Close to 300 clerics from Jewish communities around the world, orchestrated by the New Israel Fund, this week sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu letting him know of their “outrage at the treatment of non-Orthodox Jews.”
In a Middle east where the mistreatment of religious movements usually involves beheading or slavery, the incident about which the almost-300 are so irate was rather mild: a provocation less than two weeks ago, when a smattering of Reform clergy insisted on forcefully conducting an unauthorized ceremony and protest with Torah scrolls at the Kotel and were pushed back by local security. Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, was pepper sprayed.
“We will never allow Torah scrolls to be wrested from our arms,” the A-300 said in their protest letter. “And we will cling tightly to them, at the Kotel and everywhere Jews pray.”
To paraphrase Winston Churchill: “We shall take our Torah scrolls on the beaches, we shall carry them on the landing grounds, we shall do hagba’ha in the fields and glilah in the streets, we shall say Barchu in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
The A-300 said the violence at the Western Wall did not happen “in a vacuum,” but instead “it comes in a political context in which the Israeli government refuses to respect its obligations toward the majority of Jews, who are not ultra-Orthodox.”
Rick Jacobs has recently taken to calling anyone who is not Reform or Conservative “ultra-Orthodox.”
“This includes the compromise you previously agreed to – and then reneged on – over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel. It comes in a political context in which government officials frequently disparage Reform Jews, Arabs, human rights defenders, and others who disagree with its policies. And it comes in the context in which violence against Jews who disagree with the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate has become almost routine.”
Gosh, this much whining from grown men and women about a lost deal in a country they visited last summer and got cheated by a former furniture salesman – take a chill pill, people.
That was the letter. Then came the video.
The most disturbing thing by far about this most recent YouTube attack on Netanyahu by the Conservative Jewish movement, is that in the midst of the political chaos at home, with a president who is at war with more than half of the American people, and who might just buy America an apocalypse for the holidays; and military chaos at the border of the Jewish State – US Conservative Jews are still gnawing at their lost acre of real estate by the Kotel as if anyone within or without their fast shrinking constituency cares.
“Mr. Prime Minister, shame on you,” they cry out in possibly the most visually dead video of 5778, with ominous music in the background far more suitable for a video on the Clintons and Vince Foster.
It turns out that in an attempt to wiggle out of his dilemma of keeping intact his coalition with three religious parties while not losing his relationship with the non-Orthodox American Jews, Benjamin Netanyahu, an Israeli politician since the 1980s, twisted the facts.
“Don’t manipulate the facts,” the Conservative movement leaders behind the text-based video (with snippets of Netanyahu lying) admonish the PM.
Because, yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Prime Minister reneged on his promise to the Reform and Conservative of a slice of prime real estate in front of the Western Wall where they could pray to God in mixed-sex groups on those rare occasions when they visit Israel – or, if they are part of the Masorti movement in Israel, almost never.
Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) in his previous role as Minister of Religious Services built the Israeli Reform and Masorti folks a nice platform, right up against the Kotel of Tears, where they could pray in the company of their wives and husbands and children of all sexes, and guess what – it stands empty 340 to 360 days a year, from what we hear.
So a burning need for that special slice of heaven there isn’t.
What there is in heaping bowls is that those two minuscule movements in Israel – where even the atheists insist that the God they reject be Orthodox – need exposure, not prayer. Location, location, location, is the battle cry of all real estate agents, including the clerical kind.
Nevertheless, in their depiction of a tantrum with ominous background music, the Conservative leaders decry the fact that Israel’s top politician is a liar. Get in line, is all we can tell you. If the settlers in Judea and Samaria were to issue a new video every time Netanyahu lied to them, YouTube would have to double its server farms.
Please, no more whining, people. You don’t count in Israel because you don’t live here. You don’t want to help Israel? The Jewish State will get over it – or, really, will have no idea, because Jews here are worried about real stuff. You want to help? Great, contact Nefesh B’Nefesh and make Aliyah, then vote for Arab Communists if you want, we’ll love you anyway.
But whatever you do, please, stop the whining.