Friday, May 01, 2015

Israel – A Source of Pride to the Jewish People

Among the IDF soldiers in Napal right now are these Kipa wearing Jews
Among the prouder moments I have had about my people - are the ones that occur during times of great tragedy. That is not as strange as it might seem. In this case I refer to Israel’s reaction to the latest natural disaster that took place in Nepal, a Hindu country. Unless you have just returned from Mars, you have probably read about the massive earthquake that happened there last Shabbos. So far over 6000 people have died from that disaster. Tragedies like this motivate both individuals and nations to react. America being among the foremost. We are first responders to all tragedies in the world – which is why we have earned the nickname ‘Medina Shel Chesed’ - a nation of kindness from people like Rav Moshe Feinstein.

Other countries respond as well. Among them the State of Israel. They are there now and have set up a mobile hospital - having brought much needed medical supplies and equipment. They don’t just rush in willy nilly. They are not among the first to show up. They consult with the nation they seek to help to find out what they need and make sure to bring it all with them.

Yesterday, a young man was pulled from the wreckage 5 days after it happened, miraculously surviving. In 2 separate newscasts that I watched it was reported that this young man was taken to be treated in a field hospital set up by Israel. If one wants to see who exactly these people are, they should watch the short video below. They are all soldiers in the IDF. I am particularly proud to see religious soldiers there filmed  in prayer wearing Talis and Tefilin. These are the people that make my heart glad. They show a country whose values reflect those of Avraham Avinu,our forefather and patriarch. Who passed on his ‘Chesed’ gene to his offspring.

This is the country that Iran wants to wipe off the face of the earth. And that Satmar wants to dismantle.

Yes moments like this make me proud to be a Jew and a supporter of the State.  But how does the rest of the world see this? My guess would be pretty much the same way I do. For me it is pride. For the rest if the civilized world it might be expressed as admiration. The result: A Kiddush HaShem. Jews going out of their way to save non Jewish lives far away from their home.

But this is not how you view it if you are an anti-Semite disguised as a human being. I refer you to Rabbi Jason’s blog. Jason Miller is a Conservative rabbi that has hit the nail exactly on its head on this issue. I could not agree with him more. Therein he describes his justifiable pride in Israel and his disdain for a Jew hater (my term - not his) by the name of  Kenneth Roth. 

Which is sad since it was Roth’s Jewish father fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938 that motivated him to be involved in human rights issues. (I have no idea if his mother was Jewish.) Roth is the executive director of Human Rights Watch. Apparently to Roth human rights do not extend to Israel. To people like him, Israel can do nothing right in his eyes. His rhetoric reflects the attitude of the anti-Semites of the world who pretend to only be anti Zionist. Not anti-Semitic.

Here is what he tweeted in reaction to Israel’s Kiddush HaShem in Nepal:  
Easier to address a far-away humanitarian disaster than the nearby one of Israel's making in Gaza. End the blockade! 
Sure. Israel must end the blockade. Which blockade? You know… the blockade that prevents Israel’s sworn enemy Iran from smuggling in arms to the Hamas terrorists running Gaza. Which they use to try to kill Israelis with. Like the crude rockets they fire indiscriminately into Israel. That’s right. That blockade.

Of course Roth is not the only Jew hater that does this. As Jason pointed out on his blog
Israel finds itself in that position often. As the only true democracy in the Middle East with neighboring countries committing human rights abuses on a daily basis, Israel is considered by the United Nations to be the worst violator of human rights -- not Iran, North Korea or Syria. At the end of last month, The U.N. Human Rights Council completed its final session in Geneva and adopted four resolutions condemning Israel, which is four times more than any of the other 192 UN member states. 
Jason said he had to laugh. I supposed it was one of those laughs that are really an expression of pain. Because my reaction was not laughter. It is painful to see Israel vilified by people that are supposed to care about human rights. The people in Nepal right now need help. Israel is there for them. Where is his compassion? Why can’t he and other supposed humanitarian agencies  recognize the great effort Israel expends in response to tragedies like this?

I’m not saying there isn’t anything to criticize Israel about. There is. But this is not the time to do that. Anyone who looks at the great humanitarian efforts of Israel when responding to tragedies world wide ought to recognize it. If you are Jewish like me you express pride. And if you are not Jewish, you express admiration. That is how normal human beings respond. Those who don’t and use it as a criticism for other sins can only be called anti-semites.  Even if they are Jewish.