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Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2000 / 4 Tishrei, 5761

Jonathan Tobin

Jonathan Tobin
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Get Out Your Crystal Ball: It’s time to take the 5761 Jewish Pundit Quiz! -- How well did the Jews fare in 5760? The past year had its tragedies as well as its triumphs. In 5761, the fate of Jerusalem is likely to be decided. Or is it? A new American president will be elected and Israelis may go to the polls to decide whether they want a new prime minister.

Whether your name is Bush, Barak or Bibi, the question is, can things get worse?

Yet, before the Almighty writes down just how much worse (or perhaps better), it will be for all of us in the proverbial great Book of Life, I present (with apologies — as always — to New York Times columnist William Safire), the annual “Jewish Pundit Quiz.”

So guess, or should I say prognosticate, along with me about the coming year. My answers are at the bottom of the column.

And remember, if you are worried about the outcome, teshuvah (“repentance”), tefillah (“prayer”) and tzedekah (“acts of justice and charity”), may avert the severe decree! L’Shanah Tova Tikatevu!

1. When the ballots are counted on the evening of Nov. 7, the winner of the U.S. presidential election will be:

a. Al Gore.
b. George W. Bush.
c. Ralph Nader.
d. Pat Buchanan.

2. The Jewish vote in the presidential election for the Democratic ticket of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will be:

a. 99 percent, as communal pride convinces everyone but the Satmar Chasidim to turn out to elect the first Jewish vice president.

b. 90 percent, as the Gore/Lieberman ticket falls short of Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 record Jewish vote (over Barry Goldwater, whose grandfather was Jewish) but is still large enough to help win New York and California easily.

c. 75 percent, as a backlash against President Clinton’s pressure on Israel to divide Jerusalem in an “October surprise” peace deal backfires against the Democrats.

d. 50 percent, as revelations that Joe Lieberman is actually a secret adherent of Tibetan Buddhism and not an observant Jew causes disillusioned Jewish grandmothers to abandon the Democrats.

3. The candidate for the U.S. Senate who will benefit most from a huge Jewish vote will be:

a. Joe Lieberman, as his decision to run for re-election to his Connecticut Senate seat proves to be a wise choice when Gore loses.

b. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose championing of the cause of Jonathan Pollard will trigger a landslide for her among New York Jews.

c. California Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose victory over pro-Arab Republican Tom Campbell will depend heavily on Jewish votes and cash.

d. New Jersey billionaire Democrat Jon Corzine, whose massive campaign expenditures will reap dividends as Jewish TV addicts are mesmerized into supporting him by the unprecedented ad blitz.

e. New York Republican Rick Lazio, who will garner enough Jewish Hillary-haters to pull off an upset win.

4. The number of Jewish members of the House of Representatives in the new Congress will:

a. soar to 56, as Gore/Lieberman coattails help Democrats win back the House.

b. increase to 36, as Democratic gains combine with Republican winners like New Jersey’s Dick Zimmer.

c. stay at 23, as status-quo election aids most incumbents and hurts most challengers

d. decline to 12, as a “Bushslide” helps the GOP hold onto the House.

5. By the end of 5761, the Middle East peace process will:

a. be dead in the water, as a new Likud government will rescind Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s concessions on Jerusalem.

b. have been successfully concluded after Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat’s last-minute acceptance of United Nations control of the Temple Mount.

c. be enmeshed in ongoing negotiations over the future of Jerusalem, as Barak and Arafat sign a deal that puts off a decision on the capital, allowing a Palestinian state to be born without a final-status agreement.

d. be largely forgotten, as Iraq’s second invasion of Kuwait sets off a new Middle East war in which moderate Arab regimes are threatened by a wave of Muslim fundamentalism.

6. Martin Indyk, the current U.S. ambassador to the State of Israel will end 5761:

a. in his new Jerusalem embassy after a Middle East peace agreement finally brings Israel’s capital official U.S. recognition.

b. as a partner of Zionist Organization of America President Morton Klein, who will found Washington’s hottest new political lobbying firm with the former ambassador.

c. in the U.S. penitentiary in Allentown, Pa., after a judge throws the book at him for his mishandling of classified material.

d. back in Australia after retiring from the diplomatic service.

7. At the end of 5761, the prime minister of Israel will be:

a. Ehud Barak, who wins a second-term mandate for peace.

b. Benjamin Netanyahu, whose disastrous term as prime minister is forgotten amid the crackup of Barak’s even more disastrous administration.

c. Bill Clinton, whose surprise aliyah is fueled by his popularity among his Israeli chaverim and a desire to escape Hillary.

d. Ariel Sharon, who beats Barak on the Jerusalem issue after a corruption indictment takes Likud rival Netanyahu out of the running.

e. Natan Sharansky, who becomes Israel’s second prime minister to have done time in the Gulag Archipelago (Menachem Begin was the first).

f. Shas leader Eli Yishai, whose haredi Sephardic party becomes the largest in the new Knesset.

8. The most popular Jew on the talk-show circuit in 5761 will be:

a. 2004 Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Lieberman.

b. Jonathan Pollard, whose release from prison will be followed by a movie of the spy’s life by Steven Spielberg.

c. Barbra Streisand, who will divorce actor James Brolin to move in with former president Bill Clinton.

d. Chelsea Clinton, whose conversion to Judaism before marrying a Stanford classmate is seen as a triumph for Jewish outreach.

e. Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the late Lubavitcher rebbe, whose messianic return from the dead will galvanize the non-Jewish world but remain unaccepted by the majority of American Jews.

9. The most sought-after American Jewish invitation in 5761 will be: a. a Shabbat invitation at the residence of the new vice president.

b. breakfast with Senate superstar Hillary Rodham Clinton.

c. lunch at the White House mess with Matt Brooks, President George W. Bush’s liaison to the Jewish community.

d. a bus ride with 2004 GOP front-runner, Sen. John McCain.

e. dinner at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City with billionaire Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt.

10. The most hotly debated issue among American Jews in 5761 will be:

a. the Middle East peace process.

b. vouchers for private and parochial schools.

c. the battle for federation allocations among American Jewish day-school supporters, advocates for the Jewish poor and adherents of increased funding for overseas needs.

d. whether Jewish newspapers should accept announcements of gay-commitment ceremonies.

Tobin answers: 1. b, 2. b, 3. e, 4. c, 5. c, 6. c 7. b, 8. a, 9. e, 10. d

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. He was the recipient of the American Jewish Press Association's highest awards in two categories: First Place in the Louis Rapoport Award for Excellence in Commentary and Editorial Writing for his column "Israel's China Syndrome -- and Ours" and First Place for Excellence in Arts and Criticism for his column "Jewish Art, Jewish Artists." The awards were given to Mr. Tobin at the AJPA's 2000 Simon Rockower Awards dinner at Washington D.C. on June 22, 2000. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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