Friday, June 15, 2012

My Lecture at Young Israel of West Rogers Park

This past Sunday I spoke at the Young Israel of West Rogers Park in Chicago.  The topic was "Israel and Iran: Cause for Concern, Reasons to Hope". Here are some key points that were raised:

  • We must be sensitive enough to be careful to not say things like "it's 1939 all over again" and other talk of impending doom in the presence of Holocaust Survivors in order to fulfill the commandment of Love your neighbor/fellow. Unless they are actively seeking the news on Iran, we should consider whether they have been traumatized enough before exercising our freedom of speech.
  • I currently view Syria as a greater immediate military threat (to Israel) than Iran, not because it is stronger, but more desperate. This, even though Iran is clearly the greater threat to the West overall.  The previous leader of the relatively "peaceful" Jordan who eventually made peace with Israel, killed thousands of his own people in his time. When the previous King of Jordan (Hussein) was dying of cancer, he dreamt wistfully of dying a martyr's death for peace as Rabin did. How much more so is the butcher of Damascus willing to go down in a blaze of glory. (Further, as we saw with Iraq in 1991, when in trouble, Arabic tyrants like to attack Israel. This is exactly what some of the leadership in Iran have promised to do if they are attacked by countries other than Israel.) And if Israel defends itself, would Iran use that as an excuse to "defend" Syria?
  • Egypt is likely on the way to becoming a renewed threat to Israel. (Must be Egyptian gratitude at USA foreign aid, generated from taxpayer dollars, and in appreciation for the Israeli gift of oil fields in the Sinai, for peace. See? Land for Peace works... to support terror, that is.)
  • Some Rabbis including Shas party spiritual mentor Rav Ovadia Yosef believe that there is still hope for a resolution without full scale war.