Israel’s Chief Rabbis Should Condemn Anti-Christian Vandalism

Jan. 10 2023

On New Year’s Day, several tombstones were damaged in a Protestant Jerusalem cemetery, apparently by two kippah-clad Jewish youths. Sporadic acts of this kind are rare when compared to the sort of systematic persecution experienced by Christians living in Palestinian-controlled areas, and Israeli authorities responded in a timely way. Nevertheless, Faydra Shapiro notes something missing from the Israeli response:

We can be proud of the fact that Israel apprehended the pair and takes these crimes seriously.

We can also be proud of the fact that many prominent voices in Israel were raised in criticism of this despicable event, including President Herzog, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Jerusalem district police commander. Dozens of Jewish Israelis made a solidarity visit to Mount Zion. The crime was also condemned by important international figures, including the U.S. government’s anti-Semitism envoy and the chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Missing however, are the voices of the chief rabbis of Israel.

Until we begin to expect more from our Israeli rabbis in the service of Israeli democracy, the protection of minorities, and forging a moral path for the Jewish future, some will feel emboldened to translate that religious ambivalence into active hate crimes. This is not only immoral; it sends a dangerous message to our Jewish youth, to the Diaspora, and to Christians around the world.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli Chief Rabbinate, Jewish-Christian relations, Middle East Christianity

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship