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August 2, 2014 / 6 Av, 5774
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Will Sharon Brous Bet her Own Life?


Sharon Brous is a Los Angeles based American Reform Rabbi (nebech). She’s a regular on both Newsweek’s and the Forward’s list of 50 most influential members of the American Jewish community. She was the founding rabbi of IKAR (Hebrew for “essence”), which describes its mission “[reanimating] Jewish life through soulful religious and spiritual practice that is rooted in a deep commitment to social justice.” And IKAR was named one of the nation’s 50 most innovative Jewish nonprofits.

So far there’s nothing wrong with this picture. But this week, Sharon Brous published a widely syndicated op-ed titled “Let’s bet on peace,” in which she touts Secretary of State John Kerry’s indefatigable efforts on getting Israel and the Palestinians to sign a peace treaty, once and for all. I’ll deal in a moment with Brous’s own part in this effort, but first I must share a difficulty I’m having with the following assertion:

“This is a rare moment — a precious opportunity.”

Why?

What has changed in the plot of blessed land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean that wasn’t there before? What were the organic political drives either in Israel or in the PA that gave anyone the impression of a sudden rise in the desire for a treaty?

I could think of a few things.

1. Over the past decade, the IDF has become very good at impeding the Palestinians’ attempts to recreate their terror infrastructure. The strategy involves a deep network of informers and regular early morning raids which pick up suspects. Since the entire Judea and Samaria area has been under martial law since 1967, the IDF can move freely and do its job professionally. The political arm of the PLO—the PA—was planning to make it harder on the IDF to fight terrorism. The moment the PA gets any kind of political recognition as an independent entity, the IDF will start violating stuff by carrying out the same mission.

2. Palestinian enthusiasm for statehood, which has always been less than certain, has been waning, as the constantly improving business ties with Israeli enterprises have been improving, bringing prosperity that reminded many of the good old days under full “occupation.” Back then, Palestinian baby mortality was the lowest in the Arab world, their roads were being paved and mended, their sewer system maintained. The PA and the Hamas are incompetent at running their communities, both relying almost exclusively on donations and on extortion of their local businesses.

Improved employment for Palestinians in Israeli owned businesses, and, more crucially, the growth of a Palestinian middle class that cooperates with and benefits from Israel could mean death to the PLO gang that was brought in by the Rabin government in 1993 as security sub-contractors.

The last thing the PLO wants are wealthy Palestinians who don’t rely on them for their income.

So, for both those reasons, it made sense for the Palestinians to try once more to gain control of their deteriorating political situation through a permanent peace treaty that would let them own the store.

Why was it such a momentous opportunity for the Obama Administration?

That one is a bit harder to figure out. The U.S. is about to declare energy independence; it no longer needs to worry about who does what in the Middle East. Let the Chinese inherit this headache, since they’re still lusting for the regional oil. The U.S. is already out of Iraq, next it’ll be gone from Afghanistan, Iran is in the bag from an American point of view (which can be argued, but the Obama team is convinced the Iran issue is settled).

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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15 Responses to “Will Sharon Brous Bet her Own Life?”

  1. Thank you for speaking from your heart and with the authority of someone who is on the line.

  2. Jeff Rosner says:

    I stopped reading after the 1st sentence in the 2nd paragraph: "So far there’s nothing wrong with this picture"

  3. Anonymous says:

    If she is one of the fifty most influential Jew's in America, then she must have an ego comparable to Obama. I read Jewish news daily from several sources and I never heard of her.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Is the feminine version of Rabbi, rabbit?

  5. Lonny Moses says:

    I made Aliyah 10 months ago and hope to be in Israel when peace is made. Do you have any ad hominem attacks to level at my support of this Peace effort?

  6. sure. "hope is the mother of idiots"
    a po polsku: "nadzieja jest matka glupich"

  7. Lonny Moses says:

    Andrzej Lozowski
    "We have not yet lost our hope, our hope of 2000 years"
    עוֹד לֹא אָבְדָה תִּקְוָתֵנוּ הַתִּקְוָה בַּת שְׁנוֹת אַלְפַּיִם

  8. Lonny Moses deed, my friend, deed is what counts.
    Hope will get you (and Obama) nowhere

  9. Ron Kall says:

    Lonny Moses In that case, you will die waiting for it will never happen and if it did you will be killed by your new peace partners along with the rest of Israel! Seriously living in fantasy land!!

  10. Earl W. Littlefield Jr says:

    The dissolution of Israel as a Nation under the guise of a "peace treaty" foisted upon Israel and the Jewish People by Obama, Kerry, and 'Jewish' traitors like Tzippi Livni, Sharon Brous, & many, many others is still the same tragedy that has been proposed for decades. Merely changing one or two supporters and a word or two of the text makes no difference in the tragedy it actually is…….

  11. Dan Silagi says:

    Is your main problem with this woman she's a Reform rabbi (who of course is neither Jewish or a rabbi), or that she's opposed to Israel simply annexing the West Bank and Gaza and expelling the Arabs?

  12. I am hereby willing to bet ms Brous life on all the issues she has brought to the table .

  13. Yosef Goldman
    How many times are you going to repost, Yosef?

  14. Yosef Goldman
    STFU Yosef. Your post is not THAT important.

  15. Stuart Kaufman says:

    Here she is, ladies and gentlemen, the perfect example of a feckless clergy person who is called a "rabbi" by a movement that has "reformed" itself right out of Judaism. The only thing that doesn't exist in their paradigm of "social justice" is the Torah or any identification with Judaism.

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