Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Israel suspends ties with U.N. body over the cave of Mahpelah

Israel suspends US Ties with U.N. body 11/9/2010
Once again the UN continues to make it impossible to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation between Arabs and Israelis. Their decision last week to declare the venerable Cave Of Machpelah in Hebron as a Palestinian Holy Site only serves to inflame passions rather than build a foundation of peace. Besides the fact that only today Hebron is primarily an Arab city, the cave still is one of Judaism’s most sacred sites. It is the burial place of our patriarchs and some of our matriarchs whose names we intone every day when we pray to the “God of our fathers and mothers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rachel and Leah.
How is it possible to rewrite history in a way that delegitimizes the historic and theological connection of the role of the patriarchs and matriarchs from Judaism? What does the UN mean when they say the site is Palestinian? Is that a national term or religious? The point is that it doesn’t really matter what they mean by the designation. Time and time again we see in the never-ending propaganda wars  the Arab countries’ influence in the U.N. and the erosion of the U.N.’s moral stature. In addition there is the same impact as well as in the perception of the countries who support these counterproductive measures.  When the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization make these vain and political volatile proclamations, they cross over the line of neutrality and overstep their mandate. They try to undermine Israel’s historic legitimacy in the land and to its holy sites. Finally, what the UN does is hammer away at Israel’s moral compass in the world. Jews and Israelis see through this chicanery but I am not sure our gentile friends always get it.
I never give up on the hope for peace in the near future between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Political leaders, not the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, will  argue over how to preserve holy sites including access to them by all faiths. The Cave of Mahpelah is sacred to Judaism and if it is sacred to Islam and Christianity then solutions will have to be worked out to acknowledge the spiritual value of the cave to all faiths. Declaring a holy site to be “Palestinian,” moves us farther away from the discussion between the real partners in this protracted debate who have the duty to find a lasting peace framework they can all live within.


william said...

Rabbi, today the U.N., more than ever, is seen as "speaking for the world." And the world is clearly saying, once again, to the Jewish people, that regardless of history, of law, of justice, of arguments made, and proven, time and again, events are moving in a particular direction, because "that is the way the world wants it".

It is clear, once again, that the Jewish people can not count on others to be "friends". We can only count on ourselves. Continued divisiveness in our ranks; continued clinging to the hope that those in power will protect us, will surely doom us to another, rapidly approaching catastrophe.

Rabbi Arthur Segal said...

Shalom Rebbe Brad:

William is correct in that we Jews need to stop looking towards DC or any non- Jewish organization or nation for our physical and spiritual survival.

Dovid Melech tells us quite clearly in Ps 118: 8 and 9 for us to only depend on G!d, not even our finite selves, and definitely not depend on ''man'' or ''foreign princes.''

The Guardian of Israel is ha Shem, King David teaches us, and as we will read in the Haftarah of Chanukah, it is not weaponry, [albeit needed, but not to be relied on 100%.]

And William is also correct that these silly divisions between sects of Judaism, and then of Jews inside the same shul, with sinat chinam, will doom us today, not any differently than it doomed Ezra's Temple in 69 CE.

Psychologists hace a term called ''behavioral sink.'' It used to be thought that if one behaved ethically in an organization, [for example a good rabbi like yourself], than others would try to emulate that behavior. Psychologists and social scientists have found that in groups, and in this case I will use Houses of Worship as an example, members will begin to sink to the lowest behaviors exhibited by the most base members.

Just as in economics Gresham's Law of ''bad money drives good money out,'' the rabbis taught that bad behavior in synagogues drives good spiritual and ethical people away. In fact, in the very first book of the Talmud, the rabbis discuss 2000 years ago how they dislike going to their own synagogues, watching Jews behaving poorly to one another.

If we look at the problems of our people today, whether it be in Israel or the USA, they stem in most part from lack of true spirituality and derek eretz.

Shalom uvracha,
Your chaver,

Rabbi Arthur Segal

Rabbi Brad L. Bloom said...

Bill, I am not ready to go all the way with an absolute that we can't count on the rest of the world. I full well understand the reality of anti-semitism. But we do have friends and we must be proactive in cultivating relationships locally and around the world. Otherwise we can create the self fulfilling prophecy of our isolation. AIPAC sees that value in its current effort to work with churches and expand beyond the synagogue-Jewish community sphere of influence.

william said...

Call me a cynic or a pessimist. Based on my experiences, and even more so, on my father's experiences, we cannot count on our "friends", when push comes to shove. Pro-active? Sure. Shake hands and play nice? sure. But always looking over our shoulder; always ready to be disappointed; always ready to gird our loins, and expect our brothers to rise to the occasion, or meet the threat, with us.