We are taught in Ecclesiastes 3:7. “there is a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak.” In my opinion, the North American Jewish community in its relationship with the Jewish State of Israel must live by this teaching.
It is long past the “time to speak.” The far-right Netanyahu government is in the process of tearing down the democratic Jewish State of Israel. Israelis are marching on the streets of Israel carrying the Israeli flag and yelling that what the Netanyahu government is doing is wrong.
I well remember the rallies we had in our community when Israel was under attack. We gathered together to voice our support for the Jewish state. Now the unity of the Jewish people is under attack. We must show our support for the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are marching in the streets.
If we do not rally as a community (I do understand that unanimity is not necessary) in support of the Israeli protesters, I feel that we lose not only our self-respect, but the entirety of the next generation — Gen X and Gen Z. They were not raised in a time when the existence of the Jewish state was imperiled.
While the current prime minister may be having success in defending the Jewish state against foreign attacks, he is destroying Israel from within. The historical linkage between Israel and the diaspora is on life support. Gone is the relationship that guided my Jewish communal activity that was built on ideas like “we are one” and “keep the promise.”
My mother z’l, would often tell me, “I love you but I do not always love the things you do.” This generation of Jews may not be the “parents” of the Jewish state, but we are partners in this Jewish enterprise called Israel. And, even more, our survival is mutually interdependent.
We must speak! Yes, it may be painful, but we cannot remain silent. We cannot look at ourselves in the mirror without speaking out.
When my children asked why I went to so many Jewish meetings in Milwaukee, the United States and in Israel, my answer was simple: to ensure “l’dor v dor” — that there would be a Jewish future for generations to come.
There is a time to speak and it is now!