Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Ostrich Policy

Elections are over in both the US and Israel. Does our responsibility as voters end now? We have listened to the promises, we have heard the policies and have been told that “change” is at our doorstep, what now? Elected officials are usually held accountable for their actions, sooner or later if we are lucky, but what about those who put them in office?
The recent US elections seemed to be more personal than past elections. During a recent trip to the US, I found that many Jews seemed very defensive about their decision to vote for President Obama. Before any opinions were voiced either way, the entire topic regarding the US elections seemed to be held in some taboo area, with the executive staff being put on a guarded pedestal, not to be questioned or critiqued. I observed as both sides, supporters and opponents, of the new President squared off regarding the results and the possible effects of the changed behavior on Israel, often seeing the supporters of President Obama disconnecting from Israel and disregarding and ignoring the new developing reality in the new administration. I watched as people actually walked away from hearing criticism of the new President’s choices for various offices. It seemed as though any discussion regarding Israel and the new administration was like putting salt on a wound. Most seem to think that if the “Israel question” is ignored it will go away, sort of like an Ostrich putting his head in the sand when threatened. These are not the actions of a responsible citizen or voter.
Whether people feel they made a mistake regarding their choices is irrelevant at this point, they are not excused from their responsibilities of being loyal citizens, no matter who they chose. If their champion is not living up to their expectations, they are not permitted to hide their heads in the sand while mistakes that will cost numerous lives are made, they too are responsible, and they must at least make an effort to right the wrongs. This means being involved, raising your voice, demonstrating and doing something, no one is excused.
It seems that the onslaught on Israel has reached levels never seen in US history. With each new member of the present US administration, new arguments are brought against the only stable democracy and constant US ally in the Middle East, Israel. There is a saying the “enemy of my enemy is my friend”, what is “the enemy of my friend is my friend”?
I understand the US interest in making nice with Arab nations, I find the tactics used to be shallow, but that is just an opinion that countless millions and I share. Most countries become allies because of common values and interests. Friendships are formed when we share common ground. In fact if we look, most US allies have all shared the concept of freedom of religion, democracy, women’s rights and so on. Where is that common ground with the US’s new friends? It seems that the only common denominator between present US policy and Islamic rulers in the Middle East is that of carving up Israel. I guess we should be glad they have what to talk about at Camp David over a plate of Humus.
As the increase of anti-Israel voices gather on the hill, I wonder where are the Jews that voted for this administration? What are they afraid of? Are they not aware of the dangers to the US of the direction being taken?
Yes, peace is made with enemies, but not at the expense of life. 71% or more of US Jews chose Barak Obama as their champion, they should help him make the right choices. Show him the importance of Israel as a secure and strong nation and it’s value to the United States. If you don’t know how important Israel is, look into it, you will find that you will be proud of who you are and not ashamed. Bring back the value of friendship and loyalty. Show him your value, and don’t allow the US Government fall victim to Sharia value. It’s not too late to make a change and have an effect, stand up before you can’t, and do something. There has been enough rhetoric, it is time to act and act strong. Responsibility didn’t end with the last elections, both in the US and Israel. If you need a hand, come over for a visit and we will remind you who you are and what you can do.

Sometimes the want for change can be so strong that it may blind us to other dangers, the more time that heads are kept in the sand, the more likely that someone is going to suffer.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Different View

A Different View
For too many years most Diaspora Jews have viewed Israel as the “poor Jews”, the victims, and of course, “we have to help the poor Israelis”. Who can blame them? Every week they see another one of us coming to their synagogues and telling another story asking them to give Charity or Tzedaka. They hear of our victims of terror, our hungry, and our sick. Most causes are not turned down, such it is in Israel also. Thank Gd! When it comes to Chesed (Kindness), we are tops. Our fellows Jews are always ready to assist, as “Chesed” is truly a noble characteristic of our people worldwide. Throughout Jewish schools in America they are always on the search for a new “Chesed” project. We do have what to be proud of. They however rarely hear of our strengths and our heroes.
I must say however, as an Israeli, I never regarded myself, or fellow Israeli Jews as “poor Israelis” and this label insults us. The hunt for Tzedaka (Charity), exists in Israel also as our doorbells constantly ring with those who are less fortunate. But we in Israel have an advantage that perhaps doesn’t make it to the US Jewish papers, the Diaspora Jewish communities or that which the younger generations are not aware of. In Israel we see our “Gvurah” (strength) daily, we live it and we breathe it. It is this reality that creates a balance in our existence. The concept of “Chesed and Gvurah” is part of who we are, especially in Judea and Samaria. Indeed we are fully aware that we fight and protect our nation not just for those of us that live in Israel, but also for Jews worldwide. That understanding is part of what motivates us, and keeps us strong. Remember, we have our own army, government (for better and worse) and a Jewish country, not to shabby. But we still come across as the “poor Israeli” to our brethren outside.
This image unfortunately has had an affect on Jews worldwide. Where as Israel was viewed as our champion, it is now viewed in some circles as a “bother”. By not showing our strength properly we have abandoned our brothers overseas, and in lacking a strong Israel they have fallen victim to our enemies, often joining them in their activities against Israel. It has been Israel’s strength that has united us for years, our just cause and fight against terror. By the absence of showing our strength this side of us has been distorted and turned against us, examples may be seen in US universities coast-to-coast and worldwide by Arab lead demonstrations demonizing Israel and its right to exist. In the absence of truth, lies propagate and history and facts are ignored.
Most Jewish children have not been brought up in the shadow of Israeli heroism in the face of our enemies. They are too young to have cheered our brave sons and daughters who have made the ultimate sacrifice, our revered history are only writings in their text books or stories they have heard from their grandparents. We stand guilty of not showing them the continuation of Jewish heroism, the accomplishments of our people today in Israel, and how that Jews, even in the Diaspora can make a difference and be fighters.

The Jewish reality stands to change once again. With Islamic influence growing throughout the west and Israel’s weakened stand against terrorism, this “change” has already started. What is the norm for others defending their citizens is considered extremism on Israel’s side. Jewish strength is being perverted by world’s media agencies into the new evil and Islamic terror is becoming accepted as a legitimate means against Israel’s existence. It is becoming increasingly “OK” for Jews to be hurt, because “they deserve it” because of Israel’s actions.
If there was ever a time to connect with Israel, it is now. Jews living in the Diaspora need this strength, this confidence, and this faith. Europe is almost lost to the rejuvenated Moorish rule, next victim will most likely be the US. We will only be able to depend on each other. Just as the unity of Jews was instrumental in bringing about the miracle, thank Gd, of Israel in 1948, so it may be again today. After attempted annihilation in Europe and Arab states, we rose as a people together, working side by side, each doing what he could to change reality. We looked at history and learned, and we said enough, and we said, “Never Again”.
We continue to say this, but as our voices have lately been whispers, they will be shouts again.
It is this connection to Israel that is essential now more than ever, We must strengthen each other as we rise to those that wish us gone. We did this before and changed the way the world viewed us as a people, we can and will do this again.
It is very important however that Jews from the outside get a better understanding of what is going on in Israel. The needs for Chesed both in Israel and the Diaspora are great and we have proven again and again, how we excel in taking care of our needy.
There is a difference however between “taking care of” and “participating in”. When a hand reaches out and we help, we are “taking care of”, when the need arises to fight and defend, we must rise to the challenge. However, not all of us can “participate” directly and this is where a stronger “connection” comes in. A Jews life must be balanced, between the desire and ability to help those less fortunate (Chesed), and the desire and dedication to act on behalf of our defense (Gvurah). How many of us connect with the image of the Jewish soldier defending his land, the Jewish farmer and builder rebuilding that, which is ours. These are not images of the past, they exist throughout our land today.
This balance of Chesed (Kindness) and Gvurah (Strength) is a key, and our existence as a strong people depend on it.
The future is ours to shape, it is action that will define who we are.