A rift in the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu-led coalition may lead to new elections, leading some to worry, while others note this development may have been predicted many times over as a precursor to better, much more Messianic times.
The rift came about after Hamas fired almost 500 missiles into Israel last week. Avigdor Liberman, the Soviet-born Defense Minister and long-time political Netanyahu ally, quit his position, claiming that calling a ceasefire was “surrendering to terror.” Liberman’s departure put Netanyahu’s slender coalition out of balance.
Naftali Bennett, Education Minister and head of the Jewish Home Party, saw the crisis as an opportunity, demanding the position vacated by Liberman, a position he has coveted since the coalition was first formed after the elections two years ago. If Bennett pulls his party from the coalition, it will drop from 61 Knesset seats, the bare minimum required for a majority in the 120 seat Knesset, to 53.
The Prime Minister dealt with the infighting by appointing himself Defense Minister, chastising the errant ministers in a speech at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Sunday night.
“We are in the midst of a military campaign, and you don’t abandon during a campaign, you don’t play politics,” Netanyahu said. “The security of the state is above all else.”
If Netanyahu’s best efforts fail to bring harmony to the coalition, he may be forced to call for early elections. Though elections may end Netanyahu’s long sojourn in the prime minister’s chair, some believe it will mark the beginnings of an entirely new, far more Messianic era.
Netanyahu’s most solid connection to the Messiah was through Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitch Chabad leader who died in 1994. The two first met in 1984 when Netanyahu was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Before Netanyahu returned to Israel in 1988 to join Likud, the Rebbe gave him advice which proved to be at least partly prophetic.
“You will fight with 119 people,” presaging the coalition troubles that are plaguing the Prime Minister to this day.
Rabbi David Nachshon, a close friend of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu who witnessed the dialogue, related that the Rebbe was confident that some great good would come out of Netanyahu’s political trials.
“It really pains me, as a friend, as a brother, as a close friend, to see how people constantly spill Netanyahu’s blood,” Rabbi Schneerson confided to Nachshon. “But I have a surprise for you, he’s going to come out of it, and he’ll stand tall, on G-d’s side. He has a promise from the Rebbe, and he’s going to make it through this. We’ve seen it happen up to now, and that’s how it’s going to be now as well. He will make it through this, and he will continue, and I hope he’ll be able to hand his keys over to Moshiach (the Messiah), and we’ll have the complete and true Redemption.”
The Lubavitch Rebbe was not the only prominent tzaddik (righteous man) with high expectations for Netanyahu. Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, one of the most influential Sephardic spiritual leaders of the century who passed away in 2006 at the age of 106, met with Netanyahu in 1997 during his first term as prime minister. Rabbi Kaduri whispered a long message into the politicians ear. Rabbi Shmuel Shmueli, a follower of Rabbi Kaduri, revealed that Kaduri had always maintained that Netanyahu would serve a very long time and after his term in office, the Messiah would arrive. Before his death, Kaduri had said that he expected the the Jewish Messiah, to arrive soon, and that he had met him a year earlier.
In May, Breaking Israel News reported the opinion of Rabbi Levi Sudri, noted the many parallels between the current prime minister and Jonathan, the son of Biblical King Saul. Sudri suggested that Netanyahu is serving the function of Moshiach ben Yosef (Messiah from the house of Joseph) the first half of the two stage Messianic process.
Moshiach ben Yosef is a practical, mundane process that includes the ingathering of the exiles and building up of the Land of Israel. The second stage, Moshiach Ben David (Messiah from the house of David) is a miraculous process which includes the reestablishment of the Davidic Dynasty and the completion of the Third Temple.
Rabbi Sudri explained that as the reincarnation of Jonathan and the manifestation of Moshiach ben Yosef, Netanyahu is paving the way for the more transcendent Moshiach ben David who will immediately follow.
“It is very clear that we see in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he is fulfilling his destiny as Moshiach ben Yosef, that is to say, the reincarnation of Jonathan,” Rabbi Sudri told Breaking Israel News at the time. “The name ‘Netanyahu’ (נתניהו) is composed of the same letters as the name, “Jonathan (יהונתן).”
This sentiment was repeated by Rabbi Moshe Ben Tov, known for his ability to perceive the past and present of people by gazing at the mezuzah on their door. After attaching a mezuzah in the prime minister’s office, Rabbi Ben Tov made a remarkable statement to the prime minister.
“It is very important that your love of Israel continue until the Moshiach comes because you are going stay in office and are going to meet him,” Rabbi Ben Tov said to Netanyahu. “You are the one who will give him the keys to this office.”
Perhaps the most powerful message connecting current political events to the Messiah came from the most obscure source. Almost exactly one year ago, a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) 31-year old Israeli woman named Talia Caroline Eliyahu was going through a spiritual crisis after giving birth. She sensed a dark presence in her home. One night, she awoke to change her baby’s diaper. When she returned to sleep, she dreamt of a large chariot with many people in it, including a member of her family. She followed the chariot into a large room where many people were being beaten.
In that room, she encountered her deceased grandmother who said, “You are partly here and partly there.”
She also saw many holy rabbis she recognized, some alive and some already deceased. One of the rabbis she recognized was Rabbi Dov Kook, a well-known mystic from Tiberias.
“When the government of Netanyahu crumbles, it is time to get ready for the Moshiach,” Rabbi Kook told her in the dream.
Talia’s vision is taken seriously in her community of Haredi Jews, even more so now that current events indicate they may have relevance.