Israel’s Chief Rabbis Should Condemn Anti-Christian Vandalism

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

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy