Rabbi’s Message
June 2017: 50 Years of a Changing Reality
With the celebration of Israeli independence, we remember its struggle for
survival over the last 69 years, while at the same time it built a State that is a
role model of democracy, creativity and progress.
It would not be easy for any country to develop and to absorb waves of new
immigrants while constantly being under attack. Israel reached the record of
fighting five wars (1948, '56, '67, '73, '81) and facing terrorism almost daily.
In June, a big milestone in this story will be marked. During the so-called Six
Day War in 1967, the eternal capital of Israel, Jerusalem was reunified. The
people of Israel and the Jews from all countries have access to the holy sites of
the city and are able to pray touching the stones of the Kotel, the Western Wall
of the Temple.
In the Old City, under Israeli sovereignty, Jews, Christians and Muslims share
the holiness of its streets, the growing prosperity from a tremendous tourism
industry, and the changes in how they view each other from daily interaction.
The victory in 1967 also brought a huge change to the region. The war gave
Israel control of a territory full of history that holds the roots of the birthing of the
Jewish people. For example, Nablus is Shechem, where our father Abraham
first settled. In Hebron are buried our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
But, at the same time Israel gained control over almost 2 million Arabs who
went from being Jordanians in the West Bank, and Egyptians in Gaza, to
becoming Palestinians.
It is one thing to control territory, and a different thing tocontrol people.
And then, another reality change: the sophistication of terrorism. The PLO was
founded in 1964, before the Six Days War, and yet “Liberation of Palestine”
already meant “destruction of Israel”. Palestinian terrorism grew from hijacking
an airplane to launching thousands of missiles against the civil population of
Israel, including suicide bombers, stabbing people on the streets, tunnels for
kidnapping, and running over pedestrians with a truck or a car.
So, for the last 50 years the question has been, “how can we change this
reality?" And answer is,“not with this leadership” that names streets after
terrorists and teaches their children to hate. Only a change in the Palestinian
leadership will give us the chance to change this reality. While Israel has made many efforts to
find a solution (Rabin-Peres, Barack,Olmert, pulling out of Gaza), the Palestinians have shown
no willingness to change their dream of a Middle East without Israel and a Jerusalem without
Jews, to a reality of peace and prosperity.They could realize the benefits of
working together, even with an Israeli right wing government, there would be a solution to the conflict. Remember, peace with Egypt
came under Begin
There are, nevertheless, endeavors for building bridges from both sides, but still, not well known
June 1967 marked the beginning of a huge transformation in Israeli, Jewish and world reality. While we celebrate a
re-unified Jerusalem, we pray for and labor making one of Jerusalem's meanings a reality: city of Shalom, peace. And with
Jerusalem, that shalom would be extended throughout the region and the world.As the Prayer for Peace in our Siddur says,
“For all who live on earth shouldrealize we have not come into being to hate or to destroy. We have come into
being to praise, to labor and to love."
Rabbi Zeilicovich
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