The celebration of Israel's independence this year coincides with the 50th anniversary this coming June of the Six Day War of 1967. Israel's resounding military victory was tranformative: the Old City of Jerusalem was reclaimed, and Jews were once again free to pray at the Western Wall. And yet, as a result of 1967, stark political and sociological questions were raised about an Israeli (military and civilian) presence in the West Bank, the rights (or lack thereof) of Arab individuals living in the West Bank, and the security implications of potentially disengaging from the West Bank.
Our American Jewish dialogue about Israel is all too often inflexibly partisan. In the spirit of celebrating all viewpoints on Israel on this Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, I want to encourage you to read this piece by respected writer and thought-leader Yossi Klein HaLevi. Klein HaLevi does a good deal of teaching with Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI), an extraordinary center of Jewish thought that also seeks to bring the Jewish religious value of pluralism to Israel's political sphere as well. As you're reading Klein HaLevi's piece, challenge yourself to listen more deeply to those who think about Israeli politics differently. If you tend to lean towards the Israeli left, how can the right expand your understanding of contemporary Israel? And if you tend to lean right, how can the left expand your understanding of contemporary Israel?
At the end of the day, Israel is so much more than an expression of partisanship. She is the living, breathing fulfillment of an age-old Jewish dream, best expressed by the concluding words of HaTikvah: "To be a free people in our ancestral land, in the Land of Israel and Jerusalem...."
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
Our local Westchester celebration of Israel will take place Monday night at the JCC in Scarsdale. Join Rabbi Glickman and Cantor Becker there! Full Details Here. And if you find yourself on the Upper West Side on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday, click here.
We don't just pray Jewishly or think Jewishly...We eat Jewishly! View the "12 Best Falafel Restaurants in NYC"
If you like the Klein HaLevi piece, then certainly pick up a copy of his Like Dreamers, which is essential reading as we mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.