American “Chutzpa”

The Hebrew word “chutzpa” is translated as “some nerve” or “sheer insolence”. What better word is there to describe recent American administration comments regarding President Trump’s visit to our country in a few more days?

First there was the intolerable remark attributed to U.S. Consular official in Jerusalem, David Berns, that the Western Wall, Judaism’s most sacred place, is in the West bank and therefore not in Israeli territory.

The White House was quick to respond that the statement was not American policy nor the policy of President Trump. We await to see what action will be taken by the Americans to punish their diplomat in Jerusalem.

Next, the official in charge of President Trump’s visit to Israel, refused a request from our Prime Minister’s Office to allow Prime Minister Netanyahu to accompany the American president when he stands before the holy Wall.

When asked if Israeli TV cameramen could film the visit of Trump to the Wall, the American reply was “what business is it of yours? We have our own personnel and our own security. We don’t require any help from the Israeli government. And the Western Wall is not in Israeli territory”. What damned “chutzpa” !!!

The president will spend only fifteen minutes at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. What can he possibly see or learn in such a fleeting period of time? A usual visit to Yad Vashem requires more than one and one-half hours. But President Trump has only fifteen minutes! How sad !!

The president is expected to deliver an address from the heights of Masada, his final “tour” of Israel. When the Israeli government asked his tour officials for permission for Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak before or after the American president at that historic site, the request was turned down by the Americans.

Whose country is it? Ours or theirs? If it is our country (and thank Almighty God it is), our Prime Minister should be accorded all honors of a host government to accompany the president at the Western Wall and to deliver his remarks at Masada.

This American “chutzpa” dishonors the relationship between our two countries. That President Trump will meet unofficially at a dinner with President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu and obviously will discuss issues of concern, is not to equate it with a formal act of sharing his visit with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

There are, in America, thousands of comments and many newspaper accounts (which the president would like to stifle or have the journalists imprisoned) of Donald Trump’s mental stability. Thousands of voices have been heard in all corners of the United States and its media that he is an unfit president.

That is an issue for the Americans to decide. It is not our business. But his official visit to our country is absolutely and definitely our business. We want to welcome him with the honor due to a foreign head of state. But we do not need nor accept the “chutzpa” of those preparing his planned itinerary.

“Derech Eretz” requires equal honor to the host. And we should demand it.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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