This is my first venture into blogging on this site but I hope not my last. I am worried, as are many of my colleagues and friends here in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel about the direction of the country since 7th October. We were anxious before and out protesting what we saw as a political development that was in our eyes an attempt to push us into an authoritarian regime without the checks and balances so necessary for a functioning democracy.
But now we are at war.
The same people who were undermining our governmental norms remain in place at the helm. We are caught in a terrible dilemma, faced as we are with the traumatic consequences of that massacre, the taking of hostages, and the subsequent war on the one hand, but with the continuing anxiety about the lack of trustworthiness of our national leaders on the other. On the one hand we want a secure Israel in which it is possible to live in peace with our citizenry and our immediate neighbours but on the other the abuses and political machinations of the government continue unabated. Is it possible to fight the war, pressure for the release of the hostages and at the same time protect our democracy?
I will relate to this question in subsequent postings.
And meanwhile, as I have been doing over the last many, many weeks, I will continue to pray for our soldiers, for the return of the hostages, for the lives of the innocents on both sides, for our ability to maintain human decency and not lose our sense of sanity in the midst of the bombardment from all sides with propaganda, self-righteousness and hate.
I continue to hold by the basic values with which I was educated in my very Jewish home in Melbourne Australia: love of my people, a belief in the eventual victory of humanity over inhumanity despite the Holocaust, and the simple expectation that each of us should strive to be a “mensch”.
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann