Israel on the Edge

Israel on the Edge

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

Complicated or not (and it is), Israel is the only democratic, western and middle eastern, ancient and modern Jewish homeland. Israel is not just a country born out of the Holocaust and the destruction of 6,000,000 lives. Israel is born out of the 2000-year-old exile that began at the hands of the Roman legions. But behind them were the radical disputes between Jewish leaders that contributed to the destruction of the Temple.

Israel is not just an ideological experiment. It was a reality in the ancient past and never forgotten through the centuries as long as Jews longed and prayed for a return to the Land. When the land was partitioned at the end of the British Mandate in 1947, for Jews and Arabs to live side-by-side, war broke out because the Jews had to hold the land they were given or be destroyed in it forever. They held the land and will always hold the land.

Israel is not a monarchy and there is no king of Israel. Israel is a democracy, not like ours in America, but a democracy that’s built on foundations of cultural, political, and religious Zionism. There are views of Israel held by Israelis who wrestle about it often and emerge remarkably well enough to govern, serve, and provide for the citizens of Israel. That’s what the vast majority of Israelis wish to continue doing.

Judicial reform, as it’s been widely reported in the news, has a purpose and a place, but not the purpose that Netanyahu and his coalition want to foist upon the people. Its objective is not simply to curtail the courts or to create better barriers between branches of government; rather, it is to insulate Netanyahu from the legal verdicts waiting for him when he leaves office. While some advocate for radical changes in the court in the interest of Israel’s development and security, there’s no evidence to prove that Israel has failed, thus far, to be innovative, world-leaders, or secure and ready to defend itself against enemies on its borders. The Start Up Nation, as Israel is known to be, thrived under current conditions, and it aims to thrive under reasonable reforms in the future.

Reform is a word we know. Judicial reform is about effective change and renewal; it is not about expedient shifts in power to serve one and not all. To support effective change and renewal and to preserve what the Reform/Progressive movement has accomplished in Israel, act with me and allies of Israel’s future. Don’t stop giving to Israel, but be wiser about your gifts. I’d like to suggest that you donate to these Reform/Progressive Israeli organizations that I support, too.

The Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) is the communal, spiritual and social Jewish movement that acts to promote the values of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. IMPJ’s work in Israel includes progressive Jewish education; establishing pluralistic Jewish communities; youth and young adult leadership; social action and advocacy for religious pluralism in Israel; deepening ties between Israeli and Diaspora Jews.

The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) works to secure civil rights for a just and egalitarian Israel based on Israeli law and Jewish tradition. It is dedicated to the ongoing pursuit of a just Israeli society.

After 2000 years, Jews returned to their ancestral homeland promised to them by God. If Israel fails now, who can bear the burden of telling their children and grandchildren that we let it slip away? Israel 75th birthday arrives in May 2023. Israel’s life is brilliant, and it deserves our support and hope. Israel’s national anthem is, “HaTikvah,” The Hope. Passover is coming soon. Let this season be filled with redemption from bondage and crisis so that we can all walk on a path of renewal and freedom.  


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