I feel like I have to “stretch my mind” to comment intelligently upon what is taking place in Israel. While the media reveals the people of Gaza running frantically with their children as Israeli-bombed buildings burn in the background, sirens blast repeatedly throughout Israel. Hamas missiles now have greater capability than in the past and can reach just about any place in Israel.
Where are the scenes of Israeli parents and terrified children running to bomb shelters? Where are the scenes of a country that so longs for peace, while Hamas continues to pledge Israel’s eventual destruction?
Whether the people in Israel, or us- it seems that we were not allowed to mourn for the murdered children and their families. But still we think of the three Jewish boys and the Arab boy, and recall that amidst this violent mess, parents and loved ones no doubt still feel agony and emptiness. We Jews condemn the violence and murder done to this Arab boy. The other side rejoices and passes out candy to their children as a sign of their “conquest.”
This morning I saw a picture of Palestinian parents running with their children in response to an Israeli strike in Gaza. There was a father carrying a young boy wearing a “Superman” t-shirt. The little boy appeared to be the same size and age as my grandson who loves wearing his Superman t-shirt. What revulsion, if not pain, I felt. “Look at what you people are doing to your children!”
“Israel is not the cause of your suffering; rather, it is your own leaders who continue to rob you of opportunity and vision and the possibility of living in peace in your own country!”
While “current events” in Israel and Gaza are so ugly, I believe that Israel has not only the right, but the obligation to do whatever it must to protect its people. Not to send random missiles into the sky with the hope that they will land in populated communities, as is the practice of Hamas; but to weaken if not destroy the evil that is Hamas.
Now is the time for each of us to stand up and be counted as Jews and Americans who support Israel’s vision of living in peace.
Rabbi David Greenberg