Beyond the Cusp

May 14, 2014

Israeli Politicians and Leaders Do Us a Favor Please

Sometimes it really does appear that Israeli politicians are either stone-cold-deaf or have a tin-ear incapable of recognizing when they hear others repeating the same criticisms they so loudly pronounced to every press and social media venue available to them. One might think they would have noticed when United States Secretary of State Kerry used the excuse that current Israeli political leaders and former Prime Ministers have said what I said as the reason he should not have been criticized for his initial comments they might have taken notice. Secretary Kerry’s actual words were, “(I)f I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution. In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve. That’s what I said, and it’s also what Prime Minister Netanyahu has said. While Justice Minister Livni, former Prime Ministers Barak and Ohlmert have all invoked the specter of apartheid to underscore the dangers of a unitary state for the future, it is a word best left out of the debate here at home.” Where I feel assured that Secretary Kerry would very probably have still used the unfortunate Apartheid slur even without any Israeli present or former politician having also used the phrase in a similar manner, the fact he could throw the, well you all said it first, excuse back in our faces makes Israel appear petty for being upset over the Apartheid slur. It sure makes it next to impossible to justify indignance and to take insult when some foreign leader or politician or some NGO issues a press release which quotes our own politicians or former IDF, Security or Intelligence Officers making the same accusations. For that reason alone Israeli politicians and other spokespeople should choose their phraseology and wording very carefully and refrain from making reckless, inflammatory, derogatory or provocative statements which will most assuredly be providing ammunition for the unending throngs of detractors to utilize in their attacks upon Israel. Certainly requesting that those who are supposed to be representing our little nation to be respectful with their choice of language when speaking about Israel, especially in forums where those who live to denigrate Israel and Israelis, cannot be such a monumental task that it is beyond reason.


Then there is the little problem that exists throughout the Knesset, both between the parties in the opposition and also between the parties within the coalition. First off, being in the opposition does not mean that one needs to make derogatory and inflammatory remarks to every statement made by any of the leadership within the coalition. Yes, we know that Labor Leader Isaac Herzog and Meretz Leader Zahava Gal-On are opposed to virtually anything which Prime Minister Netanyahu says, stands for or supports. We also realize that you are not too fond of Jewish Home Leader Naftali Bennett and his support for any Jewish presence beyond the Green Line. Would it be ridiculous to suggest that you allow your voting record speak for you at least once in a while instead of running to every outlet and screaming insults about every single item they say even when it is said solely in the Knesset? And what is this backbiting between Tzipi Livni and Naftali Bennett or Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Netanyahu and any number of other intra-coalition sniping which appear regularly in the media. Could we not simply keep some of the inflammatory interpersonal taunts and ridicule more private? Every last piece of dirty laundry does not need to be paraded in full view for the world to see. And on another note to those in the ruling coalition but who believe that they would make a better Prime Minister than Bibi Netanyahu; your party did not get the mandate and thus you are supposed to be in a supportive role, not a combative role. Sure, we know you believe that it was simply a travesty of justice that you were not chosen to lead the government and that you are sure as you are that the sun rises over the Judean Hills every morning that should there be an election tomorrow that you would be chosen to be Prime Minister, please wait for the election and should you get your chance, then we will know for certain what kind of Prime Minister you would make. Just because you are the leader of one of the parties within the coalition does not mean that you are an equal partner to the Prime Minister, he actually does get to lead and make some of the big decisions and you are presumably to work with him. If you have a disagreement or a better idea, try talking to him in private or at least in the setting of a committee hearing and not on the evening news, Facebook, Twitter or the front page of every newspaper. Oddly enough, despite the fact that as Israelis many of us believe we also would make a better Prime Minister, when we argue the points it is not transmitted throughout the world to be heard by every person with animosity in their hearts towards our little country of Israel. Think of what damage your tirades and all too public arguments and disagreements will have on Israel and remember that Israel comes before your pride and ego.


There is one last item that brings many of us great sadness. This is to our beloved Rabbis who we respect and look to for moral guidance and exemplary leadership. It really pains many Israelis when we read that one of the supposed pillars of our society and those who we look to for examples of piety and guidance in living by the Torah and in a righteousness manner are found to have taken bribes or acted in other manner of deceit or shame. It is bad enough when politicians disgrace themselves but when one of our Rabbis does so it causes us to feel some amount of disgrace as well. We try to live well and in a manner which any Rabbi would comment there is a righteous person but how are we to act with restraint, respect and in a righteous manner if those whose lives are supposed to define righteousness and honor act shamefully. Granted the numbers of such scandalous events are few, but even a few is more than we should need to be burdened by. Just like our political leadership, the religious leadership provided by our Rabbis reflects on the name of Israel before the world as well as it reflects on all that is Jewish. When one of our Rabbis sins in such a manner it tarnishes each of us a small amount. As bad as that is, it is incomparable to the pain we feel when we read of a Rabbi who has acted shamefully transgressing our trust and setting a poor example. Please, for the sake of those who take inspiration from your deeds, for those impressionable who are easily influenced, for those whose trust you sustain, for all who seek betterment from your actions and for the sake of Torah which you represent, act with all this and more in mind as all the great goodness performed by the many is tarnished and shamed by the thoughtless and corrupt actions of any one from amongst you. For all of us act always in a manner reflecting the best and representative of Torah and then you and we can expect the same from those you influence by your acts. Be a blessing amongst the people of Israel and Israel too will be blessed by you and by those you touch.


Beyond the Cusp


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