Thursday, July 06, 2006

Waiting For Gilad

Danny Gordis is a former resident of North Hollywood. He and his family emigrated to Israel (or, as we say, "made aliyah") in 1998. A Conservative Jewish Rabbi, before he departed he had an extraordinary academic career. He was the founding Dean of Ziegler Rabbinical School, the West Coast Conservative Jewish rabbinical seminary, and was also an Assistant Professor of Philosophy there. He was Vice President for Public Affairs and Community Outreach at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, the campus where the Ziegler Rabbinical School is located. He holds a PhD from USC, which might not impress Hugh Hewitt, but impresses me. In Israel, he is Vice-President of the Mandel Foundation, Israel and Director of its Mandel Leadership Institute. He is a rather young man, for a person of such achievements, and, kein ayin horah (Yiddish invocation against the evil eye), he looks even younger.

Recently, Danny wrote a beautiful "dispatch" to his readers, entitled "I'm Afraid It Will Be Like This," about the mood in Israel in the wake of the recent rocket attacks from Gaza on Southern Israeli towns, and the cross-border attack by Palestinian guerillas, who killed two young Israeli soldiers and kidnapped a third, Gilad Shavit (whose photo appears above). He beautifully captures the emotions of a small peace-loving country that is forced to constantly fight for its very existence; the feelings of its citizens, who now wait for news of the fate of one of their children. He answers the puzzlement of some American and European pundits over why Israel is "making such a big deal over one captured soldier." Please read the entire essay here. It may help the reader to know that Avi, the 16-year old trying out for admission to an elite IDF unit when he turns 18, is Danny's son, while the young woman with the "Curious George" doll in her bedroom, away on her IDF service, is Danny's daughter.

If someone were to ask me to prove the difference between the Palestinians and the Israelis, I would say this: While Israelis agonize over the endangered life of one of their children, Gilad Shavit, publicly, in television and radio broadcasts and in their newspapers, and privately, at home with their families; Palestinian media continually broadcast calls for children to give up their lives in matyrdom by killing Jews. If you don't believe me, simply spend a little time at the website of Palestinian Media Watch. As Dennis Prager has said, all one has to do to truly understand which side wants war and which side wants peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to spend an hour watching the television broadcasts of both sides. Or, as the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said decades ago, "We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."


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