I have been in Israel for close to two weeks now. It was, baruch Hashem, quiet here – until yesterday. We are now just receiving word that three Israeli soldiers were killed by an Egyptian police officer at the Egyptian border. It has all the hallmarks of a terror attack, but Egypt is trying to put a different spin on it. In either case, the deaths of these Jewish soldiers, two men and a woman, is beyond awful.
Last week, I traveled up to the Galil with my sister and brother-in-law Debby and Jonathan Spero. It was an absolutely wonderful trip. Among the places we toured was Rosh Hanikra, which is at the tip of the Lebanese border and has a magnificent view of the ocean below, plus natural-made caverns that are reached by cable car.
While we were on the lower level, outside the caverns, I saw a sizable group of Arab children accompanied by their teacher in Arab headdress. It occurred to me right after the playful kids passed us that this scene tells you everything you need to know about Israeli society: It is free and open to all people of all faiths.
Can you imagine a group of yeshivah kids frolicking in Gaza or the Palestinian territories? How about in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or most of the other Arab countries? Isn’t Israel supposed to be an Apartheid state that wildly discriminates against Palestinians? Isn’t Israel supposed to be guilty of “ethnic cleansing”?
It occurred to me a few minutes too late that I should have captured that simple scene in a picture. I decided to take a couple of pictures of other everyday scenes of Arabs and Jews mingling freely on buses and in the marketplace. These are entirely routine and common, but it should drive home the point.
It’s sad enough that we have enemies like Rashida Tlaib and AOC who, being the true leftists that they are, level totally unsubstantiated accusations against Israel. That’s the way the Left works (even in Israel). But it hurts even more when Jews like Bernie Sanders and George Soros are behind those charges – and when Jews like Charles Schumer and Jerold Nadler can’t find their voice to speak up.
I need to mention that a perfect illustration of leftist media bias was on display in Haaretz last week. Religious Zionist Simcha Rothman, a proponent of Judicial Reform, was invited to speak in Congregation Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck, New Jersey (not exactly an extremist shul). Haaretz only reported on the protest outside the shul, which they described numbered about 400. Not a word was said about the speech itself. They didn’t even mention the name of the current rabbi of the shul. They only drew attention to its former rabbi, Steven Pruzansky, whom they described as “a right-wing extremist who has drawn considerable fire over the years for his offensive remarks against women, Arabs, and liberals.” I guess they are allowed to make offensive remarks against right-wingers. No problem. Not another relevant word about the shul! And if he drew fire, it was from liberal sources like Haaretz, which are always taking offense at one thing or another, as long as it is against their ideals. The reporting was also a pack of lies. Witnesses say there were perhaps 100 people there.
Nothing can demonstrate more the need to have Judicial Reform than the grip the Left and its media wish to maintain in Israel. The self-perpetuating judicial system in Israel currently is their last hope of maintaining that grip as the democratically held elections went in a different direction.
I just watched a news piece by Haaretz on the Celebrate Israel Parade. You would think that the only newsworthy item to report was the leftist protest – just like The New York Times, which would report on the parade through the lens of the Palestinian protests. Then I saw a clip of utter nonsense by one of the Israeli protesters against “Judicial Reform,” urging people to come to the parade and protest the current “tyrannical” Israeli government, which is ignoring the will of the people.
I think they should have joined with the Neturei Karta, that other group of treacherous Jews who show up every year to make their presence felt at the parade. Surely the Arab enemy is enjoying every minute of this spectacle.
But the absurdity of claiming that the current government is against the will of the people! The will of the people was clearly expressed by the results of the election. It’s truly maddening.
It’s hard to figure out where we are getting more battered from – our enemies from without or from within. We Jews are just wonderful at making life more complicated than it needs to be. I have no good pictures to illustrate that.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi Emeritus of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.