Despite the personal animosity between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, there is an amazing similarity between the two. Both are at the lowest popularity ratings of the careers as heads of state (Obama, 38% approval; Netanyahu, 32% approval). Both are extremely eloquent speakers with poor records of follow-through. Both have led to eroding deterrence in the international military arena. Both have been caught by surprise by their enemies, Obama by ISIS and Netanyahu by the Hamas tunnels. What does this all mean? Why do our two countries have leaders who flounder in the muck and mire of mediocrity? Who's responsible?
Hashem is. If our leaders were so fantastic, we might be naive enough to depend on them. But, since we know that they are so blatantly independable, we must depend on Hashem - on Him only, and on nothing or no one else.
The Israeli media as a whole seems to be selectively ignoring Barak Ravid's report that Hamas is already repairing its tunnels and is back to producing M75 rockets, capable of hitting the Tel Aviv area. Meanwhile, Hizbulla - with 10 times the firepower of Hamas - has apparently dug assault tunnels with cross Israel's northern border. Everyone in government here appears to be in a deep sleep. Rather than handle the real pressing issues, the unfinished war in the south, the Hizbulla threat from Lebanon and the Al Nusra and ISIS threats lurching all the time from Syria, the Israeli government has renewed its hostilities against the Haredi population. As our sages said repeatedly, those who are kind to the cruel end up being cruel to the kind. If that's not enough, rather than preparing for battle against the real enemies, the IDF brass is preparing for battle against each other. Only Hashem can help us...
As I predicted repeatedly in recent weeks, the Israeli government has once again misinterpreted the current lull. Hashem has freed us from war to give us a chance to assess ourselves calmly and to return to Him before Rosh Hashana. If we do, our enemies will self-destruct. But Heaven forbid, if people view the temporary quiet as a license to sit in sidewalk cafes and open shopping malls on Shabbat, then the next wake-up call will be much louder. We don't want to go there. Elul is the time to arouse from spiritual slumber - don't delay!