Will Albright enter a yeshiva Take Jewish pundit quiz

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Did you enjoy 5757 or are you among those who think that 5758 can't be any worse? Don't answer that question. As a wise man once said, "It can always get worse." So before the Almighty writes down just how much worse (or perhaps better) it will be for us all in the proverbial great book of judgment, we present, with apologies to William Safire, the second annual "Jewish Pundit Quiz."

Guess, or should I say prognosticate, along with me about some important events in the year 5758. Send in your answers and a year from now we'll see who had the clearest crystal ball. My answers are at the bottom of the column.

1. By the end of 5758, Benjamin Netanyahu will be:

A. Still prime minister at the head of a shaky Likud coalition government, despite the collapse of the peace process.

B. Sitting in an uneasy alliance with Ehud Barak, as a Likud-Labor unity government attempts to implement the final stage of the Oslo peace accords.

C. Working on his memoirs, as well as taking up a new career as a male model ("They call him Bibi") after a right-wing revolt in the Knesset topples his government, which is replaced after a special June 1998 election putting Labor back into power.

D. In divorce court, after wife Sara says she has had enough of him and the Israeli press.

2. After one more year, the Middle East peace process will:

A. Succeed, after a breakthrough agreement between Netanyahu and Arafat (with compromises on territory and Jerusalem) brokered by Madeleine Albright.

B. Be on hold, as the current stalemate is eclipsed in world opinion by the breakout of World War III between expansionist China and Russia. The U.N. ignores larger conflict to keep condemning Israel.

C. Deteriorate into all-out war between Israel and the Palestinians after yet another wave of Hamas terror attacks prods Israel to go into the territories to root out terrorism.

D. Over and done with, as Israel pulls out unilaterally from 50 percent of the territories, leaving Arafat to declare a Palestinian state in the rest, while an uneasy truce reigns.

E. Still limping along, both sides afraid to be the one to end it.

3. By the end of 5758, the Israeli economy will be:

A. Sliding into a depression resulting from the collapse of the peace process.

B. On the upswing, as Netanyahu's plans for free-market reforms finally gain momentum.

C. Heading back to its socialist past, as a revived Histadrut Labor Federation breaks Netanyahu's government by general strikes, forcing Barak to end all privatization and reform efforts.

D. Be at a standstill, as random sunspot activity halts all cellular telephone activity in the Jewish state.

4. In 5758, Albright will be most remembered for:

A. Leaving office to enter a Chabad-sponsored Prague yeshiva, as her return to Judaism comes full circle.

B. Winning the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize for hammering Netanyahu into concessions on Palestinian statehood and Jerusalem.

C. Publicly slugging Yasser Arafat for trying to smooch her during her second visit to the Mideast as secretary of state.

D. Having accomplished nothing to advance peace in the Middle East.

5. In 5758, the cause of Jewish religious pluralism will:

A. Advance, as Netanyahu stands up to religious coalition partners to protect non-Orthodox worship at the Western Wall and forestall changes in Israel's conversion laws.

B. Deteriorate even further, after a clash between haredim and a crowd of Conservative and Reform worshippers at the Wall on Sukkot results in multiple injuries from thrown etrogs and lashings with lulavs.

C. Be more confused than ever, after the Reform and Orthodox movements merge. Reform leaders drop their insistence on patrilineal descent in exchange for the election of Reform leader Rabbi Eric Yoffie as mayor of Jerusalem and allocations from Israel's Ministry of Religion. Conservatives are still left on the outside.

D. Stay the same, as Netanyahu finesses the conversion issue while Conservative and Reform Jews are still denied official Israeli recognition.

6. The most important issue on the American Jewish political agenda will be:

A. Support for campaign fund-raising limits, in spite of the fact that such donations are the key to Jewish power in Washington.

B. Efforts to restore welfare rights for legal immigrants.

C. Banning smoking as rabbis from all denominationsunite to form a new prohibitionist movement.

D. Maintaining support for Israel, as the Clinton administration turns the screws on Netanyahu.

E. Support for school vouchers, as the day-school movement asserts itself as the prime force in contemporary Jewish life.

7. In 5758, the politician most dependent on American Jewish support will be:

A. Newt Gingrich, who hopes his backing of Netanyahu against President Clinton will give him enough Jewish fund-raising muscle to enable him to hold onto the speakership in spite of being the most unpopular man in America.

B. Al Gore, who hopes his loyal support from Jewish Democrats will offset the fund-raising scandals that may sink his presidential hopes.

C. Bill Clinton, who will use his powerful friends in the American Jewish community to pressure Netanyahu into concessions on the peace process.

D. Rudolph Giuliani, who will win two-thirds of the crucial Jewish vote as he crushes Jewish Democrat Ruth Messenger and is re-elected mayor of New York City.

E. Barak, who hopes to parlay American Jews' refusal to back Netanyahu into a power play in Israel.

8. In 5758, Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn), the only Orthodox Jew in the U.S. Senate, will:

A. Be the leading force behind a Congressional victory for school vouchers.

B. Be the presumed front-runner for the Democratic nomination for vice president in the year 2000.

C. Have the largest campaign war chest of any senator with two years to go before re-election.

D. Be chosen as commissioner of major-league baseball and adopt a realignment plan that calls for an unbalanced schedule and no games on Shabbat.

9. The results of the World Zionist Congress elections will be:

A. As expected, a landslide win for the Reform movement's ARZA and the Conservative movement's MERCAZ lists.

B. An upset victory for the Orthodox list, which used the extra month given for registration past the original deadline to register more voters than anyone thought.

C. Disputed, as election monitors accuse all the religious movements of stuffing the ballot boxes.

D. A non-event no matter who wins, because the World Zionist Congress is an entirely superfluous entity that wouldn't be missed if it disappeared tomorrow.

10. The person American Jews will admire most in 5758 will be: A. Albright. B. The late Princess Diana. C. The late Lubavitcher rebbe. D. The Dalai Lama. E. Israel's Minister of Trade and Industry Natan Sharansky. F. Howard Stern. G. Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax.

Tobin's answers: 1. A 2. E 3. B 4. D 5. D 6. A 7. D 8. C 9. D 10. B

Jonathan S. Tobin portrait
Jonathan S. Tobin

Jonathan S. Tobin is opinion editor of JNS.org and a contributing writer at National Review.