Saturday night, down town Jerusalem, my political antenna picked up a strong signal as I came across a gathering of about a hundred young people, some carrying signs.
They were not dressed like the ultra Orthodox nor were they wearing Kippot at all. This hint helped eliminate a number of possible themes for the demonstration.
Curious, I questioned a few of the young Israelis. Their sign, in Hebrew and Arabic, protested Jewish “racism” against Arabs in Israel.
Leaflets they distributed denounced a candidate for Chief rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the current Chief rabbi of the city of Safed.
The rabbi is one of the lightening rods of the Left due to his firm stance about trying to keep Safed as Jewish as possible. He invokes non controvertible Jewish halacha / law that forbids Jews to sell or rent to non Jews in the land of Israel. He decried the influx of Arab students to the college in Safed as many harassed or dated the local Jewish girls; an unwelcome phenomenon according to the rabbi. Apparantly a welcome one to the demonstrators.
The other target of the demonstration was “Lahava” an organization dedicated to preventing intermarriage in Israel.
I asked some of the demonstrators, how is this racist? After all, “Lahava” and Jewish law / halacha does not bar any RACE from its ranks. The ban is on marrying into another FAITH. This by definition, is NOT racism. Jews come in many colors and shapes.
I did not convince them.
One of the organizers told me,”The Torah I accept has nothing to do with restrictions on marriage. My Torah tells me to lift up my voice for the right to marry who ever one wants That is the spirit of my Torah”. Each to their own Torah…
I did ask one of them,why is it that as Jews are increasingly being attacked , maimed and killed in Jerusalem, they never raise their voices for their own brother’s and sister’s right to security and life? He answered,”as a Jew I am responsible for what Jews do and I am ashamed of the Jewish racism practiced against Arabs.
I repeated,”but what about your own people. Is there no room left in your heart for them as they suffer Arab violence?” He said, we have a police that takes care of that” I rely upon them.”
He was clearly very concerned.
“Takes care of that”. Rely upon the police”
Some how, I did not pick up the anguish, the zeal, the outrage.
There is an old Jewish saying,”When it truly hurts you scream”
But this is not a new phenomenon. Have we not witnessed Jews through out our history who identified with our oppressors; from the Hellenists right down to the “Jewish section of the Communist party – to those supporting the “Palestinian” cause today.
The main Israel state radio today discussed the latest Arab murder in which of three month old Chaya Zisel was run down. Why did he do it? Their expert suggested.. Poverty, Jewish settlers in his neighborhood. Jews visiting the Temple Mount?
How long can one keep the blinds on..?
Indeed, this unique Jewish malaise has been predicted by our prophets.
Zacharia 12:2 foretells, “All the nations and Judah will besiege Jerusalem…”
I have often wondered what he meant by “and Judah”.
It is clear to me now.
The good news is that Zacharia foretold this bizarre situation as a part of the final redemption.
May we merit it quickly.