The election of Naftali Bennett as Prime Minister of Israel seems to be an announcement of change. The Bible gives us some food for thought.
News Desk (19/06/2021 07:30, Gaudium Press): “Rachel gave birth, and her delivery was painful. During the pains of childbirth, the midwife said to her: ‘Do not fear, for you will still have this son’. And as she was about to surrender her soul – for she was already in agony – she called her son Benoni [‘son of my pain’]; but his father called him Benjamin [son of the right]” (Gen 35:16-18).
It is well known how Orientals are much more given to symbolism than Westerners. The passage quoted above clearly demonstrates this. In fact, all the names of Jacob’s sons have their meaning. Naphtali, for example, comes from Rachel’s exclamation: “I fought against my sister before God, and I won” (Gen 30:8).
This past weekend, a rather symbolic event took place: after 12 years in office, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was deposed and Neftali Bennett was installed. The curious thing is that the “son of the right” was deposed and a right-winger, whose name means “I fought against”, took his place. What does that portend?
Was the “son of the right” replaced by the right? Or will the new government fight the old one – hopefully in front of God! – and win, bringing in a new order of things? Will not the “Benoni” period begin for Israel, from which many sons of pain will emerge?
The appearance of the new government could be compared to the birth of Jacob’s last son: it came after many years, in the midst of great agony; it will come bringing death to the previous regime of life, just as Benjamin’s birth brought death to his mother? No wonder Jacob called it a “ravenous wolf; in the morning it devours the prey and in the evening it divides the spoil” (Gen 49:27).
But, on the other hand, he can be compared to Naphtali: fruit of the feud between Leah and Rachel, he bears in his very name of discord. Will he come to establish a coalition, or rather to increase the intrigue between the various parties?
Will it come to a successful birth, but accompanied by a death? Or will it be a success in the midst of a struggle that will not end soon? Only time will tell.
One thing is certain: Much will change, not only in Israel, but throughout the world.
By Miguel de Souza
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