Israel and Gaza: A Candid Conversation


A Candid Conversation

The battle in Gaza is being fought not only on the ground, but also in our psyches. It’s hard to even distinguish whether our opinions are based on facts or propaganda. Does Israel have a right to protect its citizens from thousands of rocket attacks, or is Israel’s response “disproportionate” in killing so many Gazan civilians.

This battle is being waged among the citizens of the world, in your circles as well as mine. It spills over into fundamental and angry disagreements among Jews themselves. To the point that each side utterly dismisses the other, declaring that “they simply don’t get it.”

How the logic of intelligent people can be so contradictory requires a study of its own. Some relate it to propaganda. Others to assimilation and ignorance. And yet others associate it to a deterioration of foundational values and spiritual vision, which feeds confusion and allows people to “substitute darkness for light” (in the words of the prophet).

Which is what makes writing about the topic so difficult. There is no way to discuss this issue without infuriating someone. What makes it even more delicate is that we are presently in midst of a war, where lives are being lost and blood being shed. To write about this from a distance, pontificating one way or another, can appear – or actually be – callous and insensitive.

At the same time, not to write about these events that are dominating headlines and affecting us all, seems equally detached.

Therefore, with trepidation but strong resolve, and with apologies all around, I feel that the only way to even attempt tackling the issues in some objective fashion (if that is at all possible) is by moving away from an ideological voice and putting on a “journalistic” hat. Due to the complexity of the issues at hand and the strong positions that people have from one extreme to the other, utilizing a journalistic approach can perhaps help navigate the minefield of this conflict. I don’t know if that will help, but I will try, and I apologize ahead of time if it offends anyone. What will probably happen as a result of this “absurd” idea is to alienate everyone. Oh well, if that’s the case, I guess we’ll have to chalk it up to yet another casualty of war…

Please know that despite appearances, I am not insensitive nor neutral; it is just an experiment at a method that will hopefully allow more people to be included in the conversation, instead of just preaching to the converted. More importantly, by listening to the different arguments, even ones that initially may make your blood boil, we can all become wiser in addressing the issues not just out of gut instinct (which has its virtues), but in a more intelligent and comprehensive – and sophisticated – fashion.

So here is a conversation between two of my friends, from opposite sides of the aisle. In a surprisingly cordial tone these two individuals were at least able to have a dialogue. Full disclosure: I brought them together. They are both friends of mine and trust me, despite some of our fundamental disagreements. And I asked them to speak freely and helped moderate the conversation, preventing it from escalating into a full-blown argument, in which both sides silence and dismiss the other. I clearly have my own position. But as I mentioned I have donned my journalistic hat for the moment, in the hope that we all can become wiser for it.

At their request, we shall call my two friends Jeff and Evelyn.

Jeff presents the pro-Israel voice, which persuasively argues that the issue is very clear-cut and straightforward. Hamas is a terrorist organization whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel. For eight years Hamas has been launching rockets and terrorizing over a million innocent civilian lives in southern Israel. Israel, as any sovereign country, is simply acting in self-defense, doing what every country’s primary responsibility is: to protect its citizens. In the words of President-Elect Barack Obama: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing.”

Evelyn takes the opposite position, proclaiming herself pro-Palestinian, while maintaining her Jewish identity and general support of Israel. In other words she distinguishes herself from those Palestinians that call for the destruction of Israel. Her counter argument is that Israel is the aggressor and is attacking innocent civilians in Gaza. She adds that even if some response is necessary, it cannot be a “disproportionate response.” Israel is a powerful military force, and must control its firepower when attacking a far weaker entity. Evelyn also essentially blames Israel for the crisis, by keeping the Gazans trapped in a small territory, cutting off their vital resources and creating miserable conditions that produce deep anger and frustration amongst Gaza citizens, forcing many of them to embrace desperate and radical measures.

Here is part one of their conversation.

Jeff: If the terrible Hitler, after he had exterminated millions of innocent lives, surrounded himself with 1.5 million civilians, and the only way to get to him was to kill many of the civilians, would we be justified in doing so?

Evelyn: Well, what if by killing the civilians you in turn created another few thousand Hitlers?

Jeff: If they could turn into Hitlers then maybe the best thing to do is to kill them all now.

Evelyn: May I submit a second, less bloody option. Make peace with the civilians and have them turn in the Hitler in their midst.

Jeff: But what if the civilians were part of creating Hitler in the first place? What if their sentiments against the Jews allowed for a Hitler to rise and come to power and lead his county in a war against the Jews?

Evelyn: Then you have to wonder why these civilians feel that way. Why are they so angry against the Jews?

Jeff: Are you telling me that it’s the fault of the Jews that the Germans and now the Arabs hate them? The Germans did indeed have many “excuses” and “explanation” how the Jews were contaminating their pure Aryan blood, corrupting their financial systems, the cause for all their ruin and humiliation. But we know today that its all boils down to plain anti-Semitism, masked in one form or another. Even if one could find some faults among the Jews – which in itself would be a vulgar indulgence considering the context – does this in any way justify the methodical gassing of men, women and over 1.5 million innocent children?!

Evelyn: With all due sensitivity to the Holocaust, I don’t think you can compare that to the current situation in the war between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have lived in this region for hundreds of years. The reason so many of the 1.5 million of them are crammed into the roughly 140 square miles of the Gaza Strip is not due to their choice. They belong to families that came from towns and villages outside Gaza like Ashkelon and Beersheba, that were driven to Gaza by the Israeli Army in 1948. So you can imagine that they harbor much anger and resentment. Many of them may not be ready to aggressively attack Israel and Jews, and many may not even support such attacks, but they sure are profoundly bitter, living in squalid quarters, in ghettos, with all the flow of their resources (water, energy, electricity) being controlled by Israel.

So though, Hamas is definitely making life more miserable for the citizens of Gaza with their blatant attacks against Israel, they are being doubly punished by Israel’s retaliation, even if it may be justified.

Jeff: So what exactly are you suggesting Israel do? Ignore the attacks of Hitler against its citizens, because Hitler is hiding among civilians? Even if they are not to blame, can Israel afford to allow their sworn enemy to impudently continue attacking its people? Especially considering Jewish history, including the silence of the world during the tragic Holocaust, can Israel rely on other nations to fight and protect it from its enemies?

And, for the record, did the Israeli Army drive them into Gaza in 1948? Or did five Arab armies attack the fledgling Israel back then and as a result of their loss in a war they initiated, many were forced to flee their homes, as is the case in any war.

Additionally, let’s explore the innocence of the Gazan civilians. If a majority of a people elect and then choose to accept the rule of a tyrant, do they carry responsibility? Were 100 million Germans culpable in the genocide of the Jews by allowing the climate for its perpetration, or is only Hitler and his immediate subordinates guilty? After all, Hitler, Goebbels, Eichman and so many others may have never shot a Jew. But the entire nation – and many others – were a breeding aground for the Holocaust. And in that sense, they are all guilty.

Evelyn: I am sensitive to the Holocaust. One of my parents was a survivor. But I think that it is being exploited to engender sympathy for Israel, at the expense of the Palestinians who were not to blame for the Holocaust.

Jeff: You are not hearing what I am saying, Evelyn. I am not pulling the Holocaust “card” nor am I blaming the Palestinians for it (though the Mufti of Jerusalem had a far too cozy relationship with Hitler). I am drawing a parallel of culpability: Even if you were to argue that the majority of the Muslim/Arab world were not anti-Jewish and anti-Israel, the fact remains that from their midst have risen forces that call for the destruction of Israel. And we cannot simply allow them to point fingers at other they have allowed into power, and allow to attack Israel.

Evelyn: So, are you suggesting that despite their legitimate grievances, Palestinian civilians have to continue suffering and be killed because they are part of the Hamas problem?

Jeff: I too am sensitive to the plight of the Palestinians, and do not justify actions that have made their life so difficult. But two things must be now considered. Even if things in 1948 were done wrong, does that mean that today Israel should not protect innocent lives? The first and primary responsibility of any state is to protect its citizens. We must deal with the current sate of affairs and facts of the ground, and cannot turn the clock back to 1948. Secondly, if you want to go back to the root of things, we need to further explore the roots of Arab rage against Israel and the Jews.

Can we say that the majority of the Arab/Muslim world are not anti-Jewish and anti-Israel, but simply have legitimate grievances, and were they remedied they would live in total peace with Israel and the Jewish people? Hatred for Jews and attacks against them precede the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The Germans had their “excuses” to despise the Jews and the Muslims have their “excuses.” How are you so sure that the root of the hatred is so different?

Evelyn: Ok, so let us go back to those roots. But we also have to address the roots of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.

Part two – continued next week.
Part three
Part four
Part five


MLC Weekly Newsletter

Life skills, tools, and strategies delivered to your inbox


Did you enjoy this? Get personalized content delivered to your own MLC profile page by joining the MLC community. It's free! Click here to find out more.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
15 years ago

The disproportionate argument is a veiled anti-semitic argument, or one borne out of ignorance, or one borne out of people innocently parroting veiled anti-semitic arguments in the so-called objective journalism. If someone is trying to kill you and your family and friends, you would do everything in your power to protect them and yourselves first, and would care about the innocent people who put the attackers in power only later. This is natural.

The world should realize that a certain percentage of the 1.5 billion moslems are not only against jewish people, but also any non-muslims. Their motto is Saturday first, then Sunday. Why isnt more effort made to educate christians about the threats against them as well. I am considering writing a book on all the christian churches and sites that have been converted to mosques or have been destroyed by moslem fundamentalists.

Aaron Cohen
15 years ago

Kol ha’kavod!

15 years ago

Brilliant. I had an incident the other day where someone e-mailed me this wacko left wing Jewish call to action against the occupation in Gaza.

This is a perfect response to that.

– Allison Gottlieb

15 years ago

Dear Rabbi Jacobsen,

How can you call Israel’s response “disproportionate”?

The response which is correct is that which will stop Hamas from continuing sending missiles (and other objects and suicide bombers etc) out of Gaza. Anything less is not enough of a proportion.

Yours sincerely,


15 years ago

interested in part two – very good – please go into further detail if you can about the hitler-haz amin al husseini deal – it was the arab who insisted that hitler find a final solution in europe. he did not want jewish refugees in palestine. he made that deal with hitler…

another point – perhaps you would find it good to include in the discussion the facthat all the millions of refugees who lost their homes an djobs and soical standing – in the population exchange necessitated by the india-pakistani agreement, and the millions of other displaced persons since world war II in europe, russia, asia, north africa – including over a million jews thrown out of arab countries – (after their property and bank accounts and all their personal possessions were nationalized (seized), and dont forget the population exchanges from th e yugoslav war, all have been re-installed in new homes in new territories – and all is well. when castro took over cuba, about half a million cubans sought asylum in the usa. (including my relatives). they came with the shirt on their backs, on rafts!!! america received them and helped them. it is clear that re-settling requires an entire generation – 20 or more years. but it gets done. people have gotten on with their lives and rebuilt their identity, their self-esteem, their finances. only the palestinians refugees have not been and WILL NOT be rehabilitated.

third point: the palestinians of Gaza are not trapped inside by Israel
they are kept caged in there by their own violence.
egypt closed its borders to them, though they have the same cultural and religious life as the egyptians.
egypt – a muslim country, fighting against its own violent gangster muslim brotherhood funadmentalists (a eal fifth column there) does not want added corruption, incitement, and violence. she does not want the gangster character of the Hamas – who number in the tens of thousands, and took over the minds and hearts of the people in gaza… they teach jihad – world muslim dominance, hatred for infidels, determination to punsih and destory all that stands in the way of their islamic fundamental ideal.

the hamas, with the ready cooperation of the gaza arabs, have continue the infamous corruption of the Fatah who were originally in charge there (arafat). the Hamas took over and introduced the worst possible corruption, total disruption of law, and set up international arms smuggling, human slave traffic, smuggling of drugs, and unbelieveable brutality – against their own as well as against the zionist entity.

the hamas has destroyed all the financial structure and stolen all the european union funds – billions – that could have built factories and other industries to help the gazans to become a positive, vibrant society. soon after 1967, israelis settled in the gaza strip on sand dunes. there was not one tree. not one blade of grass. the locals, tiny fishing villagers, laughed at the jews. they welcomed them, because it would mean commerce, setting up of roads and medical centers, and a chance to steal (theft is the code of the arab)…. (you will think this is racist). israels 22 settlements – towns and villages in the sinai and then in gush katif on empty land – became a world phenomena of making something out of total nothingness….. in 2005, when israel pulled out her settlements from the fertile and rich (very rich) sand dune communities of gush katif, she left behind all the infrastructure for the palestinians to continue the huge money making green houses. with all their equipment.

Some 60 million dollars were paid for those greenhouses by a philanthropist (jew) who donated them to the palestinians… well – within hours, the palestinians came in and ripped apart and destroyed everything. because it would not be right to enjoy what the infidels had given them – work for a few thousand heads of families, enough to support around 50-70 thousand family members!!!! those green houses had supplied steady work, a steady and good income, profit, and world acclaim.

it looks as if these arabs are willing to burn themselves up as martyrs rather than do anything positive.

i could go on with this – but i think these points are very sensitive and illustrative -for understanding that israel has bent herself over backwards to try to help these people, but the palestinian agenda is different.

15 years ago

I honestly think that your Jeff has to stop dwelling in the past which is totally poisonous to a sane mind, and stop defending decisions that were taken out of fear instead of full enlightenment.

an eye for an eye turns the whole world blind!

I dont understand how you can let violence happen and take place…when the sun shines it shines on everyone and when it rains it rains on everyone….its you let this deaf dialogue take place instead of enlightening everyone.

violence should never be a mean to its end.

Joelle Richa

Dick Snyder
15 years ago

A few brief observations.

Hitler was surrounded by millions of German citizens. The massive strategic bombing of German cities did little to differentiate between civilian and military targets. Indeed incendiary raids like the ones against Hamburg and Dresden were undertaken with the clear intent of killing as many Germans as possible. Ultimately Berlin and most of the Prussian heartland received an even worse punishment, the Red Army, intent on maximum vengeance for what the Germans had done to the USSR. Wielding vast firepower and massive numbers, Soviet soldiers showed no interest in anything resembling decency or restraint.

Finally, dont forget that like Hamas, the NSDAP was voted into power. When you vote for politicians who advocate war, hatred and genocide, you have no grounds to complain when the other side decides to fight back..

15 years ago

I am missing two facts: who elected Hamas to be their leader and having done that what did they expect would happen to Gaza knowing Hamas position? Added to that, whenever the world economy causes suffering, people want to blame somebody and strong leaders use that to built their interests by distracting as a means of a way for distraction. What is easier than a minority group especially an unpopular one. What the United Nations created now wants to kill what it created. Wonderful.

Mildred Herbstman
15 years ago

To Rebbe Simon Jacobson:

I have just finished reading the conversation between Evelyn and Jeff. I find that bringing Hitler and the Germans into the equation is total nonsense. Can you find somebody else other than Jeff who could continue the conversation with a better sense of understanding of the Palestinians and Israelis? His reasoning is out-of-touch, overly intellectual and lacks neshuma.

Thank you,

Mildred Herbstman

15 years ago

Dear Rabbi Jacobson,

I think that one can believe that Israel has a right to protect its citizens and that the missle attacks are wrong and have some sympathy for the destruction of life in Gaza–whatever the justification or reason.

One can think believe there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and that Israel is justified and and has a right to defend itself.

I pray for Peace if that is possible although I am not expecting it.

G-d Bless

15 years ago

this conversation depresses me further.
very big sigh for us all.

Marvin Etzioni
15 years ago

i appreciate the dialogue between your two friends. it seems to miss a point. the hitler card doesnt quite work here. the u.s. had no interest in protecting any Jews from Hitler. Elie Wiesel has said that the united states knew what was going on. in todays world, Israel has the protection of the u.s.
unfortunately, the current adminstration is giving Isreal the blind eye, a do what you like foreign policy. this administration was also warned against allowing elections in gaza so hamas would not have the opportunity to get elected. israel has until jan. 20 to do what it likes. at that point the leadership of the united states will send Clinton to the middle east to begin to process of dialogue. again.
i have family in Israel. some now serving in the military. i pray for their safety, as i do all families in the middle east. my blood, and the blood of my family, has no less or no more value than any one elses. at some point in the future, man will look back at war the same way we now look at lynching.
it is easy to take a side and dig one set of heels in the sand. it is hard maintaining the equalibrium of peace.

marvin etzioni

Cherie Zucker
15 years ago

Please do a web search & let me know if Muslims anywhere in the world are discussing the morality of war & finding that they themselves are on the wrong path? As Jews we question our actions & feel responsible (on some level) for the actions of our fellow Jews around the world. Where are our Muslim counter parts? Where are the Muslim peace now activists? I feel awful for the people in Gaza who find themselves trapped between an evil government and a neighbor no longer willing to take the ongoing barrage of missile. If there are Muslims out there who want peace with Israel I pray that they stand up.

The only holocaust connections I see is this – Hitler & Hamas were legally elected & both spew hate – I don’t need to waste my intellect trying to understand hate because we did learn in WW2 that appeasement doesn’t work. (all other comparisons feel cheap to me & demean the memory of people exterminated in death camps)

Perhaps only Israelis have any right to have this “candid conversation.” As for me, I will pray for the soilders who are doing there job to protect Israel. I will pray that they survive this & that they never need to feel regret for serving their country.

Cherie Zucker

15 years ago

No apologies are required on this one. My journalism degree has continually forced me to consider all issues like this from all sides and try to make sense of them, rather than to knee-jerk an emotional reaction — either as a moderately liberal peace-nik or as a conservatively-Reform Jew. Thank you so much for doing, writing and sending this. Ive been in a somewhat heated discussion with a non-Jewish friend who tries to peg me into a polarized position on every religious-related discussion we have. With age, shes becoming much more polarized than she used to be (and doesnt even recognize it in herself) and wants everyone else polarized as well. Ive tried to get her to understand that I am in conflict over this issue — but am still, at the moment, on the Israeli side (just not sure it needs to be quite as strong a reaction as it has been — and wishing that Israel had not been culpable for the very first incursion to kill the commander months ago). Shes quite forcefully backing the Palestinians — not because of their being Palestinian, but because of their underdog, poor, squalid plight. This particular column of yours has beautifully presented my feelings on both sides. I have forwarded it to many of my friends (including the one mentioned above), and Im looking forward to reading next weeks continuation. Perhaps it will help distill a resolution for my own inner turmoil on this.

Sandy Cohen

15 years ago

Dear Rabbi Jacobson,
I always read your weakly messages with interest and agree with much that is is being said.
Being originally from Israel (now living in NY) I stay tuned and watch all news coming from there. Like you, I am also open to a wide spectrum of opinions.
I do however have one request – please ask Jeff and Evelyn (and others involved in the debate) to stop referring to the Holocaust in every disagreement. The Holocaust, the most terrible even in our history, should not be diluted by mixing it in everyday disputes, between Jews or otherwise. No situation today can be honestly compared to those times and events. Instead of making your point, you only diminish the memory of that tragic event. Unfortunately, today there are many Holocaust deniers. I just read about a Holocaust survivor who wrote a memoir book that proved being all false. He and others do not understand the damage such bogus stories do to our name, reputation and memory of the Holocaust. Our enemies often say that Jews bring the Holocaust as an excuse for everything. They may have a point. Lets keep the debate in our times and make our point without involving the Holocaust.
Shabbat Shalom,
Moshe Berman

15 years ago

So if some thug comes at you with a broken bottle, do you look for a broken bottle, so you can defend yourself, or use the pistol youre carrying? Disproportionate??

When Egypt attacked the newly established State of Israel in 1948, it captured the area called The Gaza Strip. In the 1979 treaty with Israel, it left The Gaza Strip with Israel and was given the Sinai Peninsula.

Transjordan [i.e. The Eastern Bank of the Jordan River] attacked Israel in 48 captured an area called Judea-Samaria. It violated the 49 cease-fire in 1950 by illegally annexing it and renaming it The Western Bank of the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan.

When the PLO Covenant was adopted in 1964, it gave up any Rights of National Sovereignty over: The Western Bank, The Gaza Strip and The Himmah Area.

Following the Six Day War, in 1968, it amended its Covenant and claimed everything. Just as Hamas and Fatah still do today.

So when Israel moved out of Gaza, the only thing left for Hamas to try for was all of Israel. Hence the rockets, mortars etc.!!

Shabbat Shalom,

gerry d

p.s. To this day neither the PLO Covenant nor Fatahs have been amended to recognize Israels right to exist.

15 years ago

Evelyn needs a good refresher course is history and current events.

15 years ago

Good first go-round. I appreciate the dialogue.
Roberta Hufnagel

15 years ago

NOW MY BLOOD IS BOILING! Evelyn calls herself a Jew? !!!
You dont even want to know what I would call her!!!! ARGH!!!!!
good Shabbos!

4 months ago
Reply to  anonymous

The ultimate Kabbalistic revelation: there is no such thing as a Jew.

Stuart Zipper
15 years ago

Rabbi Jacobson …

While I highly respect your opinions and what you do, I think that this time you have fallen into a trap.

It seems eminently reasonable to allow for a “debate.” After all, what else is the Talmud but debate?

But it is a debate between good people, wonderful and learned people, dedicated to finding the best and correct path to observe the mitzvot.

In contrast, so-called pro and con “dialogue” in this case has historically resulted in giving legitimacy to rhetoric that is pro-terrorist and anti-Israeli (and despite how much it is denied, anti-Jewish). Always.

In part that’s because of some mystique that there some sort of moral equivalence here … but there is not.

It’s also based on some theory that there is a “Palestinian” people – but there is not. An Egyptian named Yasser Arafat is most responsible for that myth, which he loudly expounded as his “freedom fighters” wheeled a disabled American Jew off the side of a boat in his wheelchair, slaughtered athletes at the Munich Olympics, knifed to death one of my friend’s daughters in the Jerusalem Forest, and I can go on and on. Essentially your Evelyn is finding some conceivable defense for the murderer who walked into the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva and slaughtered those poor boys – an event of which I am unfortunately intimately familiar with a small bit of the repercussions.

In the end, giving any sort of platform to those who would defend the terrorists is a mistake. But you have done just that.

I’m 62 now, and I said the same thing back when I was 18 and disagreed with a college in New York, which in the name of “academic freedom” or some such, allowed the head of the American Nazi Party to have the podium, from which spewed forth his hate.

And as far as your friend Evelyn goes … I wonder seriously how much real experience she has in the realities of the situation. And her knowledge of the real history of the region is obviously skewed and highly deficient – I suggest she read the book “From Time Immemorial” before repeating the propaganda about the history of where those people came from.

It’s easy to be a nice, safe, liberal Jew in New York City and have such views. I don’t have such a luxury. I’ve been there – in Lebanon with the I.D.F., just for starters. And in Vietnam as a U.S. Army special warfare specialist. Four years living in Israel. And I guarantee you the last thing I want to see is this fighting, because my youngest child is currently in the IDF – a sergeant in an IDF Special Forces unit that has just this week gotten its orders for her and the others in her team to move into Gaza.

Stuart Zipper

4 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Zipper

I wonder if all these words and concepts would matter to you, if you were surrounded by the mutilated corpses of your family and neighbors, the sounds and stenches of war, knowing your time also is likely short.

15 years ago

To your Evelyn who disagrees with Jeff . According to your logic, Evelyn, more killings by Israel will only breed more Hitlers, if you take exception with Jeffs point of view. So tell me Evelyn, when is war justified and according to whose rules should you fight it ? Should Israel fight Hamas according to your proportionality point of view. If this is what you believe, than Israel has the right to indiscremenately fire 3000 rockets into Gaza, because thats how many rockets were fired at Israel. If Israel has a right to defend itself, when should it do so ? Should it only act when 1 Jew is killed, 100, 1000 or perhaps when the Arabs are at the gates of Jerusalem Evelyn ? I suggest that before you or others speak on the subject of anything let alone Israel , study Jewish history. You can do so by contacting the Rabbi directly or sitting in on his many classes. Maybe after you read it and come to conclude that Jews have existed inspite of countries and governments who tried to exterminate us as a people, maybe you will have a little more compassion for the right of Israel to not only exist, but to defend herself no matter what the cost.

Not everything that Israel does is right, nor is every decision by a Jewish leader correct. But on this ONE point Evelyn, most Jews and Jewish leaders will agree. The Jewish people and they alone are responsible for their future survival.

Allan Feldhammer
Pro- Israel
Pro- Chabad
Pro Jew

Howard Gorbach
9 years ago

I find it fascinating that there is so much heat on both sides of the Jewish discussion about what is going on currently in Israel & Gaza. People pull up the memories, which are HORRIFIC of the Holocost as an excuse, in my opinion to look the other way and grant Israel free reign in all of these repeated excursions. Sure, Hamas is a terroist organization that wants to bury Israel in the sea, but Israels actions more & More & more in recent years resemble those of an oppressor rather than a protector of Israeli lives. Look deep and see what I mean. The Israeli Govt. Military doesnt just act defensively anymore…..please look at the firepower advantage # 1. And yes, the disgusting Hamas uses citizens in Churches, Schools, communities to imbed themselves while they do their nasty things…..but, if we would be once again acting compassionately and from the heart and spirit–whichever Rebbe you honor, and work earnestly with respect and honor to EVERYONE there (not Hamas), maybe, just maybe something new and different and peaceful would take shape. We displaced people years ago FACT!!! We used to act only defensively–FACT!! We now with the likes of Govt leaders like Netanyahu are hawkish antagonistic and in some cases quite overly brutal in our responses and military actions. It has sadly become a life of revenge the avenger and avenge the revenger. Treat people with dignity on BOTH sides and maybe good things can happen. Somehow the Palestinian people need to find a way to rid themselves of Hamas. Hamas continues to win the PR war in the world with their shenanigans. Unfortunately as Israel continues to decimate & kill more villages and civilian lives all that does is pour gas on the fire to create more hatred with younger generations. I am 66 and have never seen a time of real hope. There was one that Arafat(too bad!) refused to seriously consider. The whole area over there continues to spin more & more out of control and more senseless lives are lost–FOR WHAT?? Figure out a reasonable two state system for once & for all. As an aside–all of the illegal Jewish settlements there–many perpetrated by American Jews only adds more complications into any real peaceable solution. Kill;ings and more killings on both sides create young people that grow up with hatred in their hearts. That is guaranteed to not work.

8 years ago

Everyone fails to point to the root cause of this whole problem which lies in the origin of ISRAEL’s beginnings as reported in the Bible wherein it is reported Abraham took unto him Sarah’s handmaiden Hagar and had Ishmael who was first-born of Abraham and then Sarah and Abraham had Isaac, the son of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah. And as both boys grew, enmity developed so God directed that Ishmael and Hagar had to leave and they were cast into the desert where God told Hagar he would make a great nation from Ishmael. And that was the beginning of the hatred between two brothers, the Arabs, progeny of Ishmael and the Jews, progeny of Isaac .One of them jealous of the other’s inheritance. And why that ancient hatred continues today. So there will be no Palestinian state until the Palestinians change their minds about their bretheren and decide to live in peace with them and until they do, they will continue to suffer the results of their OWN HATEFUL ATTITUDE. They are not the victims here. When statehood was originally offered they were given greenhouses and money for infrastructure and what did they do? they acquired rockets and built tunnels in order to destroy them and brought upon their heads their own misery and suffering. The Palestinian Arabs are a stubborn lot.

9 months ago

This is so helpful, thank you Rabbi. The part 2 link is not working.

4 months ago

Debate is war without the bombs. And Hitler is a tired old concept. If we burned all books and planted gardens over their ashes we might be on the right track. But let’s be real: most of us can’t tolerate peace.

The Meaningful Life Center