Esor Ben-Sorek

Kaddish for the Kurds?

Yom Kippur is over until next year. What have we learned from all our prayers and 25 hours of fasting from food and drink?

Have we so early forgotten our prayers for compassion and peace, not only for ourselves but for all the oppressed peoples and nations?

The recent moronic and cruel decision of the American president, Donald Trump, to cease providing aid to the besieged Kurds in Syria leaving them exposed to the massacres of the master of massacres, Turkey, has had to teach us Israelis of one major important concern.

We cannot count on American assistance in case of an attack upon us. Trump’s friendship with Netanyahu has faded quickly since the recent pre-indictment hearings of Bibi and the impeachment cries against Donald.

The situation of the Kurdish people should be of concern for us. Jews and Kurds have always enjoyed friendly relations. The Kurds have never turned against us and have never been involved with Arab terrorist activities against us.

They are a warrior people, stalwart and brave, fighting only for their independence and creation of a Kurdish nation recognized by the members of the United Nations.

They have been oppressed for decades by Turkey under Ottoman rule and under Erdogan’s brutality.

I do not think that we should recite kaddish for the Kurds. On the contrary, I believe that we should exert every effort to aid them in the present moment of their need.

To do so, obviously, would place us in a confrontation with Turkey. But our relations with the Turks have been on the decline for many years. As Jews, we are supposed to be a compassionate people. Where is our compassion for the oppressed Kurds?

Of all the people in the world, Jews are obligated to remember the thousands of years of persecution, oppression and massacres against us for no other reason than that we were Jews.

To our shame, our government has not formally recognized the Armenian genocide of 1914-1918 of millions of innocent Christian Armenians at the bloody hands of Muslim Turks in the Ottoman empire.

The Armenian people and nation were the very first to become a Christian people and nation. We Jews have much in common with them. They are a wonderful people, peace-loving, creative and devoted to their country and their faith.

It is a great disgrace that we, who lost six million of our people, including one million Jewish children under the age of thirteen, have not extended our hands in friendship and in sympathy to the Armenian people by recognizing the genocide of their beloved millions who were massacred by Muslim Turks.

A few weeks ago I visited the Armenian patriarchate in Jerusalem to convey my best wishes to the Armenian community and to give a donation to the Armenian monastery.

My heart directed me to do so because it was important to me to make known to the Armenian hierarchy in Jerusalem that they are not alone, that there are thousands of Jews like me who share the shame of our Israeli government for failing to recognize the tragedy of our fellow Armenian citizens.

Likewise, we must not forget the present tragedy of Turkish annihilation of the Syrian Kurds. We must do all in our power to aid them by raising our voices in support of them in the chambers of the United Nations and the European Council of which Turkey is a member.

Additionally, we should provide shelter and asylum to Kurds who are fleeing from the battle against them.

From 1939-1945, Jews had no place to flee for protection against Nazi German savagery. We must find the way to shelter Kurds, in particular young Kurdish children, from the Turkish missiles and bullets and other weapons of destruction.

We need the Kurds more than we need the Turks. Yom Kippur has reminded us of our need to be compassionate and to save lives wherever possible.

It is not time for us to recite the kaddish prayer for the Kurdish people. Rather, we should pray for the establishment of a Kurdish homeland called Kurdistan.

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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