Who among us does not have occasional disputes, disagreements or difficulties with family members and friends?
The Torah shows that in any given family there will be problems to face and overcome. So it went with Abraham’s children Isaac and Ishmael, sowing the seeds, seemingly from the start, of challenges between Jews, descendants of Isaac and Arabs, descendants of Ishmael. So it went with Jacob and Esau, and so it went with the sons of Jacob, giving rise to the 12 Tribes of Israel.
More important than the challenges one can find within one’s family is the commitment to transcend such difficulties in time of danger and threat from the outside. When one fails to do that, one’s future is clouded, as indicated by the Prophets of Israel that asserted that the fall of the two Temples in Jerusalem and the accompanying destruction of the infrastructure of Jewish continuity was caused by needless hurtfulness within the family of Israel.
We live in historic times, easily taken for granted because they are our life’s reality, yet in fact miraculous, given the 2000 years in which Israel was a longed for hope, a dream impossible to imagine coming true. Only in the aftermath of the Shoah, the destruction of 6 million of our people in Europe, did Israel emerge from the ashes of such catastrophe. Here we are in Israel’s 66th year, fraught from the start with peril and doubt that this 3rd Jewish commonwealth could survive the hostility of surrounding neighbors and the indifference of a world that denied refuge to those hoping to escape death in Europe, now holding Israel to a standard that refuses to allow this Jewish state the same leeway that all other nations are given to protect their interests and defend their lands.
Too many people hide their anti-Semitism behind criticism of Israel that is harsher than any doled out to nations that show far less concern for the lives of enemies than shown by Israel.
Not only does it all too often seem to be “open season” on criticizing Israel, in actuality it seems like that season is year-round, that Israel is always to be treated as different from all other nations in terms of what is expected of her to endure, even unto
death. In fact, one problem is that historically speaking, the world has difficulty understanding Jews that are not victims of oppression and persecution. It is easier to lament a Jewish death than to understand how Jewish soldiers can inflict death, even when forced to kill civilians, especially children, positioned as shields in front of terrorists shooting rockets aimed at Jewish children and innocent civilians.
It seems as if a world that insists on a different standard for Jews and Israel thereby immunizes itself from wondering how it can be okay to have tunnels into Israel designed to kill and kidnap Israeli citizens living near enough to the border for tunnels to reach
them. Every day throughout the world deaths are reported by armies and forces that destroy life in pursuit of their causes. Only Israel remains under the microscope as each death of a Palestinian civilian, even if a child is placed deliberately in harm’s way, is considered another stain on Israel by those who can only identify with Jews as victims, not as those that can fight for their lives and their country.
Whatever your view may be about your “family” that is Israel, when life, and the very future of the country, is at stake, criticisms of Israel must take a back seat to assurance of Israel’s survival and continuity. Whatever your political views may be about how this country and world should be governed, suspend the politics, as you apply them to Israel, at least until the rockets stop falling in Israel and Israel can turn to help and heal the damage in Gaza, suffered under Hamas rule. Our emotional intelligence is being pushed to the limits that we learn to be able to hold opposing thoughts and views at the same time. Personally, that is what I must do in feeling deep gratitude to Sheldon Adelson for funding Birthright, a program two of our youngsters, Anna
Schuplinsky and Robyn Feinberg have just experienced in Israel. (I look forward to their sharing with us all! Stayed tuned on that)
Those that are part of the family and or consider themselves friends of Israel owe it to Israel and themselves to “arm” themselves with truths beyond how western media reports events as they unfold during this war with Hamas which continues to rage as these words are written. Each member of the family, each friend, must make certain to keep up with information that gives the picture as Israel lives it, especially since Israel has never wavered from its quest for and commitment to peace. Such commitment is not just a Jewish ideal; it is a necessity to creating an environment in the Middle East where violence and aspirations to destroy an enemy are replaced by learning to live with differences and generating relationships that can lead to economic well-being for all that live in that region.
Israel left Gaza in 2005 with the intention that a Palestinian state would arise that could live in peace with Israel and share economic benefits. The choice that was made, instead, by the Palestinians, was to use that opportunity to declare unending war on Israel, and to vote for a regime whose prime focus was on the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people in their midst. Their choice reflects vividly the difference in attitude and approach between the Israelis and the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.
And, so, it is vital that family and friends of Israel arm themselves with information that reflects Israel’s intentions in the Middle East and the challenges of life in a region with those that live to destroy Israel. Make it a point to subscribe to the free daily email of the Times of Israel (timesofisrael.com). Make it a point to subscribe to the ongoing update of life in the Middle East as presented by the Israel Consulate (firstname.lastname@example.org). Make it a point to be informed in ways you will not learn from those news sources and pundits that insist on being “even-handed” in addressing the war between Israel and Hamas. How can you be even handed when one group is a fully operational democracy, seemingly functioning at an even higher level than what we presently see in the U.S. given our government’s inability to work at all cooperatively these days and years… while the other group is one of the world’s most nefarious terrorist groups, valuing its people more in death than life, so as to gain politically as the world blames Israel for their casualties?
Would that the Palestinians in Gaza could find a way to overthrow the terrorists that presently determine their fate and treat their children literally as cannon fodder. Were that to happen, Israel could become a willing partner in helping them rebuild their infrastructure and provide for a society wherein they could live in safety and their children could grow up with hopes of a better
In a world that insists on double standards for Israel and Jews, we need to gravitate to the information that can help us understand and explain to those willing to listen why you cannot be even-handed in matters when it comes to the Middle East.
As such, the war is also one of who has control of the information, and, in that sense, you too are on the front lines…you too are needed, so that Israel and peace can prevail.