shavua tov!