I have tried to be honest with you, my readers. If I have an opinion on something, I make it known. I do my best not to hold back and keep myself from self editing. I know that some people will agree and I am fully aware that some people will disagree but I still put my name on the post.
Lately, I have received a few anonymous comments opposing my point of view. That’s fine. I welcome opinions from all sides. However, if you are going to disagree, sign your name!
I stand by my convictions so please stand by yours.
If you made an anonymous comment on this blog, I ask you to resubmit your comment and standing behind your words by submitting your name. Until then those comments will remain unpublished (but they may become fodder for future posts). Speaking of blog fodder…
I am now going to take this opportunity to reply an anonymous comment I received yesterday in response to my last post about President Obama’s Middle East speech titled “Can I Fill Out My 2012 Absentee Ballot Now?” Here is the exact comment that was submitted: “Really....chill out 3 major religions view "Israel" as religiously important to them. Lets all get along.”
I will begin by addressing the last part of the comment as I try to get Rodney King’s voice out of my head. Israel would like to have the option of “getting along” but no one else has been willing to do so. Israel has tried, most recently in 1979, 1993, and 1994, but without long term success. The insults and accusations continued and the rockets and mortals resumed not long after peace had been declared. It would be nice if we could all get along but both sides have to uphold that principle in order for that to be possible.
Israel has maintained a position of peace and has only taking action when necessary. Yes, I am referring to recent events such as The Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, and the taking of the Mavi Marmara. In all these instances, Israel was provoked and forced to take action.
Now it is time for the second and most obvious portion of the comment. I can’t refute that Israel is religiously important to three major religions. Israel acknowledges the importance of the land to many people, not just Jews, which is why Israel guarantees freedom of religion. The Israel Ministry of Foriegn Affairs provides a succinct summary which outlines this essential freedom:
"The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel (1948) guarantees freedom of religion for all. Each religious community is free, by law and in practice, to exercise its faith, to observe its holidays and weekly day of rest, and to administer its internal affairs. Each has its own religious council and courts, recognized by law and with jurisdiction over all religious affairs and matters of personal status such as marriage and divorce. Each has its own unique places of worship, with traditional rituals and special architectural features developed over the centuries."
The current problems of religious coexistance are not ones that can be blamed on Israel. Intolerance lies in those who refuse to accept the importance of sites to other religions and fail to respect the integrity of people of other faiths. Think about these two questions for a moment. What would happen if I walked on to the Temple Mount wearing my kippah? Who is throwing stones at people praying at the Kotel?
Of course, there are many instances of individuals of one faith attacking those of another faith. This happens all over the world not just in Israel. But when large groups, movements, organizations rally against “non believers” it is something that must be stopped. Unfortunately, this is a difficult task as Israel grants its citizens freedom of religion.
Finally, “chilling out” is not an option. Egypt is a mess and has now opened up the Suez Canal so that arms shipments can more easily make their way to a nuclear Iran. They have also eased their blockade of Gaza allowing weapons and militants to filter in. This is why Israel should have never given up the Sinai in 1979.
Of course, there are also leaders in the region (Erdogan of Turkey, Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Assad of Syria) who, just like the terrorist groups (Hamas and Hezbollah in particular), believe that Israel is evil and should be wiped off the map. Oh, and please take note that Fatah and Hamas announced a new partnership earlier this month. But I’m sure all these leaders are peace loving people who want to co-exist with everyone, at least all those that they don’t want driven into the sea.
When an entire region is against you, you don’t have the option of chilling out.