We are in the heart f holiday season now. Sunday night we begin the festival of Sukkot: I wish all who are celebrating a chag sameach. It is a joyous holiday, referred to as Z’man Simchateinu – the Season of our Rejoicing.
In between Yom Kippur and the beginning of Sukkot, I had thought to write a posting weighty with deep concerns about the state of affairs we are dealing with. I even had a name for it: “Furious, Very Furious,” that had been motivated by the total destruction of a Jewish farm by terrorists.
But I came through Yom Kippur with a sense of renewal: with endless gratitude for beautiful prayers, for being in Jerusalem, and for so much more. I came through with a sense of hope.
There are a host of situations that must be faced and addressed. My sense of hope has not erased them nor will it lead me to ignore them. Quite the contrary.
After Shabbat, the news was of a shooting terror attack at a checkpoint right outside of the Shufat refugee camp in eastern Jerusalem. (The camp remains from when this part of Jerusalem was in Jordanian hands). A 22 year-old Border Police officer was critically injured and subsequently died of her wounds. A 25 year-old security guard is in serious condition with wounds to the head. A third person, an Israeli civilian, I believe, was lightly injured.
It is bitter to report this as we enter Sukkot. Holidays are always high risk times for attacks.
Initial reports were a bit unclear: some said the terrorist walked to the checkpoint, fired, and then was picked up by a car. Others indicated that there was a drive-by shooting. Or, there may have been two terrorists. This is just the latest in an enormous string of attacks, and attempted attacks. Most are foiled. According to WorldIsraelNews, “before Yom Kippur, authorities received more than 80 warnings or intelligence tip offs of possible Palestinian [Arab] terror attacks.”
I note here that social media indicate that in Shuafat candies are being distributed and fireworks are being shot off in celebration of this attack. Hardly a unique situation, and this, my friends, is part of the problem.
But my message is “We Can Because We Must,” which means we must make it better. MUST. Therein lies the hope.
After Sukkot – which lasts for a week — I will be writing about the most serious of our problems, terror being only one of them. The terror situation is exceedingly complex, because there are various Palestinian Arab factions involved. We are close to a major action, but it remains to be seen how it plays out.
The bottom line here is that there will only be an improvement in many aspects of our situation if we at long last have a right-wing government. Yair Lapid has been exhibiting his left-wing inclinations in ways that do not work to Israel’s benefit – most notably, but not exclusively, with regard to a deal with Lebanon that, thankfully, will probably not go through. Put those actions in the “Very Furious” category.
Elections are on November 1.
As unreliable as the pre-election polls sometimes are, most of us do look at them. Right now, the polls are giving the right-wing bloc at least 61 mandates, which would allow the formation of a government. It is with delight that I note that the Religious Zionist Party – headed by Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir – is expected to achieve 13 or 14 mandates. (When I write about the elections, I will be sharing my vast irritation for the hatchet job being attempted on Ben-Gvir, whose popularity is growing.)
This past Thursday night, right-wing American political commentator Ben Shapiro was in town and spoke at Jerusalem’s Convention Center along with Jordan Peterson, a well-known Canadian psychologist, professor, author and media personality (pictured).
Shapiro said that Jerusalem is “a global moral compass” in a world gone crazy.
And Peterson, with tears in his eyes, told his audience that:
“…what you do will affect the world – for one reason or another, it’s not so easy to understand, everyone looks here to see, well, how are you actually doing, under this tremendous assault of adversarial criticism, as this little, tiny people in the middle of no man’s land in some real sense, as a -what would you say – cardinal model of the nation-state and the city on the hill. You have a tremendous moral responsibility, like you have, perhaps, for your entire history, for reasons that are very difficult to understand, and I think it is true, in some real sense, that the fate of the world depends on the decisions of the people of Israel. Just as the fate of the world depends on the decision of every individual, so you make yourself a shining light on the hill, right? You attract people here because of what you’re capable of doing. You show the world what the holy city could look like. Because we need it. We need it, and it’s up to you to do it.” (Emphasis added)
See a video clip of Peterson speaking here:
And understand that we can because we must. Our task is before us and it is huge.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.