Many people made fun of Michelle Obama’s pouty twittering for the bring back our girls campaign. Could it be more than just posturing? I am not the only one who noticed her lack of emotion, as actionless as it is, this time for Israel.
Can we ever expect or just demand moral behavior? With all the frantic posting of the last week on all the social media, as it that would help find the boys, it’s become perfectly clear to me how we are perhaps limited to keep staying limited. How can we ever expect to change people’s minds? Those of us posting articles about how heartbreaking the kidnapping is are getting likes by our friends who are posting the same articles. We are sharing in our likes; we are sharing in our sorrow. Facebook likes don’t ever make anyone change, do they?
The hypocrisy in the real world actually astounds. Here’s the first bit from an op-ed from Prof. Gerald Steinberg:
In a moral and just world, where universal human rights was more than a slogan to be exploited when politically convenient, the kidnapping of three Israeli teens would have produced immediate and widespead outrage, demands for action, and even demonstrations at the United Nations demanding their release. But in the real world, three days after the kidnapping became public knowledge, those who claim to promote moral causes are largely silent.
Here’s another well-titled article that expresses the sense of futility of action, Predictable Reactions After the Abduction of Three Israeli Students:
Israel has done more over the last several years to improve the quality of Palestinians’ lives than lift travel restrictions. It has worked with the Palestinian Energy Authority to build electricity substations; advanced cash to the PA to help it meet its budgetary requirements; increased permits for Palestinians to work in Israel; adopted numerous measures in the West Bank to increase the export and import of goods; and approved special measures to facilitate West Bank tourism during holiday season.
Sources sowing enmity persist. PA schools teach hatred of Jews and Israel. Hamas still plots acts of violence, as does Islamic Jihad. A small number of Israeli West Bank residents are lawless. Occasionally IDF soldiers act stupidly or viciously. And even under the best of circumstances, points of friction between the IDF and Palestinian population are inevitable
Yet the larger tendency is striking. Over the last several years, Israel has not only given the Palestinians substantial room to build the infrastructure of a state but has directly assisted in its construction. The latest round of Palestinian terrorism should not reverse the tendency. The risks of enlarging Palestinian self-rule are outweighed by the costs of the alternative.
Also, one should not be distracted—as the Obama administration and European diplomats continually seem to be—by Israeli building beyond the Green Line. Most of that construction occurs within areas that under any conceivable final status agreement will remain in Israel’s hands.
I’ve been back in Israel for (what’s today?) two days. We arrived Tuesday evening, came to our daughter’s house, dropped off our things, and walked up to their synagogue to take part in a prayer service and Psalms reading, for the sake of the boys. Last evening, after a very full day in Jerusalem, in the Old City, in the new city, back for a baseball game in Efrat (they won!), we attended another prayer service for all of Efrat in the main park. The mayor spoke very movingly about how much this crisis has affected the country’s opinion of Gush Etzion. They have tried for the longest time to make people understand how the Gush is an important part of the country; now they are being marginalized in the press for being a territory.
They are people. Families. Really good people.
This evening, our daughter received a call from friends saying there would be a gathering of women at the bus stop where they were taken. A week ago as I type this.
Of course, we went.
There were probably about 150 women and (mostly) young children. It was the hour when you would imagine these women to be making dinner for their families. For the sake of the 3 women who are not able to make food for their sons tonight, we were there.
The sign next to the bus stop says:
For your safety and assurance, please stand on the sidewalk and not on the highway!
Be careful about your lives.
(A common interpretation of the verse from Devarim 4:15–Take careful heed–to be a source for the commandment to be healthy and avoid all bad habits.)
May G-d protect us all.