Here are this week’s reflections as published in the Temple Newsletter this week:
Call the White House and protest the change in policy as President Obama refused to re-supply Israel with missiles. This is dangerous for Israel at this time especially. Call the White House Comment line 202-456-1111 to protest. Normally these kinds of transfers are done between the Department of Defense and the IDF. Now the President has decided to review every transfer. And has stopped the resupply that Israel desperately needs as the Palestinians walked away again from the ceasefire talks in Egypt. Israel had accepted the truce.
I am back in the saddle from my Sabbatical. Israel was an amazing and frightening and wonderful experience all at the same time. I was glad to be in our homeland during a time when Israel really needed support from the Jewish community. I have been to Israel on so many occasions and in many times of war and turmoil. But this experience this summer was most powerful. Until you have missiles exploding over your head you can’t really understand. Thank goodness for Israeli innovation and our American government’s help. The Iron Dome saved millions of lives this summer. The Iron Dome saved my life this summer.
This amazing and almost sci-fi technology is able to track a missile or rocket from the moment it is fired by Hamas and then through the miracles of algorithms it is able to decide which will target population centers and which missiles will fall in open areas like fields or the sea. The Iron Dome then shoots another missile or missiles at the one targeting Israelis and knocks it out of the sky. I have seen it work, heard the booms, seen the contrails and the puffs smoke of the destroyed rockets.
Running to bomb shelters at all times of day and night is not the ideal way to see Israel and yet, Israelis-our family and friends were grateful that we were there. I spent part of time studying at the Shalom Hartman Institute where ironically the theme for this summer was “War and Peace.”
The second week I was part of the first ever Progressive Rabbis AIPAC Mission to Israel. Often we think of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) as a right wing, Republican Jewish organization. My experience could be nothing further from that. AIPAC is truly bi-partisan and its main and only goal is to gain and garner American support for the State of Israel. It embraces both Jews and Gentiles. It takes our political leaders on both the right and the left and center to Israel. It advocates for Israel in an increasing hostile and anti-Israeli world.
I learned so much on my trip this summer to Israel. I learned from the people we met including right wing settlers and those from the Peace Now movement in Israel. We met members of Knesset from every party and every background. We met government leaders and diplomats. We met Palestinians and Israelis. We visited the Foreign Ministry and a cultural arts center in Haifa that builds bridges between Arabs and Jews. We visited the hospital in S’fat that is treating Syrian refugees who have been injured in the fighting in Syria and we visited with journalists and business leaders.
And what became crystal clear to me, that in a world of increasing Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment, we as American Jews cannot let Israel be under such attack. Whether you agree with the government policies or not, whether you would vote for the present Prime Minister or not is not the question. The question is are you ready to stand up side by side with your fellow Jews to ensure a Jewish, democratic Israel remains strong and continues to have the support of the United States.
As the middle –east realigns politically and as ISIS continues it’s march to conquer Syria and Lebanon on Israel’s borders, Israel needs each of us to continue to advocate here at home with our Congress members and Senators.
Take some time this summer to call your Congress person who is home on recess and find out if he or she voted to authorize more funds for Iron Dome that the President recently signed. If so thank them and tell them how important it is to you to keep Israel strong.
Iron Dome saved my life this summer. And it saved many, many Israeli lives as well. You can do something. Give it a try.