Elul and the Israeli Government

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House (www.heritagehouse.org.il) and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives (www.youngjewishconservatives.org). He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

We know that the Jewish month of Elul is a time of opportunity.  A time of preparation for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah and the new year.  Reflection and correction are the proper mode.

With this in mind, I'd like to address what I believe is a serious moral failing of current Israeli government policy  and (lack of) action: The consistent failure to protect those non-Jews who assist the Jewish State. We have a clear precedent in the Torah for this: in the Book of Joshua, we are told how Rahav assisted the Jewish People in conquering Jericho and as a result, her and her family were spared and saved. In addition to this example from sc‎ripture, there exists the basic element of gratitude (hakares hatov) that we must strive to always achieve.    

I would like to cite 3 recent (and ongoing) examples of this failing and hope and pray that we can rectify them before Rosh Hashanah.

Land Sellers:

The first example is the most clear-cut: There is a situation in Hevron that is intolerable and it isn't the treatment of a Jew (although tremendous improvements are needed in that regard as well).  It is that of an Arab. His name is Muhammad Abu Shahala . Shahala is accused of the terrible "crime" of selling land to Jews and his punishment is supposed to be death! (This "justice" first conceived of and implemented in the 1920's by the infamous "Mufti", yemach shemo v'zichro.) Does anyone really believe that if Israeli soldiers were sent to rescue Shahala that anyone would even fire one shot?!!! Of course not! THIS SHOULD BE DONE - IMMEDIATELY!  The Hevron Jewish Community has rightfully clamored for his rescue, but the Israeli Government seems unmoved. When the boys were kidnapped and the soldiers were searching everywhere, especially in Hevron, this was a perfect time to rescue Shahala and his family. This necessary action would send a clear message to the PA that this be‎havior is not acceptable and undoubtedly increase land sales to Jews. There are many other examples of this situation and the "perpetrator" should be rescued in every case!  


Whether or not there were actual collaborators killed recently in Gaza by Hamas is somewhat irrelevant. If they had actually aided Israel in our recent righteous attempt to stamp-out terror in Gaza, is there any reason to believe that the Israeli Government would have ordered air strikes or other measures to rescue them? We haven't in the past. WE SHOULD! Regardless of their personal motives, they helped us and we need to help them! Of course, Gaza is not Hevron and other parts of Judea and Samaria, its more complicated and its more dangerous, but a serious effort must be made! We cannot simply watch as people who helped us are tortured and massacred in the street.


I'm no fan of the UN and I don't think there is any justifiable reason for Israel to be a member of it. (We can help the world when catastrophe strikes without the UN, as we've proven time and again.) Regardless, the Israeli Government has signed agreements that call for "peacekeeping forces" on our borders. Recently some of these "peacekeepers" have been attacked by Al-Qaeda and others in the Golan Heights area. Some are being held hostage and threatened with "sharia trial". It should be enough that Al-Qaeda is on our border that we should attack them, but now they are threatening random foreigners sent here to somewhat try to "protect" us. I can think of no credible reason whatsoever for Israel not rescuing these people. They are not being held hostage by the boy scouts! Its Al-Qaeda!!!! 

If we want to wear big-boy pants we need to start acting like a big boy. Its time for Israel to take more responsibility for what is going on both inside our country and outside. Should Israel be actively involved in saving lives in Syria, Iraq, the Sinai and other places is a very good question, but certainly we should be saving the lives of those help save ours! Its time to put on some big-boy overalls and get to work!