Monday, 16 June 2014

A place of prayer for all nations

Further to my post below....

For the future, we should not, of course, allow these terrorist actions to go unpunished. In the same sense that the police wouldn't rest if criminals who did a bank job and held people hostage & escaped justice; then when they are caught then the law deals with them as it allows. Furthermore the police would also want to find the criminal mastermind behind this bank job and put them behind bars. Or to think of another analogy, in the same sense that the allies didn't just shoot the Fascist leadership at the end of WWII, but instead put them on trial. This is what I mean by not letting this go unpunished.

I'm not here to defend every single policy of Israel for the past 70 years, although it is worth noting that at present the Hamas (the criminal masterminds) leadership has been arrested. I can't see a problem with this myself. I'd also note that it has been Hamas and Hezbollah who have been targeted in recent campaigns. In terms of broader and long term policy, I think it is quite clear that Israel needs to take further steps to defend her own citizenary, perhaps by allowing those who've served in the IDF access to light arms and deputising these people to work alongside the regular IDF and security forces, that's just off the top of my head, but other suggestions are welcome.

I'd also opine that it is practically impossible for Israel to continue negociations whilst Hamas is part of this 'unity government'. This is a terror group whose stated aim, let us not forget, is to drive every last Jew to the Med sea and watch them drown and who would like nothing more than to establish a strict Islamic state in the whole of 'Palestine'.

Furthermore, this needs to be taken in the wider regional context. Look at the events of the past week in Iraq, with another terrorist group, who already control parts of Syria and Lebanon, who want to see the establishment of global caliphate, which claims it will do terrible things to the relatively moderate King of Jordan and his ( beautiful wife), which is even beyond the pale of Al Queada & the Mullahs of Iran, who when they are not waging war on fellow muslims are busy crucifying, stoning to death and slaughtering other minorities such as Christians and heaven help you in you are gay [NB- whilst I'm off on one, another thing I never get about the left is why they are apparently so supportive of such an illiberal ideology & do nothing but see Israel - a fellow liberal democratic state- as the wicked villain of the middle east- a sea of authoritarian, right wing, nationalist or Islamisict fundamentalist states & the whole 'support Palestine' meme].

In these circumstances Israel would be signing a death warrant or a suicide note, if it were to do what was being demanded of her in popular opinion. Funnily enough Israel has always, in principal, been prepared to sign up to a land for peace deal (obviously Jerusalem should remain in Israeli hands). The other side has not and has rebuked peace at every opportunity. There was a golden moment in the dying days of the Clinton Presidency. Who blew it?Not the Israelis.

I also wanted to put this post up in response to the (admittedly few) e-mails we've received and the many thoughts and prayers which our non-Jewish friends have communicated to us over the past 48 hours following the terrible kidnapping of three innocent children from the Jewish community in Israel. In the diaspora Jewish community and in the land of Israel, we have been praying that the 3 children who have been kidnapped by terrorists will be released unharmed, but I am grateful to those who stand by us, whenever events such as this occur and unfortunately they occur too many times in the Holy Land.

Many people may think this a tad irritating, given what  I had written last week about the idea of ecumenical prayer. The distinction is that I  do not see myself worshipping anything other than the G-d of the Hebrew Bible, who has been given many descriptions, but to whom we call Hashem (the name) and who has a sacred personal name, which we Jews are unable to write or pronounce (which is why we spell this name as G-d), which Christians know as The tetragrammaton. I do, however, believe that non-Jews are capable of praying to and receive blessings from the Almighty. Indeed the Hebrew Bible is quite clear on this, throughout its pages, for example :
"Likewise when foreigners, who are not of your people Israel, come from a distant land because of your great name, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm, when they come and pray toward this house, may you hear from heaven your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigners ask of you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built." 
[2 Chronicles chapter 6 vs 32-33]
"these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." 
[Isiah 56 vs 7]

Moses Maimonides, one of our great Sephardi Rabbis, once said : 
"Any person from any nation of the world who is moved to dedicate his life to God...he is considered holy of the holies and God will be his portion forever"
So to those of your, my Anglican cousins, our non-Jewish friends, our gay friends, my Methodist & Hindu in-laws, a thank you for your blessing, prayers and thoughts. I know that they are counted by the Almighty as surely as the prayers of all of us Jews. I appreciate the e-mail which one of you sent to us of the great Welsh hymn 'Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer' in Hebrew & Welsh[!]. 

I was struck by the fact that on Saturday night, in Israel at the Kotel (the Western or 'wailing' wall) when the Rabbis asked for people to come and pray for this situation there was, according to my brother, many hundreds if not thousands of people who turned up at 11.00 pm, to pray, sing Psalms and songs at the remaining structure of G-d's Temple, the place in which the divine presence, still dwells. What I found most moving was the report that there were all Jews here of many different backgrounds- men & women, young and old, secular and religious, Reform and Orthodox, Hassidic and Haredi,  Aszkenazi and Sephardi, all united in prayer to G-d [which is the ideal and way things really 'should' be].  I do pray that G-d will listen to all of our prayers and that the security services, the IDF  will be able to rescue these children & bring them back to where they should be, namely to be with their family, their friends and their community.  I will leave you with a brief video clip of this prayer at the Kotel, toward the end, when the following song was sung unprompted, which may explain why we have given space on our blog to a community to whom we do not know, but to whom we are all part of: 

"Acheinu kol beit yisrael,
han'nutunim b'tzara uvashivyah,
haomdim bein bayam uvein bayabasha.
Hamakom Y'racheim Aleihem
v'yotziem mitzra lirvacha
um'afaila l'orah umishiabud lig'ulah,
hashta ba'agala uvizman kariv.
V'nomar: Amen"
In English  : 
"Our brothers are the whole family of Israel.
Those in distress and those in captivity,
Whether on the sea or dry land.
May God have mercy on them,
And bring them out from distress to relief,
From darkness to light,
From bondage to redemption,
Now, speedily and soon.
And let us say, Amen."


  1. Time for a Bush moment

  2. Good stuff. At least Bush was right about somethings.

  3. Hi David,

    Thanks for this fab article. It's articulated a lot of stuff I've been trying to think through recently. I hope the boys are rescued soon.

  4. Amen to this, but in my frustration and anger, this is how I fecking well feel :

  5. That's because the EU is useless and Aston isn't fit to hold any office, yet alone EU Foreign Secretary.

  6. The prayers at the Kotel were very moving. Thanks for putting this up. I agree with it.

    # Bring back our boys.


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