The Rabbi’s Perspective

The book of Genesis gives an account of Jacob wrestling with G_d. I can relate. Sometimes I  feel as if I too am wrestling with God.

We are not alone in this contention. In some ways, Jacob is still wrestling with God. History has shown that Israel’s contention with Elohim often involves strife with other people. In the present day, the IDF’s intrepid excursion into Gaza has called Israel’s credentials as a civilized nation into question. If Jacob began the invasion opposing Hamas, bloody events have conspired to make it appear as if he is contending, not only with the whole world, but possibly also contending with the One who made the world.

Because 1200 people are dead, most of them innocent civilians, and many of them children.

If Israel’s long-range objective is to establish existential legitimacy in the eyes of the world,  who is really winning this contest?

Although I am a Christian supporter of Israel, during this last week that supportive  voice in my soul has been drowned out with the cry of innocent blood that now emanates from Gaza ground.

I know that Israel did not initiate this defensive campaign with the intention to kill more than a thousand Palestinian civilians.

But that is what has happened. There’s no excuse for a thousand dead bodies, most of them innocents and many of them children. Somebody should have had the sense to stop this thing before the loud din of bloody collateral damage drowned out any possible victory proclamation.

In this audio link that I am now recommending, we hear a Jewish voice that is a credible alternative to the Likud/IDF way of doing things. Rabbi Henry Siegman acknowledges that Israel’s initial attempt to end Hamas rockets is justifiable. I agree.

But because of Hamas’ treachery against its own people,  the IDF has suddenly jolted far past the line of what is, among the opinions of mankind, acceptably justifiable warfare.  In Rabbi Siegman’s interview with Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh, he offers an historically-based explanation of why Israel’s defensive sortie could have degenerated into such an excessively lethal assault.

The man has certainly earned a right to offer his perspective. He  is a former President of the American Jewish Congress, and former President of the Synagogue Council of America.

I am fascinated with Rabbi Seigman’s personal history, which includes his family’s escape from Nazi Germany. The Siegman family’s arrival in the United States during World War II was a thankful deliverance after several years of evading the Nazis during the early Holocaust period.

Born in 1930, Henry was one of six children whose parents secreted the family out of Germany in 1935. Their odyssey of survival included temporary residences in Belgium and Vichy France, and attempt to enter Spain, and eventually a boat ride out of Marseille to North Africa and ultimately a voyage to  New York.

In this Democracy Now conversation the Rabbi speaks of his Zionist youth, his later hope that Israeli peace with Palestinians could culminate with Messiah, and his subsequent disappointment that Israel had been unable to reach an agreement with the people who lived in Palestine when the Zionists moved in. The Rabbi’s perspective is a highly credible counterpoint to the Likud/IDF strategy for establishing Israel as a nation among nations. In this link to the July 29, 2014 broadcast of Democracy Now, the interview begins at the 19:00 minute mark:

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/30/henry_siegman_leading_voice_of_us

 

Smoke

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