Not long ago, I received a copy of a letter that an Israeli man sent to his Arab friend living in Gaza. He begins by asking: “Where are the Muslims? Why are they keeping quiet? Why is the world silent? Where are the world’s left-wing protestors? Why haven’t they burned jihad flags? How is it possible that no one has taken to the street, neither in Paris nor in London, neither in Casablanca nor in Amman?”
He raises these questions after pointing out that in just the past few years; Muslim states have turned against their own people and created millions of refugees. That the Jihad organizations not only kill, but brutalize without any sense of human sanctity. In Somalia, in Nigeria, in Pakistan, in Syria, in Iraq. Yes, every place where one of the extensions of Jihad had grown has turned into a center of bloodshed, whether it be the Taliban, Hamas, Boko Haram, al-Queda or ISIS. And he asks: “Where are the voices as all of these organizations have built their identities on misery, revenge and terror.
And it seems that no matter what Israel does to protect itself; whether they be check-points for automobiles coming from the West Bank, or the building of a fence that has so greatly diminished terror attacks, or this past episode in Gaza. Yes it was bloody and ugly. And no, Israel has no desire to kill innocent Palestinian children, and women and men…and don’t take that observation from me or from politicians; take it from the soldiers who are just outside of Gaza. Take that truth from the Israeli soldiers who will be visiting our community next month and telling of their experiences.Israel seeks to defend itself, while bringing countless blessing to so many countries of this world. And the world’s reaction: condemnation, calls for boycotts and divestment, claims of wanton brutality by Israeli soldiers.
The world is appalled by scenes of Israeli brutality, only to later learn that Hamas has orchestrated a media campaign of falsehood and deception. Missile launchers have been intentionally moved from place to place where there are children, as they have been regarded as “disposable collateral” in this attempt to destroy Israel.
One side cherishes life; the other side cherishes death and martyrdom-not for its leaders, but for its deceived followers. And Israel has been forced to defend itself, because no other country would tolerate a terrorist entity, with a Nazi ideology, launching rockets incessantly at a civil population. In truth, the Israel that I know desires but one thing: To be able to live peacefully with its neighbors. Yes, it’s a crazy and violent world. But as Jews, we dare not despair. Rather, we respond Henini-“here I am” with my undying hopes and visions.
Rabbi David Greenberg