U.S. and Israeli officials have been working hard in recent days to ease the deeply bruised feelings on both sides after Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed cease-fire conditions appeared more sympathetic to the cause of Hamas, a declared terrorist organization, than to Israel, America’s greatest ally.
Amid all of the fear, frustration and anger over Israel’s need to defend itself once again from Hamas, the terror group committed to the destruction of Israel and Jews, it is important to remember that Jewish tradition teaches not only the imperative of defending one’s own but also to not lose our compassion for innocents who suffer.
A friend in Israel bemoaned the fact this week that the world loses its moral bearings when it comes to Israel. Tragically, examples abound. One wonders whether it will make any difference to critics of the Jewish state that Hamas refused to abide by the proposed cease-fire that Israel had accepted on Tuesday. No doubt the media focus will continue to be on the damage inflicted by Israel, as it seeks to eradicate the rocket launchers and munitions factories in Gaza, rather than on the fact that Israeli citizens have been under ongoing attack for years — a situation no country would tolerate.
The deeply upsetting news from Israel this week that several Jewish extremists are being held in connection with the murder of a Palestinian teenager should not be as shocking as it has been for many, particularly in this country.
By a 310-303 vote last week, a prominent American Protestant denomination made history. The Presbyterian Church, with about 1.8 million members, became the first major Christian group in this country to approve a resolution in favor of economic divestment from American businesses that make equipment that helps foster Israel’s occupation in the West Bank.