November 1, 2007
O, Jerusalem! Oy, Jerusalem!
(Page 3 - Previous Page)Since time immemorial, territories conquered in war belong to the conquering army. Half of Jerusalem belonged to Jordan after the War of Independence, and the Israeli army re-conquered it in 1967.
How many times does Israel have to conquer its own land? History teaches that to the victors belong the spoils.
I know that Rabbi Kanefsky will be attacked and demonized by those who are afraid of hearing the truth. Yet his views represent the majority of American Jews, Israelis and Palestinians, as shown in poll after poll.
Peace will never be possible until all sides in this conflict are able to sit down at a table, listen to one another and acknowledge the pain each has caused. We cannot let the vocal minority, the extremists on both sides, destroy our chances for peace.
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater
One could not help but be moved by Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky's courage and his reasoning. I have not read a more reasoned and timely argument, and most significantly from a leader from a community reluctant to accept compromise when it comes to Jerusalem.
Temple B'nai David Judea should be very proud of its rabbi. Frankly, most Conservative and Reform rabbis who would share Rabbi Kanefsky's reasoning in private, to date, have been reluctant to speak out for fear of powerful board members -- preferring shalom beit to speaking truth to power.
To say that Rabbi Kanefsky did a brave thing in writing his article is an understatement. The position will be controversial for some, but the truth of his argument will stand the test of time for the majority of us.
Most who read The Jewish Journal are supporters of a strong and secure Israel. Values and concerns for others must never leave us as lodestars, given our history as a people.
I am proud to have studied and davened with the rabbi. I'm also proud as a member and past national co-chair of Peace Now that his and our position is gaining support in the Congress and the White House, to say nothing of the majority of Jews in Israel.
Kol hakovod to Rabbi Kanefsky.
As a past president of B'nai David-Judea, I want to signal my support for Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky. Twenty-five years ago, supporters of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, of blessed memory, rightfully criticized those American Jews who publicly excoriated Begin's government and policies. Yet those who complained about public criticism then seem to have developed amnesia and today have no problem themselves criticizing and publicly pressuring Israel's democratically elected government.
A careful reading of Rabbi Kanefsky's article makes clear that he is not advocating giving any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians today. What he is saying is that we must give Israel's government the freedom, when it thinks the time is right and when the Palestinians have forsaken violence and accepted Israel's right to exist, to make its own decisions about how to craft an agreement that will bring peace to Eretz Yisrael.
Robert M. Smith
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky ought to be commended for his candid speech about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Not enough rabbis or organizational leaders of any Jewish denomination have broached the Israel-Palestine discussion with a rational, honest voice. It's refreshing that Rabbi Kanefsky has taken a bold, though realistic, approach to bringing what we all want: lasting peace for Israel.
Jews Against the War
In Ramallah or Gaza there is an Arab terrorist turning to his friend and saying, "The violence is working; lets fight on for Jerusalem. Even the Orthodox rabbis are willing to give it up." Yosef Kanefsky's public mea culpa has played into the hands of those with nefarious intentions. It will spark more violence.
On a deeper level, he has fallen into the pit of many in the liberal Jewish world. They have this strange insecurity. On one hand, they say, "We need to respect the rights of the Arabs." At the same time, they lack the inner conviction to state, "Jerusalem was given to us by Divine gift."
In fact, when a Jew asserts this historic belief of God's gift of the land, the same liberals label him extreme or fundamentalist. Jerusalem is essential to our bond between God and man; it is intrinsic to the mission given to us by God to teach monotheism to the world.
Kanefsky is willing to sever that bond cheaply. To give up Jerusalem to a Palestinian entity that has abrogated every treaty, squandered hundreds of millions and educates its kids to hope for a state from the Jordan to the sea is dangerous and unconscionable.
Rabbi David Eliezrie
Rabbinical Council of Orange County
As a member of B'nai David Judea, I can attest to the depth of Rav Yosef's love of Israel and commitment to the welfare of the Jewish state. I can also attest to his commitment to honesty and truth in dealing with difficult issues.
His opinion piece in The Jewish Journal was in many ways simply an extension of those attributes. Over the years, Rav Yosef has addressed issues of social and economic justice --in both Israel and the U.S. -- as well as environmental issues, with a similar level of courage and a similar commitment to the truth.
I am personally deeply appreciative of being able to call him my rabbi and to be a member of his synagogue.
Before readers of "An Orthodox Rabbi's Plea" form an opinion about Israeli policies, they should consider some key facts: