“Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace”.
These words describe the Torah, the five books of Moses, which encompass the L-rd’s laws given to the Jews from the mountain in the midst of the wilderness. The books set forth the ten commandments as inscribed by the finger of G-d, as well as the Oral Laws, which were written to preserve eternal knowledge.
They encompass a major body of work setting down the history of the Jewish people and their lineage; their chronology throughout the reign from family patriarchs, to the growing body split into tribes; side forays where they were ruled by others; returned rule to judgeship and prophets; succeeding, eventually, to kings in their successions.
Dispersion brought us out of the land G-d gave to us and thrust us to the four corners of the earth, with promises for our eventual in-gathering and return. The gathering of the Exiles has been happening ever since, but has been most noteworthy in the past century, with the accelerated rate of our return to Israel and the acknowledgment of its occurence as witnessed by the rest of the world.
King Saul was the first-named Jewish king. He was followed by King David, the shepherd boy from Bethlehem (our favorite); after which David’s son, Solomon (Shlomo), reigned. It was Solomon who is credited the collection of wise sayings found in the pages known as Proverbs, included as part of the Jewish Bible.
This proverb (Proverbs/3:17) affirms that the word of G-d contains within it the proper path in which the Jewish people are to follow in order that their lives will reach their happiest fulfillment with length of days. Our prayers maintain that these Laws and these ways should be always on our mind, as if we were wearing blinders to block out other distractions and to give our full-fledged focus to this task.
The premise is a repeated one throughout the entirety of the Bible. It features in the many stories of the enemies who have come up against the Jews, and had been either defeated, or victorious, relevant to how closely the Jews had acted in accord with G-d’s commands. If the Jews had followed G-d’s accords closely, they were treated favorably by G-d and were blessed. If they had fallen to worship of strange mannerism and custom not relayed as appropriate for them by G-d, then they were sorely punished and often met their downfall.
I have seen this directly in my own life. If I look back, I see how I have not been hewing to the ways established for me, and my life has suffered. As much as you put into it, is how much you will get from it. What you reap is what you have sown — both in the positive sense, and in the negative sense.
It is for this reason that I’m thinking that perhaps Israel ought to consider becoming a theocracy, as it once was. It was during those times, at least when the ruling kings of Israel were pious and listened to their Prophets, that Israel was a great and admired nation, with extensive land holdings in the Middle East, as well as great wealth. Our ports were humming with trade from nations far and wide, and Israel was a respected and feared nation.
King Solomon, David’s son, was a wise and great man. In addition to the book of Proverbs left as one of his legacies, he built the First Temple of G-d in Jerusalem. Our leaders in those days had great relations with other regional leaders, such as those of Tyre and Sidon. Other civilizations were more than happy to send their best craftsmen to work building Israel’s important edifices or other structures. It is still the case today where Israel has better employment opportunities than can be found in the vicinity of other places within the Middle East, but the respect and willingness to deal with Israel as it exists, nowadays, has all but evaporated.
Let us remember that our Bible stories were accurate depictions of the times and attitudes that reigned in those days. If we were to apply the same fortitude to living with the paths set before us today, as we had so long ago, then we might be able to see clear to being that light unto the nations that our nation deservedly needs to be.
We don’t need to return to the monarchy just yet, if at all. I do vaguely remember there being some consternation in the religious line to G-d, which frowned somewhat at our freewill choice to become like other nations by ruling as they did — with a man over us, rather than by directly by G-d. However, once the decision was made, G-d kindof got on board in trying to help us find those worthy enough to reign.
Israel presently runs on two separate systems: a Democratic Parliament, which is entirely secular, and via a consortium of religious bodies running in the background handling religious needs. One would hardly know the religious entity exists. Perhaps we could bring that to the fore. Perhaps Israel could be a religious country again, and just be a theocratic Democracy — meaning that positions would still be voted for, and elections would still be run, but just under the banner of Judaism. We could make Judaism king again.
That would help put to rest any gainsay regarding the direction toward which the naysayers and detractors think the country ought to be headed. It would remain Jewish, as it has been for millenia (with exceptions) and as it was recognized to be, yet still, as a Jewish national home, as per the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
In our Democratic fashion, we could still take a vote on whether Israel should become a theocratic Democracy. It could still retain the Parliamentary style rule that it has been using for decades, if it finds this preferential. So, it would be a Democratic Parliamentary theocracy. That would be interesting. It might even be a first. The only thing close I can think of would be the Saudi kingdom, because it is ruled as a theocracy, but it is also run as a monarchy. The problem is that it has become almost a “thuggocracy” due to nepotism, demanding that all relatives of the Saudi family be placed in ruling government positions. Alot of them do rise to the challenge, but not all are entirely meant to be doing what they’re doing. It could also be an open door to corruption, if one lets it.
Seeing as how the United Nations roundly condemns Israel, the single Democracy in the Middle East, yet never takes to task the human rights violations of those other nations surrounding Israel, such as the inequal, second-class status of women, or the staggering amount of violence of the continued wars waged against the Jews and Israel, it would seem utterly appropriate that the United Nations would be pleased to accept Israel as a sister-state in theocracy, given their self-same acceptance of all others.
Doing so would coaelesce the government into a more unified body, and the citizenry would still benefit under the state in its fairly well-established standards of education and economy. They would still be better off than living in many places elsewhere. And as before, the United Nations would have to find this arrangement acceptable where the citizenry is concerned, since they find it acceptable in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. Standards must be applied equally, and Israel has been condemned as a democracy by the United Nations and by the world for far too long.
To everything there is a season, a time, and a purpose. Perhaps it is now the time and the season for a change.
Update (July 24, 2018):
And, so it did. Israel just passed in The Knesset a law reiterating and stressing the primal character and nature of the State of Israel as Jewish. While not a theocracy, Israel still retains its democratic character, while making the foundations of the thousands of years of Jewish rule and sovereignty over the area clear to outsiders and enemies, who wish to deligitimize the ancient and continual ties to the Jewish land that has existed for millenia:
Read here for an idea on the Basic Law as propounded, with further analysis:
Gherkin, Paul. “Deciphering the 2018 Basic Law in Israel — the Nation State of the Jewish People”. firstonethrough.wordpress.com; July 23, 2018: