By Matt Golden
Director, Jewish Community Relations Council
Like many of you, we watched yesterday’s (July 24) Knesset vote in Israel very closely. When it was
over, many of us were deeply troubled. Our good friend and former Federation head, Alan Engel, shared this with me: “Our sages fought, the kings did, too; we battled over each other or about each other, but always came out ok.” He concluded by observing that “this is a bit different, but I’m not exactly sure how.”
Mr. Engel always imparts wisdom. Many of us are disappointed by yesterday’s vote; with it we watched one of the principal checks and balances of Israeli government be blunted after months of protest and hopes for consensus until the very last. With it, there is the portent of more to come. In addition to Alan’s advice, two quotes really rang out to us over the last few days. This from Jewish Federations of North America:
We are in the Three Weeks of mourning stretching from the 17th of Tammuz to Tisha B’av. In a remarkable coincidence, the seven-and-a half-year cycle of studying a page a day of Talmud – daf yomi – focused during these Three Weeks on the destruction of the Temple, and especially on the opinion of the sages that the Temple was destroyed because of divisions within the Jewish people. In yet another coincidence, Israel President Isaac Herzog addressed a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress on Rosh Chodesh Av – the first day of the month of Av, the beginning of the intense Nine Days from the first to the ninth of Av. We may not have prophets, but our history, our sages and even our Jewish calendar are screaming at us, trying to get our attention.
And this from A Wider Bridge, an LBGTQ+ group on the front lines of this protest — as many of the votes yet to come from Israel’s governing coalition will unwind their rights:
The story doesn’t end here. The fate of a democracy is not decided in a single day or with a single vote. We love Israel and care deeply about its future. Our commitment is permanent. Please stand with us as we stand with the Israeli LGBTQ community.
From differing perspectives, each of these three voices say much the same thing: We, the Jews of Israel and the Jews of the diaspora, care deeply about the future of this tiny country and even though we fight amongst ourselves, when we’ve come together, we’ve always “come out ok.” I do not want another reason to remember the 9th of Av.
We are sharing with you the statements from our affiliate groups, JFNA and AJC here: https://jfnamarketing.cmail20.com/t/j-e-eurdyil-ihiizuikh-r/, and: https://www.ajc.org/news/ajc-statement-on-israeli-reasonableness-standard-law