The Mark of a Truthful Person

There is a new documentary coming out called "A People Without A Land." It is about the failed peace process in the Middle East and the possibility of an alternative, one-state solution.

The filmmaker makes it look like Israeli Jews are anti-Arab. I'm not there, but it seems to me like there is a lot of hatred on both sides, that could be cleared up by some solid and articulate leadership.

I think a lot about the State of Israel. I have trouble with the concept that it's a democracy and a Jewish state. It should be either one or the other - a democracy implies equality for all people, and a Jewish state implies theocracy that favors those who are Jewish.

It is uncomfortable for me to say this out loud, although I suspect a lot of people think about it. But there it is. I'd rather live in truth and look in the mirror and be proud of myself, than live a politically correct lie and be approved of by others. This must be a sign that I'm getting old.

I am proud that Jewish tradition emphasizes telling the truth, even when it makes our people look divided. It would be nice if we were all on the same page, all the time - it would be politically easier, for sure. But we're not.

There is a rather lengthy discussion on "Torah on the Web" about whether Jews are commanded to settle in Israel. The rabbis go back and forth but the upshot of it is, we seem to have been required to do so, and to "dispossess" other nations, before we went into exile. The requirement returns with the advent of the messiah, (not Jesus), who will bring the Jews back to Israel and establish a religious government there.

An organization called Jews for Judaism has been established to educate people about what Judaism really says, versus what missionaries would lead folks to believe. I myself was approached by missionaries in DC the other week, and I know how difficult it can be to argue when you don't have all the facts about what your tradition really says.

I am a supporter of Israel as a Jewish state, but I also understand that we are not yet living in the time that Judaism would describe as messianic. It would be a good thing if the rabbis could clearly articulate to us ordinary (not fully Torah knowledgeable folks) what the religious position is on Israel at this time, so that we can avoid unfortunate, ignorant, racist statements by Jewish people about "chosenness" that make it seem like we believe ourselves to be superior to others.

From what I can see, we want to do the right thing, but need some religious leadership.

* All opinion my own.