A number of readers took my post on Meir Ariel's "Surviving Pharaoh" song to be a comparison between the early 1980s and now.
This actually wasn't my intention, which was rather to say that long-term perspective is important and quite comforting. We've gotten out of lots of tight spots, and today's isn't even that bad. However, since the comparison was made, I might as well address it directly.
Since the early 1980s the Soviet Union has disappeared, removing the superpower that armed most of our enemies. The disappearance also enabled more than a million Soviet Jews to move to Israel, greatly strengthening us and transforming us in many ways, most of them positive or extremely positive. Nor has the transformation exhausted itself yet.
The Oslo process, tho disastrous in many ways, clarified to Israeli society that it had irrevocably abandoned the dream of controlling all of what was once Mandatory Palestine, while the Palestinians had not abandoned the mirror dream. This dual understanding gave Israel a political coherence and broad consensus which are enormously powerful. The reason we never blinked during the black years of 2001-2003, as the Palestinians did their best to bring us to our knees by systematically murdering civilians, was this re-affirmed understanding of the fundamental dynamic, in which we are right but willing to compromise, while the Palestinians wish us gone and are not willing to compromise.
The economic conditions are incomparable. 25 years ago Israel was limping along; today it's an economic powerhouse (well, compared to its tiny size).
Then there's the relation to the world. In the 1980s Israel was hated by the Arab world, the Communist world, and the so-called Third World. (The Economist once quipped that the Non-Aligned Nations lost the ability to be non-aligned against the West once the Soviet Union was gone). Today Israel is still hated by the Arab world, even by most of the Muslim world, though the animosity has its gradations, and manipulating them can be useful. The Soviet world is no more, but some parts of it are staunchly pro-Israel (Poland, say, or the Czech Republic), or cynically so, such as Russia itself. Much of the Third World deals with us on Realpolitik tracks, such as the Brazilian president, hardly a good friend, who recently visited us for his own purposes. The two most significant changes, however, have been the relations with China and India, both of which are vastly better now than then. Both are ancient civilizations which spent their first two or three millennia having no interaction with the Jews - and thus, no built-in anti Jewish conditioning.
Seen in historical terms, rather than news-cycle ones, the decline of Europe and the rise of India and China is probably a fine thing for Israel and the Jews, so long as we take advantage of them - and we seem to be aware of this.