I sent out this letter in reaction to this week’s events in Israel:
I hope this message finds you well.
My name is David Z. Vaisberg. I am a rabbi in the United States (Canadian originally), and I am a deep lover of Israel. I believe in the Jewish state as a home and refuge for all Jews, and I hold that the Jewish state is a place where Judaism as an ideal way of life, according to the laws and traditions of the Jewish people, can and ought to come to fruition.
My disappointment and outrage at recent events in Israel must therefore come to you at no shock. Between the stabbing at the Jerusalem Pride parade, demands to bulldoze the High Court of Justice because of the decision that took nearly a decade to take down only two illegal settlement buildings, the public statement by the Minister of Religious Affairs that liberal Jews have no place among the Jewish people, and the fire-bombing of a home of innocents, with their baby left dead, Jewish extremists have shown that they are present and vibrant in Israeli society.
These acts, like many others, are not only in violation of the 613 mitzvot of Torah; they even go against the seven laws for the children of Noah— mitzvot we expect to be observed by all human beings, and without which we can never be at peace. These laws include two very distinct ones: No murder, and courts of law and justice. Your home-grown extremists hold these two fundamental mitzvot in contempt.
Yes, the Israeli authorities have denounced these acts, and in the cases of violence gone after the perpetrators. For that I am thankful. All that you seem to do, however, is react. The time has long since come and gone for you to stop reacting and begin acting, to address the larger issues of racism, violence and hatred that are festering in your population.
You are clearly concerned with the future of the body of Israel, making sure that defense is strong and that the world knows of the threat Iran and other extremist entities pose to the state of Israel. Please concern yourself as much, if not more, with the soul of Israel, which is being destroyed from within by your own home-grown extremists.
Please take swift action to address Israel’s internal plagues, so that we might have a nation in which all her citizens can be safe and thrive, and in which we, the Jewish people, can serve as commanded as a light to the nations.
I pray that there will be a thriving Jewish state of which I can be proud, for my daughter when she is grown, for my grandchildren and for my great-grand-children. I hope you do too.
Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg
Temple Emanu-El, Edison New Jersey
Email addresses found at: http://www.knesset.gov.il/mk/eng/MKIndex_Current_eng.asp?view=7
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