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May 13, 1988 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-13

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PURELY COMMENTARY

The Faith That Needs Cooperation

121

PHILIP SLOMOVITZ

PSALM CXXI

Editor Emeritus

I

n times of stress, we turn to Scrip-
tures. When tormented, we seek
comfort in faith.
The current agonies are not new.
They are repetitive. We have been tried
by them through the ages. As always,
we keep repeating what has been
perpetuated in Psalm 121 — our cons-
tant plea, whence comes help. Always
there is the reminder about the Guar-
dian of Israel who does not slumber.
This guideline in faith is the chief
admonition to people confronting
danger, not to despair.
Is this a time for despair? In Psalm
22:2 there is an outcry: "My God. Any
God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" Ben-
jamin Disraeli asserted in his novel
Alroy: "Despair is the conclusion of
fools." Heinrich Heine, in Book of Songs
(1827) admonished: "The worst poison:
lb despair one's own power."
The Israelis will say, thereupon,
"That's why we need power." But power
also needs strong partners, and that's
our current hope of attaining the power
not to despair.
In the quest for confidence that
defies despair, that clings to faith, we
need friends, we plead for cooperation
from justice-loving humanists. Is it
possible that we may be bereft of com-
fort in time of crisis? This is crisis, and
media keep reminding us, as one ele-
ment of it did in televising the admoni-
tions from Jerusalem. Perhaps we
should be grateful for the warnings. It
is better that facts are stated bluntly.
Then they can be tackled properly —
and promptly. That's how we are kept
aware that the very life of Israel is en-
dangered. Therefore the anxiety of ask-
ing whether we can hope for coopera-
tion in the present period in our life.
The query is addressed especially to
our Christian fellow citizens — and to
Islam.
When the struggle for recognition
of the Jewish right to life, with end to
homelessness, was conducted in the
libertarian appeals of the Zionist cause,
we had many Christian friends. They
were in the American Christian
Palestine Committee and related
causes. The memberships were from
Christians of all denominations, from
media, from both houses of Congress.
Now we have the tragedy of the

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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Vol. XCIII No. 11

2

FRIDAY, MAY 13, 1988

May 13, 1988

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1 A Song of Ascents.

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Who made heaven and earth.

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4 Behold, He that keepeth Israel

Doth neither slumber nor sleep.

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5 The LORD is thy keeper;
The LORD is thy shade upon thy
right hand.

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It is a sad time in our life, yet we
must not abandon the lighter vein.

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3 He will not suffer thy foot to be
moved;
He that keepeth thee will not
slumber.

`Stone Off The Heart:'
Shtain Fun Hartzen'

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2 My help cometh from the LORD,

United Nations, in whose Security
Council there is the usual 14 to one vote
castigating Israel and adding to her
dangers. Only the United States is the
friend.
Now that the very life of the state
which Christians encouraged and
helped into being is at stake, will these
creative forces be silent?
And Islam — there were and are
very few who have spoken in defense of
life for Israel. Is the silence being
perpetuated as an endorsement of the
aim to destroy Israel? When will
Moslem diplomats begin to act justly for
Israel?
That is why, in an affirmation of the
faith expressed in the quoted Psalm
121, is our plea for cooperation, for
friendship, for comforting acts, from
fellow citizens of the world. It is the
human plea in defense of life, and it is
also addressed to fellow Jews that they
do not argue in time of crisis and that
they join firmly in action for life. The
struggle for life must not be marred by
disunity, in the striving for justice.
The optimists in Israel, the least
fearful, are proving correct in a large
measure. The Arabs residing in Israel
have begun to affirm a measure of loyal-
ty to their Jewish neighbors. Arabs
from Gaza and Judea-Samaria who
work in Israeli factories and in con-
struction projects have begun to return
to their jobs. Therefore the firmness
with which the aim for peace must be
pursued.
At the same time, there is evidence
of adherence to decency and just ap-
proaches to treatment of the Arab
rioters. Those guilty of abuses of
privileges in army ranks are being
punished. That's the Israel way of
fairness.
As long as there is a positive note
there is much to hope for. What is
especially needed is an end to internal
rancor. In a unity for just purposes, a
new way can be found for a common
ground between Arab and Jewish
neighbors.



'rD N. IVX

I will lift up mine eyes unto the
mountains :
From whence shall my help come?

: •

IT

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IT

There are many stones in the Holy
Land. How did they accumulate?
Their "origin" is in Jewish folklore.
Most Jews craved for the privilege
of settling in Eretz Yisrael. Remaining
in the Diaspora meant, in the decades
preceding Israel statehood, that they
lived with an agony, "with a stone on
the heart."
The constant explanation of relief
attained by settling in what had been
Palestine was an answer to the ques-
tion, "Where did all the stones they
found upon arrival in Palestine come
from?" The explanation:
When a Jew whose dream of settl-
ing in the ancient homeland was ful-
filled reached his destination, he said:
"Es is arop a shtain fun hartzen — a
stone has just rolled off my heart."
Such is the background of rocks —
now hurled as weapons against Israelis
— that have become an accumulation in
the Jewish state of Israel.

Menace Of Disunity
BC and Ted Koppel emerged as
magicians of TV, as providers of
an additional platform for
Israel's enemies. It took a New York
long-distance observer and television
critic (John Corry, New York Times TV
critic) to find the clue to unity. He pass-
ed this judgment on the ABC-sponsored
and Ted Koppel-moderated program
from Jerusalem, April 26:
We learned. Sometimes we
were touched. Often we
wondered. The three Palesti-
nians appeared to be as one.
The four Israelis, reflecting the
division in their government,
argued among themselves.
Besides Mr. Olmert, they
were Haim Ramon, a Labor
member of the Knesset; Eliahu
Ben-Elissar, a former am-
bassador to Egypt, and Dedi
Zucker, a Knesset member who
also founded the Israeli
organization Peace Now.
Roughly speaking, Mr. Olmert
and Mr. Ben-Elissar were con-
servative; Mr. Ramon and Mr.
Zucker were liberal.
What was inescapable,
though, was that on some mat-

A

ters they seemed as united as
the Palestinians. After Mr.
Erakat's impassioned speech,
Mr. Zucker attacked him. He
said, equally impassioned, that
Syrians and Jordanians had
killed more Palestinians than
had Israelis.
The audience of Arabs and
Jews in the theater — getting the
audience together may have
been the act of a sovereign
power, too — responded with
murmurs and applause. Some of
the Jews, obviously, wanted to
back up Mr. Zucker.
"I don't need your applause,"
he said curtly to the audience.
He also said the Palestinians
"won't recognize my right to
live." The Palestinians didn't
look at him, although all four
Israelis stared intently at them.
We had a feeling again of the
awful division. We knew it was
sad and tragic. When "Night-
line" ended, Mr. Koppel said
solemnly that the program was
"a more unprecedented evening
that you in the United States
may appreciate." He may have
been right; certainly we were
gripped.
Such observations strike at some of
the roots of the current drama. They
call attention to the question involved
in "unity," its application and frequent
misinterpretation. There is an all-too-
frequent claim, sometimes misused in
gentile application as "accusation," that
Jews are "united," "stick together," and
similar misjudgments. Here is an in-
stance in one of the most challenging
occurrences demanding unity that oc-
casionally finds Jews tragically divided.
This is one of the lessons to be learn-
ed from the sensationalizing of a
human issue in the interest of the
media that backwaters into confusion
leading to despair.

"Whence Cometh Help?"
Applied To Long Record
Of Diplomatic Prejudice
erhaps this generation should
have been aware that earlier ex-
periences were preparations for
what keeps repeating. The lessons will
be found in "The Year After the Riots:
American Responses to the Palestine
Crisis of 1929-30." (WSU Press). In this
volume, Professor of History Naomi W.
Cohen traces a sad record of the
massacre of Jewish theological
(yeshivah) students in Hebron and the
riots and massacres that followed at the
Western Wall in Jerusalem. It was a
tragic period with shattering disregard
of Jewish appeal for fairness. Where
was relief to come from? In the
postscript to this revealing book Prof.
Cohen alludes to the search for help and
she quotes the optimistic opinion of
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise:
In the long run, the riots of
1929 were perhaps most signifi-
cant insofar as they encouraged

p

Continued on Page 40

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