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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Israel: Standing Alone in the World or With Friends

Nadene Goldfoot
Rosh Hashana (on the 28th-29th) and Yom Kippur (Oct 7th-8th) are almost upon us at a time when again Israel stands almost alone in the world.  We will find out just how alone we are when Netanyahu stands before the U.N. in defense of Israel on the 23rd of September.

 We have our own Jewish writers who continue to condemn their brothers in Israel for not listening to their advice and if Israel did, everyone would be getting along just fine.  They say this as armchair generals from their safe abodes in the USA while in their easy chair.  They may have stayed long enough in Israel to write a book, but G-d forbid they should remain to live there and help out and see what it really is like. 

Some say that they worry so about Israel, but continue to deride her and her decision-making.  They forget that Israel is a democracy and the people have chosen their leadership.  Netanyahu replaced  Ehud Olmert of the Kadima Party who had also offered everything but the kitchen sink of every Jewish mother in Israel to Arafat, as in 2005,  who continued to refuse his chance of creating a "Palestine."  The offer did not subside the attacks on Israel's lives at all.  In fact, they seem to add fuel to fire that Israel was an easy mark. 

These writers remind me of the two brothers who killed their parents and then bewailed to the courts that they were just orphans.  Constructive criticism is great and happens all the time in Israel itself.  No one is harder on Israel's leaders than their own people.  But the kind of criticism I've been reading is destructive and shows a complete lack of understanding of issues.  It's adding fuel to the fire coming from Israel's enemies. I have a feeling these writiers could not sell their essay unless they were tearing Israel apart. 

Jews are not sheep.  They started life as the herders of sheep, like Kind David did.  The old joke is that if you have two Jews stranded on an island, they will build 3 synagogues; one for each of them and one that neither would set foot into.  Each man is king of his own household and a master thinker.  We have a lot of creative thinkers in our midst, but unfortunately not all have great political bents; more likely scientific or legal minds.  You have to be a modern day Solomon and Israel has chosen Netanyahu for this role.  I personally think he's doing a great job.

 I sure couldn't take being in his shoes.  Israel has bounced back and forth between Labor and Likud, from left to right since Begin, with Kadima thrown in for good measure.  It has its "Peace Now" crowd and those more realistic.  It has its aetheists and its religious.  For 5 1/2 million Jewish people, it's quite an assortment coming from all corners of the world. 

This is our season for self-examination.  It is the birth of the world and then the time we ask for forgiveness from G-d for anything we did wrong.  As I examine Israel's decisions, I feel she has made the best possible under more stressful conditions than any country has ever faced on this earth.  I keep saying, Dayenu (enough already) and then I see her facing another challenge to solve. 

As far as the decision to build in Jewish cities in Judea and Samaria, I feel they had the perfect right to do so, and evidently Israel agrees with me.  According to Abbas, he doesn't even want a balcony built on a Jewish home.  He had his chance.  Netanyahu gave him 10 months to come around to the peace table and he didn't take him up on it.  Israel wasn't about to freeze their lives forever because the Palestinians wanted them to.  That wasn't the issue, anyway, only something to pin the blame on.  The real issue was that for 63 years the Palestinians have shown that their interest is not in building a state but destroying ours. 

Israel has spent 63 years offering everything imaginable and it worked with Egypt for the past 44 years, but now may be in jeopardy.  Israel gave up a lot to get that peace treaty.  Look what giving up Gaza got us; a firing range for terrorists to terrorize Israeli citizens. 

Having lived in Israel for 5 1/2 years, I came to realize that there is so much that goes on that never ever makes the papers in the USA, and most likely not in other papers as well.  The  bombs planted in tooth paste cartons on the street near schools, the threats from near-by countries, the bomb shelters in every apartment building that must be kept in good repair are just not a part of American culture.  Never mind the shekel that varied from minute to minute in the world economy dependent on the dollar that guides businesses in the 80's.  How about doing Civil Guard duty every month even if you're a grandmother with 18 year old boys who are off duty from the army and spend their free time helping their city out this way?  Such a life was so different from what I experienced in the USA. 

With all this surrus (problems) life goes on and Israel has been able to be more creative than countries without a care in the world, except maybe the economy.  How many others can handle the condemnation of the world, the threat of extinction and still think up ways to contribute a better way of living to this strange planet? 


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