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[KE CyberTorah] I Pray For Peace

I Pray For Peace

I mourn the loss of life and property over the last few weeks in Israel. The human suffering of Jews and Arabs has been immense. Only extremists are benefiting from this violence and that makes it even sadder. I'd like to share a few thoughts on the current violence and unrest in Israel the last few weeks. I know people have strong feelings and am grateful for this platform. Please feel invited to respond and share your own thoughts or analysis.

  1. The slogan “From the River to the Sea, Palestine must be free” negates the existence of the state of Israel. I am interested in Palestinian self-determination and hope for a two state solution. I also support a strong and secure Israeli Jewish majority state. 
  2. Using video and imagery from events years ago lacks integrity. Too many of the images posted to social media and other platforms are cherry picked from events that happened years ago. Context matters and implying that something is happening now that happened six years ago is fake news.
  3. Military targets are any location from which military personnel are functioning. Bombing a press office is a legitimate target when Hamas has offices and command and control infrastructure in that building. Also, that means the other residents of the building knew and understood that Hamas was using them as human shields. Similarly, when Hamas chooses to operate out of homes and apartments they become legitimate targets. Israel must continue to minimize civilian casualties, but it can and must act to end a threat of missiles on Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, and Jerusalem.
  4. Related to #3, proportionate military response means the minimum destruction necessary to achieve a legitimate goal. Israel’s goal is to damage or eliminate Hamas’ capacity to fire missiles on Israel. They must and do use the minimum force necessary to achieve that goal. Proportionate response does not mean Israel may only inflict as much damage as is received from Hamas. 
  5. Iron Dome stops 90% of the missile fire. It is a great success. Keep in mind, though, that 10% of the missiles get through. And that Hezbollah is watching closely to see Iron Dome’s capacity for future attacks. This means Iron Dome is only a stop gap. Iron Dome works in combination with the IDF rooting out the sources of the missile fire and destroying that capacity. Any other approach means letting the terrorists learn about Iron Dome and eventually overcome it.
  6. It is a bad idea to evict people from Sheik al Jarrah. It does appear to legally belong to Jewish ownership but given its political status I am glad the courts are reviewing the eviction and hope they offer some legal basis that allows the residents to remain. This is not ethnic cleansing, but it is part of a larger effort to create Jewish majorities in areas of Jerusalem that have been historically Arab (historically meaning since 1948). I feel a commitment to a two state solution includes a willingness to leave these residents in their homes.
  7. Arab Israelis have substantive reasons to feel excluded by Jewish Israelis. Israel is not an apartheid state. Arab Israelis have full legal equality with Jewish Israelis. At the same time, there are fewer economic opportunities for Arab Israelis and it is harder for Arab Israelis to get land permissions for their communities to grow. The violence was abhorrent and frightening and a sign that Jewish Israelis ought to look for policies that let Arab Israelis feel Israeli as well as Arab. 
  8. Jewish Israelis attacking Arab Israelis is awful. When Arab Israelis riot or target Israelis, the police are tasked with stopping them. Vigilante justice only increases the hatred and makes things worse. I pray that Jewish Israelis condemn the violence, including the Jewish violence.
  9. If a government forms from this election, an Arab Israeli Islamist party will be part of supporting it. Both Netanyahu and the Netanyahu change bloc have been in serious negotiations with them to join and support their efforts. I believe such a coalition to be a hopeful sign. With Arab Israelis on the inside, working for economic and social equality, the chances for Arab Israelis to feel connected grows. Further, this party can be a bridge to moderate Palestinian voices towards achieving a stable two state solution that ensures security and opportunity for both Jews and Arabs.

There is a lot more to say, but mostly: I pray for peace. I pray for a path that strengthens those interested in building strong, secure and peaceful homes for their children. I pray that love can overcome hate, and that everyone in that region can see their long term well being is best found by uncovering peaceful coexistence.

May we soon and speedily see an end to violence and a turn towards true peace-

Shabbat Shalom-
Rabbi David Booth

Sat, July 13 2024 7 Tammuz 5784