We approach the 59th Anniversary of Israel’s founding with very mixed emotions. Joy, of course for the founding and continued existence of our Jewish State that has achieved so very much and done so much for the revival of the Jewish people after the Holocaust. Yet anxiety for the security of
’s people threatened from an increasing number of sources, not just the enmity of its immediate neighbours. And then there is concern about a range of issues within
that certainly affect Liberal Jewish consciences.
’s increasing influence in the
, openly and covertly hostile to
(and the West) is cause for great concern, especially its nuclear programme, and the West’s obvious weakness in dealing with the twin threats posed by
. Though some say that moderate Arab States have just as much to fear as
, and so the time is right for
to reach out to make peace with these States. They need an alliance just as much as
. Who knows the truth of such theories…
based on intelligence that was flawed. If governments act on wrong facts, how are we to know how to dream about the future?
In this country the National Union of Journalists decision to boycott
because of, amongst other things, the biased nature of its media is utter non-sense. Israeli newspapers are far more open in their attacks on so many of their Governments actions than you find in this country…and definitely in all the other countries of the
. The NUT can only be driven by deep irrational antipathy to
, or is it by even deeper anti-Semitism.
I have spoken before about the so called “Enough” campaign led by a Catholic so called Peace group Pax Christi and some Quaker activists….and a handful of trade-unions (including the NUT). They aim to have a vast rally in
on Saturday 9th June to protest at
’s chutzpah in winning the Six Day way 40 years ago. I think I see it as winning a war that if they had lost would have led to the country and its population’s annihilation. I can tell you the website and literature of this coalition is virulently anti-Israel and incredibly disturbing. And they are open about the fact that this campaign is but the start of a larger one leading up to protests next May as Jews all over the world will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of
Last Sunday at the Yom Ha-shoah commemoration at Pinner United Synagogue, the German Ambassador assured us that his Government supported
’s right to exist.
Thank you very much: does a Western Ambassador need to say that about any other country that is a member of the United Nations?
I could go on listing the causes for concern, but risk only increasing anxiety and, yes, paranoia that presumably fuelled the email winging around the Jewish computer world with the assertion that the British Government has removed the teaching of the Holocaust from British schools in order not to offend Muslims. Just not true.
Yet there are genuine causes for concern about many aspects of
’s policy and society. The commission investigating the War in southern
last year is going to be very critical about the malaise in areas of Israelis military structure and of the political decisions leading to war. This is all in the open: I wonder when we will hear of a commission to investigate why British sailors so easily got captured last month, why we went to war on
, and the real position that sees daily reporting of our soldier’s deaths and the massacres of hundreds of Iraqi civilians?
The Separation wall in Israel is quite legitimate in protecting Israeli lives (and to be honest the lives of the hapless suicide bombers), but we can criticise aspects of its route as I did a couple of weeks ago after visiting it whilst at the recent World Union for Progressive Judaism in Jerusalem conference. That day, three of our rabbis went to
. It really is a nonsense having 500 soldiers protecting 500 Jewish settlers, or rather separating the settlers from the Palestinians, because it so often the Israelis who attack the Palestinians, Jewish children throwing stones at Arab children. We should speak out against a government that does nothing real to stop illegal settlements in the
, or British philanthropists who sponsor housing there. We should be concerned about the growing gap between the rich and poor in
, as we should be in this country. The list goes on…but for both countries….Israel and
. But we would be crazy to only list the anxieties without the reasons for pride and joy.
We have just read “We affirm the faith of David Ben Gurion: The State of Israel will prove itself not by material wealth, not by military might or technical achievement, but by its moral character and human values.” Amen to that, but any visitor to today’s
should be amazed, not embarrassed, by its signs of wealth…its fine new buildings, roads, railways, museums, shops, parks, cultural life. Its technical achievements (no longer its oranges) have generated this wealth, yet also its technology is doing so much to make the whole modern world go round, its innovative research improving medical techniques, electronic communication, and so on. Its agricultural work aiding the feeding of the needy Third World as well as providing us with new exotic vegetables. And yes, let’s not be ashamed of its military might: without it there is little doubt that the country and 5 million of our co-religionists would have no future. And I can tell you, that from my recent brief visit to
, our Progressive Jewish movement is at the forefront of seeking to maintain the moral character and human values of the country, as is a large proportion of Jews who have yet to see the light and join Progressive congregations. Amos Oz made this very point as he addressed the closing session of the Convention. I hope he listened to his words and is now a member of a Progressive congregation in
Reminds me….Adonai oz le-amo yiteyn……First it says: Eternal One give strength to your people…only then…Eternal One gives your people Peace. The Psalmist got it in the right order. But should have added: Adonai yiten simcha l’amo…May God also give our people the capacity to rejoice over all the State of Israel has achieved and is achieving and all it means to us…and we will rejoice on Yom Ha-aztmaut on Tuesday…and will celebrate in our congregation next Shabbat…all day long.