Thursday, December 14, 2023

In This Moment: A Crossroads

The Shabbat-O-Gram is sponsored

by Jessica and Dan Avnir in honor of their

daughter, Millie, becoming a Bat Mitzvah.

Mazal tov to the Avnirs!!

In This Moment

Israel's Front Pages

Jerusalem Post


Yediot Ahronot

(check these links in the evening to get Friday's front page)

Here is a current list of the names of Israeli hostages. We pray for them.

What Happened Today? (Ha'aretz)

A Crossroads

When Joseph reached a crossroads last week in the portion of Vayeshev, he was directed by an anonymous man right into the snare of his brother's trap. He was thrown into a pit, which set into motion a chain reaction of events leading ultimately to Israel's descent to Egyptian slavery. The rest, literally, is history - all of Jewish history, in fact.

Yogi Berra said that when you reach a fork in the road, take it. Israel now must decide which way to go.

With the increasing tensions between Israeli leaders and the US, along with mixed results from the Gaza ground campaign and a huge human toll on both sides, Israel has reached a crossroads. The US is saying they must scale things down by the end of the year but Israel can still maintain the same war aims vis. Hamas. It's hard to see those being achieved simply with a Munich-style series of attacks on Hamas leaders around the world. It's also hard to see Israeli forces simply leaving Gaza by the end of the year, even if the shooting has been scaled back.

It seems like the worst of all possible worlds. No resolution. No deterrence. Israel again isolated. Hamas and Iran emboldened.

Someone please explain to me how this possibly benefits the free world's interests.

A scaled back operation is not no operation, and the presence of Israeli troops will prevent Hamas from regrouping in the short term. But now Israelis could use some carrots to go along with the US stick. One would certainly be a release of all or most remaining hostages - which will only happen under increased worls pressure. Another would be an upgrade of the Abraham Accord initiatives that were close to bringing in the Saudis. before October 7. And a third would be a carrot for the Israeli people, but not it's leaders. A pause would give Israelis a chance to begin getting their house in order. I've no doubt that the day things calm down in Gaza will be the day Israelis take to the streets by the millions to demand the resignation of the government. We'll be right back to mass demonstrations of the pre-October 7 part of 2023 - but much bigger.

The government knows that too, which is why they will likely ignore the Americans, to their great peril. It would behoove the prime minister to save us all the added disruption and call elections immediately.

Meanwhile the next few weeks promise to be very difficult, for all parties, bloody, dusty and wet - with the tunnels being flooded with sea water. It will be harder and harder to stand up to the cries for mercy. Knowing that there was no mercy on October 7 will be our only possible reply. But not an easy one for anyone with a conscience. Maybe the large bounty being offered by Israel for information on Hamas leadership will bring quick results. That would (possibly) end things very quickly.

The key is to keep it simple. The key is the keys: Hamas cannot be given back the keys to Gaza when this is all said and done. And the hostages need to come home.

Everything else is commentary.

Shabbat Shalom and enjoy the final night of Hanukkah.

Recommended Reading

  • Understanding Jewish Views of Abortion: An Overview (Rabbinical Assembly) - This document is not a teshuvah or an exhaustive review of the nuances of CJLS positions on specific medical conditions or abortion procedures. Rather, it is a teachable overview of the Conservative/Masorti Movement’s consensus positions on abortion. In light of the current Texas case and the Supreme Court taking on the case of the abortion pill being mailed across state lines, it bears reminding ourselves just how differently Judaism teaches this issue from the culture of the Christian right.

Temple Beth El
350 Roxbury Road
Stamford, Connecticut 06902
203-322-6901 |
A Conservative, Inclusive, Spiritual Community

No comments: