The Torah portion, Bechukotai, speaks about vows and redeeming the land of Israel. That is exactly what is happening in the news and in Washington today.
Hartford, CT (PRWEB) May 22, 2011
Somewhere deep within the green, tranquil American heartland, US Rabbis are responding to the speech of US President Barack Obama calling on Israel to accept the dangerous and lethal pre-war borders of 1967. Borders which are not defensible against Islamic terror attacks and Arab armies seeking war with Israel.
That enemy combat jets would take a mere 4 minutes to reach Tel Aviv, that terror missiles could be placed feet away from Ben-Gurion Airport.
Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman of Temple Beth Hillel took the time to provide an enlightening sermon following Friday night Shabbat services. He didn't need to. He could have discussed local politics, upcoming Bar Mitzvahs or the meaning of some abstract chapter in the Torah.
But Rabbi Glickman knew, as many other Rabbis in the US, that something was now very wrong. He told the Israel News Agency that beyond the comfort zone of his congregation that the Jews of Israel could face another Holocaust if they were forced to live without defensible borders, something that was promised to them by the UN after the 1967 war.
What do the Jews of Connecticut, Ohio, Oregon and California know about the daily terror rocket attacks that come from Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon? Why should these Jews even care, when its easier to focus on going shopping, taking a vacation in Jamaica, finding a good cup of Starbucks coffee, enjoying a local bowling alley or simply watching American Idol on TV.
Do these Jews know that the lives of their brothers and sisters living in Israel are today at greater risk as a result of President Barack Obama appeasing Arab oil interests in the Middle East?
"The Torah portion, Bechukotai, speaks about vows and redeeming the land of Israel. That is exactly what is happening in the news today," said Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman.
"The vow that America has made to support the very land of Israel is being discussed on the highest levels of our government. I am not going to tell you how to vote, but I am going to explain the words that are used, so that you can understand what is being talked about. I will quote leaders of our people whose opinions I value."
Glickman continues: "First, understand how Israel fits into a map of Arab states in the region."
The Rabbi then steps off stage and hands out maps of the Middle East.
One map illustrates small Israel. Another which compares Israel to California.
"Israel is comparable to the size of our state, Connecticut. There are about 100 Arabs to every Jew in this world. Similarly, 100 Muslims and 100 Christians for every Jew. There aren’t very many of us. If we were five times larger, we would make up one percent of the world."
"First of all, Obama’s words did not deviate, in substance, from the stance of the past presidents of the United States. He did, however, use the term “1967 Borders,” as a guide for the borders between a Palestinian nation and Israel. This was unfortunate."
The Rabbi then hands out more maps showing the pre-1967 borders of Israel, and how vulnerable Israel is.
"At only 9 miles wide, that is the distance from here to Hartford," says Rabbi Glickman.
"Here are some quotes from a speech by Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu which he recently gave at the United Nations:
"For the first time in two thousand years, a sovereign Jewish people could defend itself against attack. Before that, we were subjected to unremitting savagery: the bloodletting of the Middle Ages, the expulsion of the Jews from England, Spain and Portugal, the wholesale slaughter of the Jews of the Ukraine, the pogroms in Russia, culminating in the greatest evil of all - the Holocaust.
'The founding of Israel did not stop the attacks on the Jews. It merely gave the Jews the power to defend themselves against those attacks.
'When Egypt and Jordan recognized that we could not be defeated in battle, they embraced the path of peace.
'Yet there are those who continue the assault against the Jewish state and who openly call for our destruction. They seek to achieve this goal through terrorism, missile attacks and most recently by developing atomic weapons.
'Iran's rulers say "Israel is a one bomb country." The head of Hezbollah says: "If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."
'Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital. In Jerusalem, my government has maintained the policies of all Israel governments since 1967, including those led by Golda Meir, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin.'
Today, nearly a quarter of a million Jews, almost half the city's Jewish population, live in neighborhoods that are just beyond the 1949 armistice lines.
'All these neighborhoods are within a five-minute drive from the Knesset.'
Rabbi Glickman then quotes Netanyahu one more time.
'But one thing I will never compromise on is our security.'
Glickman smiles at his congregants and states: "It is hard to explain Israel's security predicament to someone living in a country 500 times the size of Israel. But imagine the entire United States compressed to the size of New Jersey."
"Next, put on New Jersey's northern border an Iranian terror proxy called Hezbollah which fires 6,000 rockets into that small state. Then imagine that this terror proxy has amassed 60,000 more missiles to fire at you.
"Wait. I'm not finished. Now imagine on New Jersey's southern border another Iran terror proxy called Hamas.
"It too fires 6,000 rockets into your territory while smuggling even more lethal weapons into its territory."
Rabbi Glickman asks: "Do you think you would feel a little bit vulnerable? Do you think you would expect some understanding from the international community when you try to defend yourselves?"
Rabbi Glickman adds: "A peace agreement with the Palestinians must include effective security arrangements on the ground.
"I am confident that in pursuing these goals, we have the enduring friendship of the United States of America, the greatest nation on earth.
"The American people have always shown their courage, their generosity and their decency. From one President to the next, from one Congress to the next, America's commitment to Israel's security has been unwavering.
"In the last year, President Obama and the U.S. Congress have given meaning to that commitment by providing Israel with military assistance, by enabling joint military exercises and by working on joint missile defense.
"So too, Israel has been a staunch and steadfast ally of the United States.
"As Vice President Biden said, America has no better friend in the community of nations than Israel.
"For decades, Israel served as a bulwark against Soviet expansionism.
"Today it is helping America stem the tide of militant Islam."
Rabbi Glickman continues: "Militant Islam does not hate the West because of Israel. It hates Israel because of the West. Because it sees Israel as an outpost of freedom and democracy that prevents them from overrunning the Middle East.
"That is why when Israel stands against its enemies, it stands against America's enemies."
Rabbi Glickman then quotes the leader of the US Jewish Reform movement, Rabbi Eric Yoffie.
"Let's begin with the left - the camp with which I identify. On the left, I would argue that we assumed that the Palestinian extremism would give way to Palestinian moderation and that voices of sanity would predominate on the Palestinian side. It didn't happen.
"Abbas is a basically reasonable man surrounded by mostly unreasonable voices, with Hamas now part of the mix. The Palestinians do not seem ready for peace at all.
"On the left we assumed that if only the Israelis were to take one big step for peace, the Palestinians would respond. It didn't happen.
"Israel took many such steps - Oslo, for example - but the breakthrough never came.
"On the left we assumed that in the post-Holocaust era, the international community could be counted on to protest vigorously when missiles rained down on Israel citizens and to judge Israel and the Palestinians by a single standard. It didn't happen.
"We remember Sderot and Goldstone.
"On the left we assumed that if Israel built a security fence, it would generate calm and set the stage for political progress. The fence was built and it did far more good than harm, but it did not bring peace.
"But, in my opinion, the record of the right is no better.
"On the right, I argue that it was assumed that Israel could proclaim its support for a Palestinian state alongside Israel while taking actions - especially settlement building outside the major settlement blocks - that specifically undermine its stated intention. The result: widespread skepticism that Israel means what it says.
"On the right it was assumed that Israel could trumpet its democratic values while leaving vague the question of how Israel was to remain both a democratic and a Jewish state. It didn't work. Israel's friends, Jews everywhere, and Israelis themselves are no longer satisfied with ambiguity on a question so fundamental.
"On the right it was assumed that a hostile world could be ignored and unquestioning American support could always be taken for granted. This was always foolish; support for Israel is precious and vital, and must be carefully cultivated and won.
"On the right it was assumed that the support of Evangelicals in the United States was an acceptable substitute for support across the political spectrum that Israel had always enjoyed. Such a view, in my opinion, is a disaster; broad, inclusive, bipartisan political support has always been the premise of pro-Israel advocacy in the United States, and it must remain so.
"Is this a time for despair?
"Not at all. There are many things that Israel can do, including taking steps to separate from the Palestinians and making clear that its support for a Palestinian state is real and not rhetorical. But this will require humility from Israel's right and left, a willingness to work together in a time of crisis, and a frank recognition by both sides that its most cherished assumptions have been fatally flawed."
Rabbi Glickman concludes: "I am not telling you how to vote, but telling you that you have a voice. It is important that you know what is going on, and that you voice an educated opinion. It is a noble obligation, especially at this critical time."
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