Disapproval not our role


I am dismayed by Rabbi Rosenberg’s disapproving tone [March 2024] when he speaks of Israel’s retaliation in the Israel-Hamas war.  How can American Jews feel justified in “disapproving” of Israel’s actions when its sole existential purpose must be to defeat Hamas? There can be no doubt that most Israelis mourn the tragic deaths of so many Palestinian women and children, just as God mourned the Egyptians, also His children, drowning when He parted the Red Sea.  But responsible journalists point out that Hamas uses women and children as human shields, and that Israel has done everything possible to help innocent Palestinians get out of the way of battle.  No one should ever forget that on Oct. 7, Hamas made no effort to protect the innocent.  To the contrary, it targeted the innocent, raped, tortured and killed the innocent, violating universally recognized rules of war.  Nor should anyone forget that adding to these barbaric acts, it grabbed more innocent Jews, all civilians, and dragged them back to Gaza where they would be held as hostages.

Rabbi Rosenberg says that now many American Jews are “rethinking” their relationship to Israel.  Most Jews that I know stand firmly behind Israel, hoping the IDF can achieve their aims.  Yes, there is indeed a big difference between Israeli and Diaspora Jews.  We here in America don’t have to worry every day whether our country will survive, whether we or loved ones will get blown up by a terrorist bomb, or whether our children in the IDF will come home in one piece.  No, we are not called on to merge identities. Our role here as Jews is not to disapprove but to pray that Israel can do what it needs to do, in order to win this terrible but necessary war and ensure that it not happen again.

Emily Anthony

Jamestown, RI