Dear Rabbi Shafran,
With much respect to your opinion in this past week’s issue (January 4) regarding the U.N. resolution voted in this past week, I would like to bring forth a couple of points that were bothering me.
Firstly, you wrote: “The recent resolution has no practical effect and takes no position that has not already been taken by the Security Council.” Actually, after this resolution passed, it is now (according to the U.N.), illegal to live there and there can be sanctions put upon Israel, which & turns out to be a major change regarding the status of eastern Jerusalem and those living there.
Secondly, you wrote: “Both (Obama and Kerry) actually care deeply about Israel.” If this is the reason why they didn’t veto it — because it is the best way for Israel’s peace — why did it take so long to think of it? And to do such a “favor” for Israel? Just think, for a moment: Had “our friend” Obama done this eight or even four years ago, and, for argument’s sake, had peace come out of this move, he would have won the Nobel Peace Prize. He would’ve been a hero for making peace in the Middle East and would have cemented his legacy as a peacemaker.
Now it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee because he didn’t do just this, he did it when he can no longer do anything in office. Why? Why? Isn’t this enough proof to show that it was intended as a parting shot to Israel?&
I sign in a state of disbelief,
Levi Michaelson, Monsey, Disbelief
Rabbi Shafran responds:
Dear Mr. Michaelson,
Thank you for your questions.& The Israeli annexation of eastern Jerusalem has never been recognized by our country (for better or worse).& That is why, despite promises made by a succession of American administrations to move the U.S. embassy to Yerushalayim, that has not yet happened.& The implication of that refusal (whether we like it or not) is that even united Yerushalayim — not to mention Yehudah and Shomron, which have not been annexed — has never been recognized by our country& nor by other governments, which is what the recent resolution reiterates.
I don’t deny that Messrs. Obama and Kerry acted (or inacted, if there’s such a word) out of frustration with the current Israeli government.& They had maintained hope for eight years that Mr. Netanyahu might yet come around to their point of view about what is in Israel’s best interest.& When they saw no hope for that to happen, they felt they wanted to send a final message.
One can like or dislike that message, and agree or disagree with their perspective about what is best for Israel.& My point was simply that their intentions were not, as so many in our community seem to assume, “anti-Israel” but quite the opposite, whether their perspective is right or wrong.