Israel – On the Wrong Side of History

In the second Book of Samuel we read of how the prophet Nathan criticized King David for sending Uriah the Hittite to the frontline, where he would be killed by the Ammonites, so that he could marry his wife, Bathsheba, after whom he had lusted.

Nathan was an immensely brave person. David could easily have had him put to death for confronting him with the ugly truth of his actions. Speaking truth to power is one of the legacies of the prophets that should stand as a beacon to us all, and particularly to a Jewish State.

When we look at how Israel has behaved during the Russian/Ukrainian War, one cannot help but think that our country has failed the test. Yes, we did set up a field hospital to help the wretched victims of this tragic war. Yes, albeit belatedly, Israel did agree to open its gates to refugees from Ukraine – and not just to 5,000 of them as Ayelet Shaked had grudgingly proposed.

However, what Israel has failed to do is to speak truth to power and condemn President Putin and Russia for launching an unwarranted attack on a sovereign state, which has led to the death and injury of thousands of innocent civilians and turned millions into refugees.

One can understand the reasoning. Israel needs Putin’s acquiescence in order to enter Syrian airspace for the purpose of destroying Iranian arms shipments to the Hezbollah. Better to remain silent than to suffer the consequences of upsetting Putin. However, in doing so we have sacrificed our integrity. The prophet Nathan could have done the same thing, but believed that the truth had to be told even if it placed his own life in danger.

When the tragic tale of the Russian/Ukrainian War comes to be told it will be recalled that Israel remained silent and, in looking primarily after its own interests, chose to stand on the wrong side of history.

About the Author
Rabbi Boyden was educated and received his rabbinical ordination in London, England. Having served as the rabbi of Cheshire Reform Congregation for thirteen years, he made aliyah with his family in 1985. He has established Reform congregations in Ra'anana and Hod Hasharon and previously served as director of the Israel Reform Movement's Beit Din.
Related Topics
Related Posts