Jewish congregations the world over recite a standardized prayer for the wellbeing of the state of Israel, the text of which was promulgated by the country’s chief rabbinate and first published in the newspaper Haaretz in 1948. For years, it was generally assumed that the Ashkenazi chief rabbi at the time, Yitzḥak Halevi Herzog, was the prayer’s author, until, in 1983, an Israeli scholar produced evidence suggesting that the prayer was written by the great Israeli novelist S.Y. Agnon, with Herzog’s imprimatur. A recent discovery by the historian Yoel Rappel has now set the record straight, as Tracy Frydberg writes:
Laying to Rest the Question of Who Wrote the Prayer for Israel’s Government
The Knesset Has Resumed Its Business, but Both Sides Have Broken Unwritten Rules
Yesterday, eleven months of political stalemate in Israel appeared to have come to an end as the sitting prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his main rival, Benny Gantz, agreed to form a unity government together with some of the smaller parties. This development has fractured Gantz’s Blue and White party into its constituent factions. Meanwhile, the resignation of Yuli Edelstein as interim Knesset speaker—a position meant to be occupied for just a few hours, but which he has held for nearly a year—has allowed the Knesset to resume business as usual.