Changing of the Guard

Philosopher Jeffrey Woolf, who has a strong background in Medieval thought, notes that his native country of Israel is undergoing a moment akin to a moment in early American history.
There comes a time in the life of nations, that the founders cede dominance to others. It happened in the United States in the 1820’s. In his magisterial study of Andrew Jackson, historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., describes how Virginians and (to a lesser degree) Bostonians strove mightily to maintain their control over the nation that they (and their fathers) had founded. They sought control of its resources, its policies, its values and its culture. They saw all of these being usurped by the uncouth pioneers on the western fringes of the country. These were represented by their bête noire, Andrew Jackson (himself, ironically, a Virginian). As Schlesinger notes, the declining elites made their last stand in the Supreme Court. In the end, they failed.
In Israel's case, the founders were secular and not very interested in reviving religious Judaism. It was a much more popular country in Democratic circles back then. In reviewing this history of government shutdowns, I notice that back during the long era of Democratic control, shutdowns were sometimes resolved in part by increased support to Israel. In those days, this was a concession to Democrats.
Shutdown #9: Tip O'Neill takes on a nuclear missile and wins

When did it take place? Dec.17-21, 1982
How long did it last? 3 days
Who was president? Ronald Reagan
Who controlled the Senate? Republicans, 53-47; Howard Baker was majority leader
Who controlled the House? Democrats, 244-191; Tip O'Neill was speaker
Why did it happen? House and Senate negotiators want to fund $5.4 billion and $1.2 billion, respectively, in public works spending to create jobs, but the Reagan administration threatened to veto any spending bill that included jobs money. The House also opposed funding the MX missile program, a major defense priority of Reagan's.
What resolved it? The House and Senate abandoned their jobs plans but declined to fund the MX missile, or the Pershing II missile (which was a medium-range missile, while the MX was intercontinental). They also provided funding for the Legal Services Corp., which provides legal support for poor Americans and which Reagan had wanted abolished, and increased foreign aid to Israel above what Reagan wanted. While Reagan criticized these moves, he grudgingly signed the bill following a short shutdown.

Shutdown #10: So you can have your missiles but Israel gets some, too

When did it take place? Nov. 10-14, 1983
How long did it last? 3 days
Who was president? Ronald Reagan
Who controlled the Senate? Republicans, 55-45; Howard Baker was majority leader
Who controlled the House? Democrats, 271-164; Tip O'Neill was speaker
Why did it happen? House Democrats passed an amendment adding close to $1 billion in education spending. They also cut foreign aid below what Reagan wanted, adding money for Israel and Egypt but cutting it substantially for Syria and El Salvador, and cut defense spending by about $11 billion relative to Reagan's request. The dispute wasn't resolved before a short shutdown could occur.
What resolved it? House Democrats agreed to reduce their education spending request to about $100 million. They also funded the MX missile, which they had successfully cut funding for during the last shutdown battle. However, they kept their foreign aid and defense cuts, and got a ban on oil and gas leasing in federal animal refuges. The spending bill also added a ban on using federal employee health insurance to fund abortions, except when the mother's life was in danger, similar to the ban already in place for Medicaid (see above). That wasn't as partisan an issue at the time; it was a win for anti-abortion members of both parties (including Reagan and O'Neill) and loss for pro-choice Democrats and Republicans (including Baker).
It is an interesting fact that this state founded along secular nationalist lines -- Jews as ethnic nation, not Jews united by faith in the God of Israel -- has been drifting somewhat away from its secular foundation. The majority there still consider themselves secular, but a rising intensity is on the side of those who are faithful. It's a counterexample to the thesis that modernity and secularism go hand-in-hand, and not the only one.

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