Once upon a time when I lived in Cleveland, I chaired a Jewish Agency Partnership project that connected me to many major players in Israel’s civil society. People with great affluence and influence who now hold positions of power, such as Nir Barkat. Several months ago I wrote him a letter, urging him to stop the societal train wreck that was unfolding before our eyes.
While I appreciate being able to join my Am on the streets of New York City this week, I wish I could be in the room where the real truth is being spoken. However, I know that My President, Joe Biden, deeply understands the essential nature of the those Core Values that We share – Justice/Tzedek and Equality/B’Tzelem Elohim. And I know that he is giving Bibi the chance to make the Moral Choice – Normalize with the Arab world, grant Palestinians another chance to govern themselves with guidance and leave the Racists behind OR walk away from being a Hero and go down in history as a Failure.
It is in this spirit that I republish the letter to Nir Barkat that first appeared on my blog on March 13, over 6 months ago. I am hoping that he can speak some sense to his friend Bibi Netanyahu. Once upon a time, I may have disagreed with an Israeli Prime Minister but never was I ashamed of the leader of the Jewish State. Today, I will say it loud and over and over that Bibi is a BUSHA. I hope that Nir can see what is best for both Medinat Yisrael and Am Yisrael…..
I write this letter to you in the spirit of the Partnership that brought us together over 20 years ago. To refresh your memory, I was part of the leadership from the Jewish Federation of Cleveland that was deeply involved in improving the quality of life for the residents of Beit Shean and the surrounding region, then known as Emek Beit Shean now known as Emek HaMayanot. You had started the Israel Venture Network and saw the same needs in Beit Shean as we did. Your commitment to bettering the education system in that particular development town mirrored our commitment to making Beit Shean a better place for those who lived there. Back then Nir, you and I acted on our SHARED VALUES, knowing that education was a key component of a healthy, vibrant Modern Jewish Democracy.
Today, you are sitting in a position of great power within the Likud Party. I am no longer a part of the leadership team in Cleveland, having moved to New York City where I have been able to act upon my Zionist values with the remarkable UJA-Federation of New York. I am sure you have seen the thoughtful letters our CEO Eric Goldstein has written to the community here in New York. While I respect my professional and lay leaders in my hometown of Cleveland, where I proudly chaired the Cleveland-Beit Shean Partnership 2000 committee, following in the footsteps of leaders like Bobby Goldberg and Art Naparstek, “zl, I feel fortunate to be a part of a Federation that is not afraid to be critical of Israel when She needs it.
I write this to you after listening to The Times of Israel’s Daily Briefing which is my source for fact and opinion. Please Nir, in the spirit of Partnership 2000 which is now called Partnership Together, tell Bibi to halt this legislative process before grave damage is done to our Modern Miracle in the Making. You have the power to do this Nir. I know you do. I encourage you to speak Truth to Power, i.e. your friend Bibi.
Your Partner in the Zionist Enterprise,
Francine M. Gordon
(You knew me as Fran Immerman)