Have religious Jews forgotten the concept of tikkun olam?

Some two weeks ago The Times of Israel reported that around 300,000 acres of Argentinian forest have been destroyed in order to raise cattle for beef. The company, Cresud, is owned by two Orthodox Jewish brothers.

Boycott beef

Greenpeace Israel is calling on Shufersal, which buys the company’s beef, to cut ties with the firm. Israel is Argentina’s 5th largest importer of beef and is in 6th place per capita in worlwide beef consumption. When I suggested on the site of ‘Keep Olim in Israel’ that as Jews we set an example when it comes to meat consumption I received the usual insults as well as comments suggesting that saving the environment is not an appropriate topic, and that I should post such ‘crap’ on ‘environmentalist’ ‘leftwing’ sites. The idealistic olim of the past seem to have been replaced by a puny number of olim from the US, many of whom are philosophical rednecks who insult anyone with a viewpoint other than their own.

Apathy must not replace idealism

Although Israel may have the highest number of vegans per capita, it is also one of the leaders in the consumption of suffering animals, which are now a majour source of pollution. We keep hearing reports of Israeli innovation; unfortunately neither idealism nor the destruction of the environment seem to concern apathetic Israeli consumers.

Have the Orthodox forgotten tikkun olam?

Meanwhile the supposedly-Jewish Orthodox religious community goes ballistic when to comes to transport on Shabbat and keeping kosher, but their leaders could care less about the destruction of nature and animal cruelty. When will they themselves set an example?

Why have the Orthodox and other traditional Jews forgotten about the concept of tikkun olam? Or were the sages of more than 2,000 years ago inspired by some kind of leftist conspiracy?

About the Author
Asaf Shimoni is an author, journalist and translator who returned to Israel in 2016 after spending 40 years abroad, most of them in the Netherlands. He grew up near Boston, made aliyah while living on a kibbutz (from 1973 to 1976), and graduated from Syracuse University in 1978. He also lived some 5 years in Sicily. He is currently in Amsterdam to sort our affairs. He believes that the media should be as critical and truthful as possible.
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