Here I am in Israel after about a week’s time, following the marriage of my nephew Shmuel Koppel to Esther Litvak. The wedding in Beit Shemesh and the sheva brachos in Yerushalayim were beautiful.
As I wrote following my last visit here, one needs to spend about ten minutes in the country to realize that the claim that Israel is an apartheid state is ludicrous and trivializes the very meaning of the word. Everywhere you go, there are Arabs as pedestrians, waiters, bus drivers, doctors, and policemen, etc. I took a picture of one of the many Arabs carrying their prayer rugs openly in and around the Old City. Some apartheid! If only our Jewish and non-Jewish critics of Israel in the media, college campuses, and politics would pause for a moment before pronouncing or accepting this narrative of drivel.
I also found out that the Queens Jewish Link is well-read in Israel. A longtime acquaintance of ours now living in Jerusalem mentioned to my brother-in-law, Barry Schwartz, that he knows that I was in Israel now. The friend said that he knew that because he read my most recent article, in which I stated that I was momentarily leaving for Israel! I am pleased to say that I received many positive comments on my QJL articles while here.
Although things were quiet here in the public arena, it has become apparent that the Left will have its way. My cousin, Professor Moshe Koppel, for years has been beating the drums about the need to have judicial reform in Israel. He founded an organization called Kohelet to advance that cause. At the wedding, he told us that in the end judicial reform will not pass. The Left may be in the minority, but they control the media, the Air Force, and the unions. And they have unlimited outside funding. The country cannot go on without these institutions. So much for democratic rule. The majority votes one way and the other way retains control...as they scream for democracy!
The Left in America operates the same way. Thanks to their control of the media and education, they have force-fed the Extreme Left agenda down the throat of the mainstream, including the Democratic Party. At the same time, they successfully label all Republicans and conservatives as “MAGA extremists.”
Although I haven’t been told so openly, I know that many of the politically active people in the Queens community feel that I no longer have a right to assert my political opinions, since I now live in Baltimore. In other words, it is no longer my business. Truthfully, that is understandable. I do not have to live with the consequences of political decisions that no longer affect me directly.
However, that is not entirely correct. I was raised and spent most of my personal and rabbinic life in Kew Gardens Hills. Queens is still very much a part of my life.
There is a very important election around the corner. I see that many rabbanim have endorsed a particular candidate. Since I am no longer in Queens, I will not be open about my endorsement.
I see that we have two very fine Orthodox candidates running for office to replace the legendary Daniel Rosenthal. I will only ask that, besides considering the individual running in this election, consider the party that he represents. Is it the party that most represents our Jewish interests, values, family matters, and crime control? Then vote for that candidate. The party of the insanity that we constantly complain about should not be encouraged. If you find this an open hint, then my message is either unnecessary or abundantly clear. The fact that I live in Baltimore may mitigate my words. However, in truth, what happens in Queens, or any part of New York, reverberates throughout the country. If there is a political upset, the message to that party will be felt in Maryland, as well.
With my love to the community in Queens, and best wishes for the best man to win.
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.