A neighborhood boy calls my daughter a “fat pig” and I end up thinking about anti-Israel bullying on campus. Maybe that’s the way it goes when you’re the founder of a nonprofit that goes to bat for Israel.
Here’s what happened: Recently my wife and I learned that a neighborhood boy had threatened to punch my daughter in the face while using the aforementioned “fat pig” insult.
The stories seem to come out of Israel on a daily basis. Tales of Israeli intolerance: toward fellow Arab citizens, toward foreign workers, toward people of color.
This is a highly disturbing trend, one that Israeli leadership across the political spectrum needs to examine and address. We at the Anti-Defamation League have issued a number of statements of condemnation.
At a time of great concern about young American Jews identifying positively with Israel, study-abroad programs in Israel for U.S. college students should be a great benefit. But while these opportunities provide exposure to Hebrew language skills and immersion in Israeli society, they also foster a disconnect. The fact is that diaspora and Israeli students rarely meet in the classroom.
‘Don’t you understand? If there were a war in America against the Jews, I’d fight for you. The people of Sderot — they are our people. We are one people.”
Those words came from Yotam, an Israeli soldier who silenced a room of 40 Birthright participants from Long Island. Following a visit to Sderot, many were ambivalent about having to spend time in a place that had faced rocket attacks just recently.
'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except, of course, Henry Kissinger’s publicists and strategists who decided that the slowest news day of the year was the perfect time for him to apologize, sort of, for telling Richard Nixon in 1973 that “if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”
Much has already been written about the letter signed by dozens of communal rabbis in Israel proscribing Jewish residents from renting or selling property to gentiles on halachic grounds. It is clear from the context of the controversy that the motivation behind this provocative step is the concern for the demographic makeup of neighborhoods in the north of Israel, fueled by the fear of a concerted effort to undermine Jewish majorities in those locales.
Earlier this month, my family gathered for a festive Chanukah celebration. We shared a delicious meal, exchanged gifts and enjoyed the warm light of the Chanukah candles.
Yet for many in the Jewish community, Chanukah felt different. With not enough money to spend on gifts, put holiday food on the table or even pay the heating bill, these families went without special festivities, something that would have been unimaginable for many of them only a few years ago.
Many of Israel’s friends on the left tell us how truly concerned they are about Israel’s image in the West. These friends are also concerned that Israel, by not taking the required risks for peace, is setting herself up for disaster. Israel, they warn us, will become an apartheid state, or be overwhelmed demographically by Palestinian Arabs, and or have all her population centers hit by rockets.
Jews don’t celebrate Christmas, but it feels like everyone else does. And this “December Dilemma” forces us, as Jews living in a Christian country, to confront some difficult questions.
First of all, what do Jews think of Christianity? This isn’t an academic question. When Christmas is front and center in streets, stores and television screens, religious differences become part of the family conversation. I can remember my own children at a young age asking me, in their own words, “why did the Jews reject Christianity?”
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.