Rabbis support equality in Israel
On Oct. 16, Rosh Hodesh Marcheshvan, Women of the Wall prayed collectively at the Western Wall (Kotel) for Rosh Hodesh as they have been doing for the last 20 years. Anat Hoffman, the leader of Women of the Wall, was arrested for “disturbing public order.” She was strip searched, handcuffed, shackled, dragged and held in jail overnight for the “crime” of singing out loud at the Kotel.
What exactly was her offense? She led the women in saying the Shema, the central expression of our faith as Jews.
We support equality for women and the restoration of access to the Wall as a holy site for all streams of Judaism. We condemn this campaign of intimidation and harassment against women at a site that belongs to all Jews — men and women alike. We stand with Anat, Women of the Wall and all those who treasure religious freedom and free expression. In order to ensure equal access, we believe that the Western Wall Heritage Council must include women and men, Orthodox and Liberal.
The Kotel should once again, be a place that unites us, where the right of all Jews to pray is respected.
(The letter was signed by Rabbis Donni Aaron, Aaron Bisno, Beth Jacowitz Chottiner, Art Donsky, James Gibson, Alex Greenbaum, Joseph Hample, Larry Heimer, Sharyn Henry, Amy Hertz, Jessica Locketz, Mark Mahler, Sara Perman, Howard Stein, Barbara Symons, Ron Symons, Paul Tuchman, Michael Werbow and Stephanie Wolfe.)
During the Obama presidency, the United States has engaged in unprecedented military cooperation with Israel and has ensured that Israel has the sophisticated Iron Dome anti-missile system.
Also, after years of delays by the Bush administration, it was the Obama administration that finally sold Israel the bunker-busting bombs it could need to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Yet, many people act as if the president is about as pro-Israel as Ismail Haniyeh. They haven’t figured out that this hatred of the president is a result of an obvious attempt by Republican operatives, such as Karl Rove, to convince American Jews to become Republicans. And these attacks against Mr. Obama started when he was a candidate for president, before there was much to go on except for pro-Israel votes and speeches.
They jumped all over Sen. Kerry and President Obama for saying things that were identical to things George W. Bush said. They are constantly predicting that the United States will not support Israel in the United Nations, but that hasn’t happened.
They seize on minor disagreements as if they were Earth shattering. And they support a presidential candidate who is advised by former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, one of the most anti-Israel politicians in the United States.
The truth is that despite the rhetoric, when they compare the president’s Middle East policies with Gov. Romney’s, they’re almost identical. But I’d rather not trust a politician who is advised by Sununu.