If, say, 20 years ago, I told you that an Orthodox rabbi is making it his mission to call out Religious Zionist leaders for encouraging murder and terror, you would assume it would be someone from the very right-winged anti-Zionist frum community – most likely from Brisk (of the yeshivah world) or Satmar (from the chasidish world).
Surprisingly, today this is coming from the Religious Zionist community. There appears today a Hebrew book, written by Roi Sharon, former reporter for the Maariv newspaper, titled V’inakmah (I will avenge), the story of Jewish terrorism in Israel. As the name implies, the book documents terrorism against Arabs by Jewish Israelis over the past 30 years. Dr. Baruch Goldstein figures prominently, as you might expect. (The files on him were sealed, so we will never know the truth of what happened then). So do the Jewish killers of young Mohammed Abu Hadid of Shuafat, who was burned to death following an Arab atrocity in 2015. Quite a few others are featured, as well.
The book was reviewed by Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, rosh ha’yeshivah of the Religious Zionist movement’s Orayta, and Associate Editor of Tradition. Rabbi Blau gave the book a positive review and remarked how needed were leaders like Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein z”l or Rav Amital z”l, who would condemn these zealots.
In a rabbinic chat, one of the rabbis posted that, based on the book and its review:
“I am presently planning to deliver a high-profile sermon in shul and to publish opinion pieces in multiple venues, including Religious Zionist news outlets, echoing Rav Blau’s points. In them, I will forthrightly condemn the Torah/Jewish worldviews (and name the specific rabbis who teach those views) that have, in fact, justified and resulted in these specific Jewish terrorists murdering these particular Arabs. I will use my rhetorical powers, public stature, and organizational connections to offer plans for systematically uprooting these worldviews and rabbis from the Religious Zionist world, and for replacing them with their inverses, such as Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein and the others whom Rav Blau identifies.”
In the chat, some rabbis asked this rabbi to name two names of Religious Zionist rabbis who encourage terror. Not surprisingly there was no response.
The question I asked to the rabbi was why it is necessary to reach back 30 years and come up with a few names (a few too many, admittedly) who engaged in this vengeance. The world will not be impressed with these mea culpas and “Al Cheits.” It will only serve to create the impression that Jews, too, are terrorists. Our enemies in the media are doing a fine job of that. They do not need our help.
Years ago, I wrote an article in the Queens Jewish Link titled “How Crazy Are We?” for the frenzied liberal Jewish attack on Trump for closing the Southern border to illegals. Happy now?
This same rabbi wrote a full-throttled attack piece on me for that article. I now ask him and others like him: “How bad are we?” that we must constantly flagellate ourselves in public?
I offered him another topic to speak about openly: “How Great We Jews Are!”
That would be a break from the usual.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi Emeritus of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.