Sunday, August 03, 2014

The War, Reality, PR, and Why Israel Now Suffers

Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, HYD
I am sorry to report that it seems that Lieutenant Hadar Goldin who was thought to be kidnapped by Hamas terrorists – was actually killed in action. Another Jewish life with so much promise snuffed out in a moment by terrorists who used a tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel in a surprise attack last Friday. How difficult that is for me to take. I cannot imagine the pain his family and fiancé must be going through. May God avenge his blood! May Israel be victorious in its current holy task so that his death not be in vain.

It looks like the war in Gaza is winding down. I just hope that Israel is not doing it out of pressure.That’s what happened last time Israel was at war with Hamas.  And the result is more of the same today - just a few years later. This time they need to finish the job - the negative PR of those images coming out of Gaza notwithstanding.

One picture counters 1000 words
Those images drive world public opinion. Very few people pay enough attention to the situation there to know why all this carnage is happening and who is really responsible. Add to that the rhetoric by virulently anti-Semitic UN officials and the ‘even-handed’ narrative by media personalities that accompany those images… and Israel is getting a bad rap. It doesn’t even matter that the truth is there for anyone to easily see. One picture trumps a 1000 words… no matter how true those words are.

Thankfully the majority of Americans support  Israel. At least those with any wisdom. Wisdom comes with age. So the younger one is - even in America - the less likely they are to pay attention to anything other than those images. Who wouldn’t be moved by those images? And who wouldn't immediately blame those firing the missiles for the carnage?

It is sad that anyone blames Israel in the slightest for this. Even the most minimal understating of what is going on must lead one to conclude that Hamas is responsible for it all. The Arab states understand this – even though they won’t say so out loud. They are in fact rooting of for Israel to destroy Hamas – an organization that they all fear no less than ISIS.

Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer
Although ‘words’ that cannot trump pictures to the simple-minded who blame Israel for everything, there is no better expositor of those words for the Israeli side than Ron Dermer, the Shomer Shabbos, Kipa wearing Israeli ambassador to the United States. In interview after interview his responses to hard questions by interviewers were so good, that I can’t see how anyone could doubt Israel’s righteousness in this cause. If only those simple minded people would listen to him. He is worth his weight in gold.

A word about all the modern day Nevi-im – prophets who inevitibaly tell us why  we are being ‘punished’ by God. There are some people – usually those who have some sort of rabbinic reputation – who will always tell us what we are doing wrong that made God so angry at us. They are doing it here too. In almost every case it is based on a pre-existing agenda. Like the fact that Tznius in not sufficiently being observed. In what has to be one of the most absurd examples of that is the recent call in Lakewood for women to shorten the lengths of their Shaitels in order to stop a rash of serious automobile accidents that were happening there at the time. Some times it tests your faith to see such nonsense coming out of the mouths of religious leaders – even 2nd or 3rd tier leaders.

The recent kidnap and murder of the 3 teenagers and the current barrage of rockets being fired upon Israel -  is for example being blamed by some on what they perceive as the recent anti Charedi legislation. Even if one concedes that it is anti-Charedi (…I do not) I wonder how three religious teenagers were the ones punished for this ‘crime’? Is the ‘Divine outrage’ about that really supposed to be heaped on upon 3 teenagers who had no part in that legislation? …and by all accounts had Midos and maturity far beyond their years? The same can be said for the IDF soldiers that have been killed in the current war. Is there anyone who can honestly say that their deaths are God’s direct retribution for the ‘evil decrees’?!

How foolish. Do these people actually believe that they are God’s accountants?! They have no more ability to know the mind of God than does a monkey. That they make these kinds of statements undermine their credibility and their authority. It undermines the respect for Torah when Torah personalities make such statements in complete sincerity. If it wasn’t so sad, it would make me laugh.

This is of course not to say that God is trying to send us a message. Perhaps we all need to look inside of our own hearts and see where we could use improvement in our service to God, whether it is in how we interact with our fellow man (Bein Adam L’Chavreiro) or in how we interact with God (Bein Adam L’Makom). But for people to look outside of themselves and blame others for the problems that are besetting us, takes a certain amount of Ga’avah - a certain degree of haughtiness and sense of superiority over others.

I think that the only way to battle this kind of stupid rhetoric is to not only ignore it, but to take note of who is saying it and in the future cast them aside as any kind of authority. Perhaps if they are marginalized, they will change their tune.