I just was in the area of the King David Hotel where Obama will be staying tomorrow. I was surprised how Israel is genuinely excited and curious regarding Obama's trip. This cautious optimism tinged with uncertainty and curiosity is a microcosm of what is going on in Israeli society now in all areas.
With the passing of Rav Eliashiv - there really is no more "Daas Torah" - even as a formality. There is a growing number of New Chareidim who are officially considered part of the Chareidi world - but who are looked at with grave fear from the mainstream. They work, read Mishpacha magazine and yet are committed to the values of the Yeshiva World. My niece who attends a Chareidi seminary for American girls here in Jerusalem - was recently told in all seriousness by a teacher that the New Chareidim constitute a serious threat to the Chareidi way of life and authority. My niece wasn't sure what New Chareidim are and why they are so dangerous - as she leads a very sheltered chareidi life - typical of many American chareidim. She couldn't understand why Israeli chareidim are so afraid of a way of life which is typical in America.
With the exclusion of the Charedim from government - there is no more "protexia". There is a growing concern about young men being drafted into the army - or at least being threatened with that possibility - as well as concerns for where the money to continue the Chareidi lifestye is coming from. There is a palpable fear that Lapid is looking to destroy Torah institutions - but also a clear awareness that the realities of Israel politics might result in him be a very positive and constructive force for the Chareidim. There is no question that the old model for existence is increasing impossible as the Chareidi population balloons. What was good for a small minority 50 years ago - can no longer provide a viable structure for what we have today. But the so-called leaders are not providing an alternative - but are themselves waiting to see what develops.
Obama really doesn't have an agenda anymore. Without a peace plan or a possibility of one with the Palestinian camp, he is coming to explore what the relationship with Israel will be. It definitely will be one which both sides join to fight against terrorism and Iran. But neither side knows what the relationship will look like in the near future or even can imagine what it should be.
Netanyahu has formed a government of his nightmares - but realistically it might be the best thing that has happened to him - and Israel. There is great possibility for change - both good and bad - that didn't exist even a month ago.
Thus Israeli and in particular the Chareidi society is facing a New World - without a road map or even clear leadership. In essence the whole society has been thrown up into the air and no one really knows what it will look like or even what it could look like in the near future of several months - as it comes down to earth. There is no question that G-d runs the world - but we would be happier to have some idea of what this world will look like by Rosh HaShanna of this year.