on Friday, 16 November 2012. Posted in Community Events
The Hamas missile attacks from Gaza and Israel's urgent operation to quell them have the attention of the world. Our support for Israel in this venture needs to be prompt and wholehearted. There many ways you can demonstrate this support, but first and foremost we need to understand that Israel simply had to answer the nearly 300 rockets that were launched last weekend from Gaza, a huge escalation in quantity and range in the attacks that have been ongoing for over a decade.
We don't yet know what the ultimate result will be in Gaza. We do know that there will be criticism of Israel for defending its civilians against this brutal violence, as there always is.
But as Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the immediate past president of the Union for Reform Judaism, wrote in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz yesterday,
"My answer to progressive American Jews who ask me why Israel can't just muddle through rocket attacks from Gaza: Israel came into being so that Jewish children would never again have to huddle together in fear, terrorized by enemies of the Jewish people, while their parents stood by helplessly.
"Progressives, of course, want the use of force to be a last resort. But it would be hard to imagine a case where Israel was more patient than Gaza. Sderot and the surrounding communities have been subjected to missile fire from Gaza for 11 years. With sickening regularity, rockets fall on civilian centers and hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens flee to shelters. Israel responds, usually with modest force aimed at lower level operatives, the violence stops for a while, and then the cycle begins again.
"Progressives should be as outraged as everyone else about this. As innumerable Israeli leaders have said, no other civilized country in the world would tolerate for a week what Israel has tolerated for a decade; a single rocket aimed at an American city would call forth a far more drastic response than anything that Israel has attempted or even contemplated. And yet, incredibly, despite her tough talk, Israel has tolerated these attacks – with the exception of Cast Lead, which brought a respite from the violence, although only for a while."
I encourage you to speak out in support of Israel, in private and in public, and to attend Shabbat services tonight where we will address this issue in a larger and more complete way and offer some practical ways you can demonstrate support. Please do not restrain your response. Israel is and has been under attack—without restraint. Our support needs to be effective.
In addition to verbal and written support, we will have collection boxes available at Temple Emanu-El tonight to help those in Kiryat Malachi, where three Israelis died yesterday, through the Jewish Federation, which has a close relationship with the town. We will also have those collection boxes available tomorrow at Shabbat No'ar, tomorrow night at the Wii Against the Stars event, and Sunday at Religious School. You may also follow the link below to donate to Stand With Israel.
May peace return soon to Israel—with security for its citizens.
Shalom al Yisrael,
Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon