Even as Jewish communities and those who cherish democracy support Israel, it is time to do more: we all must become advocates for Israel. It is time we passionately spread the truth about Israel, the beacon of light for the nations of the world.
People today tend to judge on the basis of numbers. They see the so-called disproportionate numbers of civilian casualties between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza, ignorant of the difference in the value Israel and Hamas place on life: Israel uses missiles to protect civilians; Hamas uses civilians to protect missiles. Israel warns the civilian population where it will strike next; Hamas openly instructs residents of Gaza to ignore the warnings.
Disproportionate, indeed… Charles Krauthammer, columnist for the Washington Post, offers the insight (see attached column), “To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity.” The truth is that Hamas guilefully shows civilian casualties so that it creates sympathy when shown on television.
Anyone with any sense of humanity CANNOT empathize with the leaders of Hamas who brazenly declared: “Israel accepted Egypt’s peace proposal only so it can have an excuse to invade when Hamas rejected that proposal.” That should be the classical definition of chutzpa!!!!! It reminds me of the cartoon I saw many years ago in which two children are being scolded for fighting. One little boy points to the other and says, “He started it when he hit me back.”
The battle between Israel and Hamas is most certainly not a religious battle. It is about a powerful threat against humanity!
Throughout history, politicians have issued an ultimatum to those who disagree in the name of religion: Be like us or else… In the shadow of the Black Death in 1349, the Jews of Strasbourg, Germany were taken to the city’s cemetery and were given the choice baptism or death. It is estimated that around 2,000 Jews were placed on a makeshift pyre and burned alive. In 1492 and again in 1501, Jews and Muslims were told to convert to Christianity or leave; those who converted were often persecuted for not being sufficiently sincere. This week, in 2014, Islamic insurgents in northern Iraq issued a similar ultimatum to the Christian population: convert to Islam, pay a religious levy, or face death.
Christians and Jews must speak out in one voice against Radical Islamists – which includes Hamas – who are dedicated to physically obliterating any divergent path through life.
Support for Israel is a religious statement that should be embraced by every Christian, every Jew, and every adherent of Islam. We pray for the day envisioned by the prophet Zachariah, when the spirit of the Eternal God shall rule the world, and all God’s Children will come together as one.
We attend rallies and we offer financial assistance to Israel, but that is not enough. We must follow the example of the Jewish National Fund and become national advocates for Israel and for freedom from the tyranny of fundamentalist militants. Bring the issue to churches, to adherents of all faiths, to representatives of our government on both sides of the aisle, to our children and to our seniors and to everyone in between. Shout the message from the rooftops in the name of humanity created in the Image of a caring, loving God.
May the pieces of the world come together to create One Peace!
Rabbi Rick Rabbi Rick & Elissa Sherwin Congregation Beth Am Longwood, Florida
• Our past president is working closely with the Jewish National Fund to raise both awareness and funds to build much needed bomb shelters and to keep the indoor, safe, playgrounds open 24 hours a day for the stressed families seeking refuge from Hamas attacks through the air and on the ground. JNF is more than trees: it saves Jewish lives!