Monday, December 4, 2023

In This Moment: Is abuse of women wrong - except for Hamas? The cooperation between Arabs and Jews that you are NOT hearing about.


In This Moment

Israel released a travel alert, including a map of countries that its citizens should avoid. it's not a pretty picture. Great Britain, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and Russia are among the countries where the travel warning was raised to level 2, recommending increased precautions. Several countries in Africa (including South Africa and Eritrea) and countries in Central Asia (including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan) have been elevated to level 3, recommending reconsidering non-essential travel. In other words, orange is the new "don't come back." In all, threat levels were raised in 80 countries.

Basically, if you are a Jew these days, it's barely safe to leave your basement. It's nice to know, though, that Mongolia is holding on to it's shade of green. But Australia is a real disappointment - things have gotten rough for Jews there, with a large spike in antisemitism and Islamophobia. Apparently, Melbourne is the epicenter of neo-Nazi and far left activity. Given the choice, maybe this is the year to detour to New Zealand, where life is practically perfect.

Update on Bella

Bella, the dog who survived Hamas captivity for over 50 days, celebrated her first Shabbat back home, according to the headline seen above. Read how she survived. Hamas captors thought Mia was holding a stuffed toy in her blanket. She gave up part of their meager rations to keep her alive.

Did we teach our children too well - or not well enough?

A congregant sent me this thought provoking mini-essay, which, with his permission, I am sharing anonymouslyWe can discuss at an upcoming service.

Why are Jewish and other students protesting Israel’s Gaza operation? They may not be deluded or hateful; they may have absorbed our lessons too well. 
Jews, as a permanently oppressed minority, embraced universalism, human rights for all and tikkun olam. Especially in the U.S., that was “good for the Jews,” as well as consistent with religious values. And all but the most right-wing of Jews, not to mention most of American opinion, enthusiastically preached that.  
The core insight of Zionism, however, is that Jews can’t rely on universal moral consciousness to protect us. Only in a Jewish state where we can develop our own selves and protect ourselves are we and Judaism safe.  
From the beginning, Israel (“a Jewish and democratic state” as its Declaration of Independence affirms) has tried to reconcile Jewish particularism and democratic universalism. As long as Jews were seen as disadvantaged in the U.S. and in jeopardy in Israel, 
It was relatively easy to reconcile support for universal human rights with support for an expressly Jewish state and its battles.  
In this crisis, though, most Israelis and many, many Diaspora Jews affirm that Israel and Israeli Jews must come first. Our particular survival comes before universalism. Yet, we have taught our children that universalism is the highest morality and to uphold the underdog and the oppressed. How can we be surprised that many of them conclude that a strong Israel is acting as a systematic oppressor? And how do we elders, who still remember Jewish life and identity as precarious, now tell them the moral values we inculcated weren’t quite right? 
When I recite our pain and compassion for the Palestinian victims in Gaza to some of the young people I speak with and the responsibility of Hamas for starting the conflict, they reply that it sounds like crocodile tears in the face of scenes of death and devastation that far exceed the atrocities of October 7.   
As you know, from the beginning I’ve felt that the Gaza invasion was counterproductive. So all I’m left with, as a Zionist, is that “my side” comes first and that I have to support this mess because undermining Israel is even worse. I don’t think that’s very persuasive. And yes, I’m well aware of the humanitarian law of war and that there is precedent holding that Israeli strategy and tactics are legal. As Talleyrand supposedly said, though, it is worse than a crime, it is a blunder.  

Tomorrow's Headlines Today

Jerusalem Post

Ha'aretz (English)

Yediot Achronot

  • Did Hamas short the Israeli stock market before Oct. 7 to pay for their war? Per Marc Schulman: One story received a great deal of coverage in Israel today — a paper written by Robert J. Jackson, Jr., Joshua Mitts, and colleagues, titled Trading on Terror?” which was published on SSRN on Sunday. Jackson, a former commissioner of the SEC, and Mitts, a Columbia professor specializing in short selling, discovered that someone had placed a significantly large short bet on an index of Israeli companies, known as EIS, in the days leading up to the October 7th Massacre. This short bet was 100 times the size of the daily average of shorts on EIS and expired on October 13th. They concluded that through intermediaries, Hamas placed this bet as a means to finance their terror operations. In several interviews, Mitts advocated for a thorough investigation into this matter by U.S. authorities. While placing a short is not against U.S. law, however, financing Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization, is undoubtedly illegal.

Recommended Reading

"We have not witnessed even one instance of violence by Arab citizens against Jews since October 7. To me, it says they have been as shaken up by what Hamas did as we have."

Shir Nosatzki

Partners in Fate - Arab citizens heroic rescue of Jews from the Be'eri Massacre

  • What We Know About Sexual Violence During the Oct. 7 Attacks on Israel (NYT) - Extensive witness testimony and documentary evidence of killings, including videos posted by Hamas fighters themselves, support the allegations. “We have come so far in believing survivors of rape and assault in so many situations,” wrote Sheryl Sandberg, the former Meta executive and a leading voice on women in the workplace, in an opinion piece for CNN. “Yet this time, many are ignoring the stories that these bodies tell us about how these women spent the last moments of their lives.” Not loudly condemning the rapes of October 7 — or any rapes — is a massive step backward for the women — and men — of the world,” Ms. Sandberg said. Many people in Israel and elsewhere have complained that it took too long for organizations like the United Nations to issue condemnations, a delay that they took to imply that the initial reports of sex crimes had not been believed.

Click for printable pdf of the reading below for candles by AJWS

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