OUR TURN TO SAVE ISRAEL
It is rare for me to be as upset by an article as I was by the latest “A Dose of Nuance” column by Daniel Gordis (“Now it’s our turn to save Israel,” Observations, August 24). It brought to mind the 12 spies that Moses sent to spy out the land. On their return, 10 of them reported only bad things, but Joshua and Caleb said, “The land that we saw is exceedingly good!” As a result, that whole generation was cursed by having to spend the rest of their lives in the desert, except for Joshua and Caleb.
Which of these historical figures does Gordis follow when he writes about “the ugliness that is slowly taking over Israeli life”?
Many Orthodox Jews here do not see eye to eye with the rabbinate on every issue, however I nevertheless believe that their stance has not changed one iota in the past 70 years. It is just the perception of those, such as the writer, that has become of late more belligerent and intolerant. Does he not agree that, in a democratic society, such as ours, I have the right to be anti-gay and anti-lesbian if that is my opinion? It is not the stance of the religious community that has changed but the in-your-face outright provocation by the gay community that has increased.
We live in peace with our neighboring Arabs in Fureidis. They are our pharmacists, nurses, shop assistants, municipal workers and gardeners – we bear no ill feelings against them. I, nevertheless, cannot and will not abide by those Arabs who are out to kill and maim my close relatives and friends in other parts of this country or anywhere in the entire world.
It is particularly strange how the press, including this paper and this article, constantly vilify our prime minister even though the polls show that he would win hands down in any election. He has done more for the economic status and international standing of this country than any man alive and he gets my vote, and that of many of my Orthodox friends, every time. With all his “good” intentions, Gordis could not achieve anything like it in 10 lifetimes!
And, what “deadly conflict” is he talking about? My wife and I travel throughout Israel to see its beauty and meet all the wonderful people in all walks of life and of all persuasions who live in it and, to paraphrase, “The land and the people that we see are exceedingly good!” Our rabbi, Rav Sorani said in a speech in our synagogue this last Independence Day, “Keep in mind that the State of Israel is not the government or the judiciary or even the rabbinate, it is us, the millions of inhabitants that consider this land to be our home who comprise the State of Israel.”
“Ugly” in no way describes it, nor is it any way to describe it! A different adjective maybe? DAVID KAHN Zichron Ya’acov
For years, we admired the thought-provoking writings of Daniel Gordis. However, we have been dismayed by the hyperbolic negative tone that he has assumed vis-à-vis Israel in his last two articles. Most recently, we were greatly troubled by his perceived need to now “save” an Israel that has become “ugly.” Questioning whether Israel is a worthy “default” destination for our returning soldiers from trips abroad is also not a constructive message for any corrective endeavor. Calling people to positive action should be done in a more loving, inclusive and hopeful manner, most especially at this time of the year.
The Israel that we all cherish and love, even with its many existential challenges, is very much here. To preserve her, we must tread reverently.
ESTI and SIMCHA FASS