The storming of the Capitol on January 6th, impeachment in the House on the 13th, and a polarized social, political, and economic climate left in its wake — that is where we stood alongside President Biden at his inauguration on the 20th, and unfortunately likely much of his term as well.
As an Israeli resident watching the horrific events in the United States of this past January, I have noticed the headlines comparing the political climate of the United States to that of the Jewish state. I have read comparisons, reassurances, and bluntly put, ignorance, in regards to the situation’s undeniably similar circumstances. As reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Yaakov Katz wrote, “the thought that something like this cannot happen in Israel because Israelis are better at security or intelligence is not only arrogant, but naïve. It is the same sentiment that people used to share until November 4, 1995, when Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. Until then, people were sure that something like the JFK assassination could never happen in Israel. It did.”
Protests against the Prime Minister, against the police, and matters such as the IDF draft bill occur on a daily basis. A few weeks ago, I was warned not to walk through a nearby neighborhood to ensure my safety because there was a potentially dangerous protest happening. Not even a half an hour away from where I live, a mob protesting the national lockdown removed a driver from his bus, beat him, and burned his bus to the ground. Similar to the United States, Israel is no stranger to the concept of a protest becoming violent, and neither can the public opinion afford to pretend as such.
The irrefutable commonalities continue, the most notable of them being our leaders. Say what you will about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump, but to ignore the demoralizing effects that their blatantly contradictory and undermining actions have on the institutions that uphold our democracy would simply be absurd. The fact of the matter is that what occurred leading up to the storming of the Capitol, the gradual accumulation of political unrest is not that different from what is happening in Israel. The difference is that we have had the equally traumatizing and awakening opportunity to see our future if we don’t choose to change it.