It’s Wednesday night as I write these words. But tonight I wonder if I can effectively convey some of what has taken place so far this week. Israel is yet again facing some critical, if not ominous challenges.
These have been days of massive rocket assaults following the justified assassination of Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu Al-Aatta. He was responsible for a number of horrific terror attacks against Israel, and a prime target in Israel’s battle against terrorism.
As Islamic Jihad has retaliated, these have been days when many young children in Israel were not in school, but in bomb shelters. I can only imagine how traumatic the warning sirens are, and not only for children.
These have been days when many families slept in bomb shelters, while many of the brave young Israeli soldiers did not sleep at all because of the severity of this siege against the people of Israel.
I wonder anxiously about what the coming days will bring to Israel. The Iron Dome, wonder that it is, is “only” 90% effective. That means that close to fifty rockets made their way into Israel, while more than five-hundred rockets have been launched against Israel in these past days. It must be terrifying for the people as they know that they have but ten seconds to get to a bomb shelter.
TRAGICALLY, ONE SIDE DOES EVERYTHING IT CAN TO PROTECT THE LIVES OF ITS CIVILIANS. THE OTHER SIDE SEEKS TO DESTORY AND KILL AS MANY PEOPLE AS IT CAN.
We are a people of hope, but I wonder how long it will take for the Palestinian people to realize how they would benefit by extending an olive branch to Israel.
And a different matter but also compelling. The European Court of Justice has ruled that goods produced in Israeli settlements should be labeled as such. In its ruling, the court said that labels must “prevent consumers from being misled as to the fact that the State of Israel is present in the territories, concerned as an occupying power and not as a sovereign entity.”
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a statement calling the European court’s ruling “profoundly repugnant,” maintaining that “the singling out of Israeli products for labeling echoes some of the darkest periods in Jewish history.”
Yet again, Israel is being isolated and demonized as is no other country in the world. Clearly there is a double standard for Israel as there are some two-hundred disputed regions throughout the world, but only Israel is facing condemnation by the court.
I’d like to think that as Jews, we feel for what Israel is enduring and hope for a much better time. Yes, the people of Israel live in a violent and dangerous neighborhood of the world, even as much of the world questions its very right to exist. What a sad and deeply troubling reality, especially in the current climate where we see a very fine line between condemnation of Israel and anti-Semitism.
So that is but some of what has taken place during these past days. Yes, this is a very troubling time, for all of us who identify with Israel and who hope for a better time. One side condemns and attacks at every opportunity, while the other side seeks only to live in peace.
I wish you Shabbat Shalom as we hope and pray for the people of Israel. They surely deserve our support and caring, especially at this very critical time.
Rabbi David Greenberg