It is the Jewish New Year. We Jews commemorate the year 5777. On this day I went to the synagogue and I contemplated the past and dreamed about what the future may have in store. And I also read the Bible. In Leviticus 19:18 I read
‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
In Exodus 22:21 I read
“You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
I read these two passages and I remembered that two days ago I gave a ride to a young Palestinian women who is here in Portland MECA which is the art school in town. We began a discussion about Israel which she refers to as Palestine. I told her I was a Jew and she said something interesting:
“We have nothing about the Jews its the Israelis we hate.”
That brought up a whole different discussion. She told me about her Uncle who had returned to Jaffe to visit and saw where he used to live and the olive trees he owned and the sadness he felt when the Israelis made him move and yes it was not voluntarily.
I am writing this not to cover who is right and who is wrong. This is not about the atrocities that were committed on both sides and are still being committed on both sides. This is about what we as Jews, the people of the Bible should be doing now. The directions are clear and those who are observant read these commandments all the time. The argument I hear all the time is that the land of Israel was promised to the Jews by God and therefore they are entitled to take it over and treat the strangers who live there as if they are second class citizens or worse.
Unfortunately the area of Judea lies in the West bank and it is populated by Palestinians. The religious right with the support of Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed the Palestinians to the breaking point. They are not following the commandments. The day is fast approaching when Israel will no longer be a democracy. To remain secure within their own borders they will have to instill marshal law in order to keep order. It is time for the rest of Israel to push for the creation of the two separate states. I know Jerusalem is a sticking point for both sides but a solution can be worked out. If anyone responds to this and I welcome discussion remember the past is not the issue. The issue is how do two peoples who both care about their children reach an equitable agreement?