Haifa Sea

Haifa Sea

Near Hadera

Near Hadera

Both beautiful images by PninaN. Check out her photostream.

Well, this has not been a good week for yours truly, so let’s hope that the Sabbath brings some reprieve and next week will be better.

I read Caroline Glick’s weekly editorial with interest. Agree or disagree, she is one sharp analyst. Her article mentioned the Berkeley Hillel:

Take UC Berkeley’s Hillel center, for example. Since Ken Kramarz, Hillel’s regional director for Northern California, started his job in June 2007, Berkeley’s Hillel has adopted a hostile view towards Judaism and Israel. As pro-Israel community activist Natan Nestel notes, in the past year alone, Hillel held a dance party on Yom Hashoah, and it held a Cinco de Mayo barbecue on Remembrance Day for Fallen IDF Soldiers. It has also failed to hold community Seders for the past two years. Instead, last year, its members hung signs in the Hillel building declaring, “Matza sucks.”

Beyond its derogatory treatment of Jewish and Israeli holidays, Berkeley’s Hillel has allowed an extremist group called Students for Justice for Palestine to participate in its organizational meetings.

SJP calls for Israel’s destruction through unlimited Arab immigration. It also advocates for UC Berkeley to divest from Israel. Edgar Bronfman, Hillel’s International Chairman, has characterized SJP umbrella organization as “anti-Israel… anti-Semitic [and] alarming…”

No doubt owing in part to Berkeley Hillel’s decision to permit SJP members to spread their propaganda at its organizational meetings, Hillel’s student leaders and members participated in SJP’s Israel Apartheid Week this past March.

The student meeting that SJP participated in at Berkeley’s Hillel was sponsored by a group called “Kesher Enoshi.”

This group describes itself as “a progressive Jewish community that engages directly with Israeli civil society. We do this by educating ourselves and others about the day-to-day struggles of people in Israel by making direct connections with human rights/social change organizations in Israel, linking their struggles with those on campus and in the wider community, and building a community of active participants in social change in Israel.”

This mission statement, which says nothing about Zionism, sounds an awful lot like the goal of the New Israel Fund. This month, three Arab “civil society” groups supported to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars by the NIF published a poster depicting an IDF soldier touching the breast of an Arab woman with the caption, “Her husband needs a permit to touch her, the occupation penetrates her life every day.”

The poster was issued to publicize a conference in Haifa called “My Land, Space, Body and Sexuality: Palestinians in the Shadow of the Wall,” whose purpose was to demonize Israel using post-modern jargon.

The unending attacks, now sometimes supported by American Jewry, on Israel and Israeli society are disturbing, to say the least. The dishonesty and reprehensibly unfair expectations the Jewish Left has from a society that has experienced so many wars, so much bloodshed, such ongoing strife and pressure are shameful. That in some corners these attacks have become fashionable is probably the saddest part about all of this.

Then again, Hillel is not a leftist organization. To see a Hillel join in the Apartheid Week activities indicates a severe failure on the part of the people educating these young men and women.

Perhaps there is one thing sadder than these misguided students from the Left: for the third time in the past couple of weeks, a small group of Israeli combat soldiers, who obviously lean to the political right, have hung signs declaring their opposition to removing settler outposts.

This is nothing less than insurrection by IDF soldiers. They are informing their superiors and the Israeli government that they will refuse orders. As I consider the implications, it occurs to me that even having Jewish campus groups support Arab-Israeli NGOs that attack Israel is far preferable to the politicization of the IDF.

The IDF has always been a people’s army. Israel’s sons and daughters come together in that melting pot and their service is important in shaping them and the country’s future no less than in protecting Israel. It’s not a great thing that Israeli society is influenced by this militarism, one can certainly find fault with it, but it has also been a positive aspect of building out this society. The IDF could be counted upon to be the center where both right and left could meet, which is why chiefs of staff who enter politics can be found in both left- and right-wing parties.

Having the IDF politicized will undermine its effectiveness and could potentially undermine Israeli democracy. Today, these soldiers are holding up banners proudly, tomorrow they could be holding guns up against Israeli leaders with whom they disagree. They are throwing a challenge to Israeli society that they will not obey orders, that they will refuse to abide by government – hence majority – rule, and they will do so loudly and openly.

This is the other side of the coin of the leftist youth that avoids the draft, sometimes publicly, and then uses the media to promote their views. The difference is that in this case, the people protesting are trained combat soldiers with guns and combat expertise.

I haven’t seen any evidence to support my supposition that they are Hesder soldiers (Hesder is a program for religious men who combine their services with breaks where they attend yeshiva for torah study), but there are strong indications these soldiers are from the settlements themselves and most likely are Hesder soldiers. There are many combat soldiers coming from settlements and Hesder yeshivas. If some of them begin to undermine the authority of the government and the army leadership, it is not going to be long before the real worry becomes whether they believe that they should use force to compel Israel to do what they want.

Any soldier holding up such a banner should be jailed for a couple of years and then compelled to serve out their entire 3 additional years of military service cleaning latrines without any cleaning supplies. The IDF needs to begin shifting some Hesder students (I assume that not all Hesder soldiers agree with what their peers are doing) into non-combat roles like intelligence so they don’t dominate combat units.

Radicalism on either side, the Left or the Right, helps nobody except for Israel’s enemies. All it does is kill the prospects for peace.

Shabbat shalom!!

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