Stab me twice, shame on you
By Jonathan Feldstein
As the sanctity of the Sabbath, the day of rest, set over Israel, two stabbings hit close to home and were jarring personally and nationally. The first took place in our neighborhood Friday evening. Despite the lack of use of electronics as is customary on Shabbat in traditional Judaism, word spread throughout town like a game of “telephone.” No one person got all the details correct, but the gist was clear: early Friday evening, a couple was out for a walk on the brisk clear night. Our 11 year old sons are close friends. Out of the shadows, a Palestinian Arab terrorist pounced, stabbing and wounding my son’s friend’s father.
Emergency volunteers (many also neighbors) were called up, treating the victim and beginning the initial hunt for the terrorist. The army was called in and lit up the sky with flares to continue the search. Throughout Shabbat, and into the next evening as we began the celebration of Chanukah, the army maintained a visible presence.
God willing, our neighbor will be OK but the trauma will persist, certainly among his son. It’s intuitive because kids don’t feel safe when their closest loved ones are not safe. But this became clear to me, putting my son to bed. He asked why our town has become so unsafe (there was a similar incident up the block a few months ago). Without saying it directly I know he was thinking, “If this can happen to my friend’s father this can happen to my father, or to me.”
At about the same time this was taking place around the corner, another stabbing was taking place far from here, but with an impact no less close to home.
By a 14-0 vote, the UN Security Council declared all “settlements” over the Green Line (the 1949 armistice) illegal. This not only includes densely populated towns like mine (10,000+) as well as cities of 50,000 and more, but the eastern part of Jerusalem including the Old City with the Jewish Quarter, Western Wall and Temple Mount, all central to Judaism. That’s right, Jewish presence in our most sacred places with thousands of years of centrality to, and in, Judaism is, according to the UN, illegal.
While President Obama has repeatedly assured Israel that he has our back, what happened at the UN was no less than his stabbing us in the back. He had added insult to injury by going back on his commitment to block biased anti-Israel resolutions. One doesn’t get any more biased and anti-Israel than this, as it faults Israel exclusively and pre-judges the outcome of a conflict for which the only resolution is direct negotiations, not internationally imposed contortionist diplomacy and sanctions. It emboldens the terrorists and those who reject Israel, making peace less likely any time soon.
While tossing a bone to appear balanced, just one of the 13 sections addresses terror on both sides, burying the fact that it’s Arab violence that prevents peace, and equating Arab violence against Israelis (like happened in my neighborhood this week) with Israel’s defense against these, and other forms of violence. The resolution also strengthens the growing BDS scourge that seeks to delegitimize and boycott all of Israel.
The back stabbing of this latest anti-Israel UN resolution has more stabbing than a Friday the 13th movie. For instance, it states that Israel has no legal claim to our biblical homeland: “The establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
To put it nicely, they are wrong.
Supporters of this UN vote so poorly read the pulse of Israel that his action pulled together Israelis of all political orientations. Even Democrats decried the US administration’s last minute personal vendetta. American Jewish and Christian organizations rallied against it, and against the president not keeping its word. Expressions such as that of the AJC are noteworthy, being “deeply disappointed that the United States chose to abstain on a UN…resolution which singled out Israel for condemnation.”
“The Administration’s decision not to block an anti-Israel measure at the UN Security Council is profoundly disturbing, It only encourages diplomatic end-runs and diversionary tactics, which hinder rather than advance the prospects for peace.”
“Moreover, this measure repeats the Palestinian falsehood that Israeli settlements constitute the core of the conflict. Let’s be clear: The chief obstacle to achieving peace is, and long has been, the …refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel’s legitimacy and negotiate … a comprehensive agreement. Security Council members that supported the resolution are not helping the cause of peace by their failure to hold the Palestinians accountable for their chronic short-sightedness and inaction.”
All true, but far too diplomatic for my liking.
Another commentator made the more vivid and accurate statement that “The Middle East is on fire and the UN and Obama targeted the only democracy in the Middle East. Shame!” I’d add that in much of where the Middle East is burning the most; it’s in fact due to Obama’s failed foreign policies. So, rather than taking ownership or showing leadership, he shows his true colors by blaming Israel and creating a distraction from his impotence of global proportions.
Several friends, mostly Christian, emailed me personally to apologize for the US action. I replied to one that while Obama led this from behind, as much of his presidency, it’s yet another demonstration of how the rest of the world is always out to get us. This is just the latest incarnation. It’s glaring that “allies” such as Senegal and New Zealand not only voted for but sponsored the resolution. Sadly, we are used to it. But we have and will overcome.
Of course the impact of this resolution impacts Israel directly and specifically those who do business or live in areas in which the UN has just decided it is illegal for us to do so. However, it is an affront to Judaism and Christianity, and Jews and Christians who support Israel, and undermine our respective faiths because if Judaism and Israel have no connection to the heart of the Land of Israel, neither does Christianity. It’s ironic that the resolution passed two days before the world celebrated the birth of a Jewish boy in Bethlehem, who was crucified in Jerusalem. Today, Joseph and Mary would be barred from Bethlehem if not lynched trying to get there, and Jesus would have been crucified as an occupier, an obstacle to peace.
Last year I called on Jews and Christians offended by similar moves to contact me to establish hubs of their businesses in Judea and Samaria. I was heartened by responses received and welcome people to do so again today. Make the statement that the UN action is against your faith and therefore you’ll stand with Israel, regardless of where the UN says Israel’s borders lie. Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to make a positive statement and set up a Judean address for your work or ministry.
Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. He has a three decade career in nonprofit fundraising and marketing and throughout his life and career, he has become a respected bridge between Jews and Christians. He writes regularly on major Christian web sites about Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He can be reached at FirstPersonIsrael@gmail.com.