I could not sit at home; waiting to share my thoughts with you until tomorrow morning. The cost of returning to the synagogue for a few minutes tonight is nothing compared to the cost of Israelis who once again must escape to security shelters.
I am writing this message to both convey my personal sentiments and to urge you to share these (and similar) thoughts with anyone you can. Earlier this evening a colleague from Israel phoned in to our rabbinic organization in New York; to provide an update about the brutal Hamas attacks throughout the country. In the middle of the call he apparently needed to hang up as sirens whistled overhead. Hamas is targeting all of Israel’s major population centers.
Many of us within our congregation would argue that Israel shares responsibility for the lack of peace progress. That is a question and a conversation for another time. Tonight, we must express solidarity with all Israelis. Hamas has once again demonstrated its callous disregard for human life. It makes no distinction between soldier and civilian. Hamas not only is targeting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beersheva, but is doing so in the midst of summer-when tourism to Israel is at its zenith. On the other hand, even in the midst of this crisis the IDF is attempting to limit civilian casualties-as it has always done in the past. There is no moral equivalency between Hamas and the IDF. This important distinction between Hamas terrorists and Israel’s army must be conveyed to our neighbors and friends. Hamas seeks the destruction of Israel, whereas IDF is looking to eradicate terrorism. Israelis and Jews mourned the ruthless murder of Mohammed, the Palestinian boy killed in a retaliatory act this past week. We were outraged and we voiced our anger at those who must be brought to justice. At the same time, however, where was the outrage (among the Palestinians and even throughout the world) over the deaths of Gilad, Yaakov and Eyal? There is a double standard in the world, when it comes to Israel and Jews. That is just reality. No matter what egregious acts take place in other countries, only Israel is worthy of divestment. Such a double standard is another fact we need to convey to people around us.
In the meantime, as Israel responds to these attacks which jeopardize her physical survival, we as a Jewish community need to stand together in support of the Israeli government. We encourage Israel to do what it must do to protect its citizens. Please take a moment to contact whomever you can-whether by face to face communication, by phone, by email, by Facebook or by any other means. Convey your thoughts about Israel and about the clear distinctions between Hamas and IDF.
May Israel and its citizens remain safe in this hour of concern.