November 1, 2007
O, Jerusalem! Oy, Jerusalem!
(Page 4 - Previous Page)Israeli settlements are a political, not a legal, issue. Majority legal opinion has held that the legitimate governing instrument of the territories in 1967 remained the Palestine Mandate, which included the right of Jewish settlement.
Therefore, both Israelis and Palestinians had legal, historic and security claims to the land, and new Israeli borders could include some captured territory. Unfortunately, most Middle Eastern leaders still refuse to accept the Jewish state's legitimacy within any borders whatsoever.
Many Israelis and Jerusalem Arabs oppose dividing Jerusalem for practical and security reasons. They fear a repeat of Gaza's post disengagement chaos and the record of P.A. intolerance for non-Muslims and their holy sites.
For more details about these and other important facts, visit http://www.standwithus.com.
Roberta P. Seid
I come to Rabbi Kanefsky's conclusions from a different point of view -- less concerned with holy sites than with holy people and our behavior. I admit to my own timidity from time to time, and his letter emboldens me.
Israel is at the heart of my own Reform engagement in Jewish life, and I have held to my passions for 45 years, in spite of the absolutist renderings of our Jewish rights and the narrow readings of the history of the last six or seven decades. The official American Jewish community remains too fearful of public discourse.
We American supporters of Israel have to get over the fear that peace explorations render us naive, quixotic suckers. Rabbi Kanefsky's argument for honesty applies to American Jewish and to Israelis equally. Bravo to him for speaking out.
Rabbi William Cutter
Hebrew Union College-
Jewish Institute of Religion
Dividing Jerusalem is furthermore opposed by a majority of Knesset members, who have signed a petition opposing the idea, and a major new Israeli poll (http://www.zoa.org/2007/10/poll_majority_o.htm) this month shows that a clear majority of Jewish Israelis -- 59 percent to 33 percent -- oppose, even in return for a peace agreement, Israel handing over to the Palestinian Authority various Arab neighborhoods in the eastern half of Jerusalem.
Morton A. Klein
Zionist Organization of America
Truth can be both painful and liberating. Rabbi Kanefsky's view is both courageous and truthful. It is righteous in all the right manner. Would that government leaders respond in the same manner.
If more people start speaking out loud, if the silent majority and leaders within our community will no longer keep silent, perhaps we have a chance to speak the language of "compromise and conciliation" as Rabbi Kanefsky puts it. Kanefsky's courage in speaking out brings much hope to my heart.
Danah Ezekiel Clark
I am a German Jewish refugee to the U.S. and have been saying what you are saying and more for decades.
Until Israel stops treating the Arabs under its control as untermenchen and stops stealing their lands, and as long as the Arabs under its control, including Gaza, do not have a life and a state and a way to make a living, the killing will go on. There will be no peace - ever.
The Arabs also have blood on their hands and have to accept the fact that Israel is here to stay, like it or not. Their terrorism must stop.
It is time to really negotiate with everyone concerned, including Hamas, the Arab states, Iran, Hezbollah and anyone else that has a stake. If not, the future conditions for Israel and the Palestinians will get even worse in the next 60 years than the past has been in the last 60 years.
I strongly support Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky's plea for truth and honesty, as well as his analysis of history and his recommendations for present-day action.
Port Hueneme City Council Member
Port Hueneme, Calif.
Hurrah for Rabbi Kanefsky. My family was among those who started Tel Aviv. I remember Jaffa well before the state. I also have seen truth subverted for what was believed the greater good. It has led only to more and more trouble.
Mary Ann Danin
Please convey our deepest appreciation to Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky for telling the truth in the place that was designed for truth: the synagogue and now, in the pages of The Jewish Journal. As the parties prepare for the Maryland conference, Rabbi Kanefsky's words might help prevent another peace orphan like Oslo.
If we want peace, we will have to search our deeds. Peace does not mean denying the other side's agency nor does it mean returning to Poland. But that searching will hopefully produce a Zion redeemed in justice (Isaiah).
Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak
Giving up a part of Jerusalem will not solve the problem and bring peace, nor will removing the settlements from the West Bank. That was vividly demonstrated when Israel removed the settlements from the Gaza Strip, and the Arabs responded by accelerating rocket attacks on Jewish communities.
Indeed, I believe there is only one solution: Arab and Muslim children must be taught the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would be treated by them.
Rabbi Kanefsky's forthright statement on the progress for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians is essential for the future of Israel.
Middie and Richard Giesberg
Yosef Kanefsky presumes to be interested in an Israeli political posture based on truth. He should consider re-examining some of his own highly questionable points. Notably, he gives credence to claims that the Jewish renaissance in Judea constitutes illegal occupation and settlement.
Yet under international law, Israel has the only legitimate claim to the land, since the illegal Arab occupation of 1949-1967 never had any legitimacy, and the territories remain under the sway of the 1922 League of Nations Mandate that called for "close settlement" of Jews there.
The crux of Kanefsky's claims, though, is the failed, worn-out, old silliness that Israel should offer the shirt off its back in order to appease the Arabs. Over the past 14 years, Israel has created the Palestinian Authority, provided it with untold quantities of weapons and cash and given away to it all of the Gaza district and nearly half of Samaria and Judea, the historic Jewish heartland.
The Arabs, for their part, have become much handier at murdering increasing numbers of Jewish women and children and educate their kids to grow up to blow up.
More spineless appeasement will not suddenly yield different results.
David B. Greenberg
Rabbi Kanefsky's recent column on a divided Jerusalem was forwarded to me recently, and I would like to thank the rabbi for his honesty and courage in telling the truth. As a mainline Christian pastor, I pray daily for peace, and until now, I could not see any hope of that happening. Now there is a glimmer of light.
The Rev. Carole Bergman
Willits United Methodist Church
My husband and I are in complete agreement with Rabbi Kanefsky. Those of us who are attached to Israel realize that Israel should not allow those on the fringe of the religious movement to keep the country from peace, and if it means giving up the settlements, so be it.
Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky's plea in Oct. 26's paper was an act of great courage and wisdom. The fact that he will be attacked should not deter us from affirming that he speaks sensibly and, in fact, represents the often-silent majority of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.
Indeed Rabbi Kanfesky fulfills the highest calling of the rabbinic vocation, mixing a clear and unwavering moral clarity with logic and historical perspective. He recognizes what is apparent to many Jews: 1967 was not the beginning of a sublime period of messianic redemption but rather the source of unceasing misery for Palestinians and of burdensome and growing woes for Israelis.
He also recognizes that truthful introspection regarding the settlement project and the fate of Jerusalem is an essential prerequisite to peace. He is to be applauded and embraced as a sage, brave and compassionate voice in our community!
The Book of Psalms teaches loving kindness and truth meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. I believe in Rabbi Kanefsky's plea for a difficult, but more honest, reading of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he embraces the essence of these ancient teachings.
Cantor Steven Puzarne
Pilgrimage of Peace
As an old Zionist and lover of Jerusalem, I share Rabbi Kanefsky's anguished suggestions for an eventual solution for this heartbreaking problem, and I admire his courage to face the truth and to speak the truth. Kol Hakavod.
Rabbi Kanefsky writes that "there will be peace the day after there will be truth." I never realized it could be so simple. If we would only truthfully admit our faults and they would do likewise, then there will be peace.
But our enemies have already been telling us their most important truth, what they truly believe according to Islam - that an Israel of any size, no matter how small, can never be tolerated. Why can't we accept that truth and act accordingly?
I would like to congratulate you for making a space for an important public debate, and I thank Rabbi Kanefsky for his courageous and honest plea. Only the one whose spirit is strong is able to do so with compassion to self, as well as other, thus allowing for the way forward to be found.
Rabbi Kanefsky's article accomplished two things: It fed his ego and gave ammunition to anti-Semites throughout the Southland. The L.A. Times immediate reporting of this is proof and will only encourage those with little or no interest in Jerusalem's fate - whether Jewish or not - to say to themselves, "Well I guess their own rabbis are saying how selfish and land-grabbing Jews are."
What a shanda.
In time, it is a near certainty that Israel will agree to share Jerusalem with a Palestinian Arab state living harmoniously and peacefully along side Israel.
Rabbi Kanefsky's article will help bring that day closer.
Bravo to Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky for taking a stand on the excruciating issue of the division of Jerusalem that he knows will draw criticism, if not censure, from other Orthodox clergy.
Especially in light of the terrible consequences brought about by our own government's distortion of facts and refusal to deal with anyone who does not agree with its positions, we, like Rabbi Kanefsky, need to seek out truth if we truly want to fix the world.
Alas, but there are no well-meaning opponents in the Arab world that are similarly emotionally tormented like the rabbi. The Arab world does not want half of Jerusalem or part of anything, they want all of Israel. To disavow the actual intentions of the Arab world and to deny their ultimate goal of throwing out the Jewish people is to seriously misunderstand history and reality.
It seems strange having to explain this to a rabbi, but I'll start from the beginning. In Sefer Bereishit, God creates the whole world, establishing for any doubters His right to dispose of His property any way He wishes.
In that same sefer, He gives the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. The rest of that sefer, including last week's parsha, is about our forebears' struggle to acquire that land. It's never been easy.
In more recent times, our people have suffered many painful losses in wars initiated by extremely hateful enemies to come into possession of land that Rabbi Kanefsky thinks we should be willing to give up. In advocating this, he tramples over many Jewish graves and pleads for many more.
If you don't believe in the Torah, can we at least agree that Jewish lives should not be placed in danger?
I would like to offer my kavod (honor) to Rabbi Kanefsky for his brave and much needed words.
Rabbi Kanefsky reminds us of our tradition's imperative toward honesty and the virtue of justice. Rabbi Kanefsky has reminded all of us of the human tendency of putting up blinders and has challenged us all to look deep into our souls and find out if peace lives within us.
Student, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
I am shocked by Rabbi Kanefsky's comments. He knows very well the laws of Shabbat (Chapter 319), that when borders of a city are not secure, a Jew must carry a weapon to protect him/herself. This law was written not for Israel, but any Jewish community, even when the gates are open for peaceful purposes. The issue in Jerusalem isn't a political issue, its a security issue.
You are willing to give proven murderers their own government to protect our borders? Look how missiles are being fired from Gaza today.
Would King David have said divide Jerusalem to make the Jebusites happy? My suggestion to the rabbi is follow the path of Abraham, Joshua and King David and secure the land, not show weakness and give away our security.
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