Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm ashamed to be connected with Israel today. There, I said it.

Growing up in an observant home, I was embedded with a deep love and admiration for the Jewish state. I learned about the Holocaust and how many, many members of my extended family were brutally murdered by the Nazis. I met survivors, witnesses to that horror and saw the tattoos emblazoned on their skin. I had the nightmares that every Jewish child had about being a Holocaust victim themselves. Often waking to thank G-d it was just a nightmare, but still unable to sleep because of the images of my people, my family, being torn apart by anti-Semitic animals.

For years, I felt tremendous pride as I marched along my brethren in Israel day parades. I wore "prisoner-of-conscience" bracelets in honor of Soviet Jews still trapped behind the Iron Curtain. I still remember the terror I felt on that Yom Kippur day, back in 1973, when the news was being passed along at services that war broke out. I remember the thousands and thousands of dollars pledged that day at the appeal my father gave on the pulpit.

I recall the unbridled joy and amazement I felt on July 4, 1976. Yes, for the bicentennial - but even more for the heroic rescue of the Israeli hostages who were freed at Entebbe.

I could go on and on. But today, all I feel is shame. Shame at supposed leaders who care so little for the blood and sweat of her children. Shame that not only for the government heads, but of the opposition parties who are just as responsible.

When Israel traded two dead soldiers for a cold-blooded murderer of a Israeli family, they traded their dignity and respect. Never again no longer means never again. Al Yisroel chai no longer means life. I mourn the future fathers and mothers and children who will certainly be the next victims of Islamic terror. Terror that used to be dealt with forcibly and without prejudice. The Israel I remember and believed in would never allow defeat.

Someone needs to stop this madness. The Israel of my dreams and aspirations would never have given up. They would never have given in. Today I am ashamed of my connection to Israel because Israel has destroyed my connection.

My G-d have mercy on us all.

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