How to talk about the Crisis in Israel

Rabbi Block’s Pointers
July 20, 2006


  • The current crisis has nothing to do with “the Occupation.” Israel is being attacked entirely within its borders, internationally recognized since 1948. 
  • Hezbollah and Hamas are conducting a terror campaign, intended to wipe Israel off the map. A terror campaign is different from a legitimate military operation, because the intended targets are random civilians. 
  • Israel’s response, particularly in Lebanon, is not “disproportionate,” as some have charged. Israel is attacking only targets directly related to the terror unleashed upon Israel. Because Hezbollah hides rockets in and around civilian homes, the loss of life in Lebanon is a tragic but unavoidable consequence, and is entirely Hezbollah’s doing. Israel, like all of us, is deeply saddened by the loss of civilian life in Lebanon. 
  • Because Hezbollah uses Lebanese roads and bridges to transport its weaponry and operatives, Israel’s destruction of infrastructure in Lebanon is a necessary evil. When the crisis ends, the international community will need to work together to rebuild Lebanon once again, this time without armed terrorists on Israel’s northern border. 
  • The weak Lebanese government failed in an obligation, imposed by the U.N. Security Council and accepted by Lebanon, to disarm Hezbollah. 
  • Hamas is an extremist Sunni Muslim organization, currently in control of the government of the Palestinian Authority and heavily supported by Syria. Hezbollah is an extremist Shiite Muslim organization, supported if not controlled by Iran. Although Sunnis and Shiites traditionally war with one another, as we see in Iraq, they are significantly coordinating this terror operation against Israel. 
  • Even Saudi Arabia, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel; and Egypt, with which Israel shares a “cold peace,” have condemned the Hezbollah and Hamas terror attacks against Israel, and have spoken out against the groups’ support from Syria and Iran. 
  • Israel’s military operation is an example of what Jewish tradition calls milhemet hovah, an obligatory war. Israel must protect its citizens. 
  • We are grateful that President Bush, Congress, and a bipartisan consensus of U.S. governmental leadership has acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself, and has not asked Israel to place unreasonable constraints on this necessary military defense. 
  • We are including prayers for Israel, for the kidnapped soldiers, and for peace, at each of our worship services at Temple Beth-El.