Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ayalon, Oy Gevalt!

We were all focused on the "wrong guy." I must admit that it hurts and offends many of us "former Americans" to see the OU (Orthodox Union) honor Olmert. They say they're being polite, since he's the Prime Minister. We see a corrupt dictator whose professional slick demeanor doesn't hide human rights abuses. Slick and professional, he gave the almost perfect speech, except for the "Freudian slip."

Olmert himself departed from his prepared speech to respond to the anecdote, saying: "The 15th of August was [the] Sbarro [bombing] " a day we will never forget." The Sbarro bombing actually took place on August 9th, but August 15th is indeed a significant date in subsequent Israeli history; it was the day the Gaza Disengagement officially started and Gaza was closed to Jews.
The big shocker was outgoing Ambassador Danny Ayalon, who discouraged those present from coming on Aliyah.

"I join Ze'ev's call for Aliyah (Jewish immigration) from the states, but I have to say, you can wait a while."
I can't believe that he really said it; it reminds of of that Goldricht guy, the "yored" (one who leaves Israel) rabbi, who teaches in Yeshiva University and spoke at the YU Alumni in Israel Shabbaton last spring. He made a speech saying it's easier to raise good frum kids in the states than in Israel. I was there. I heard that one with my own ears! We were incensed! It was obvious that he was rationalizing his own "yirida," leaving Israel.

It's all so sad, since I think that the OU crowd in some ways is the most "connected" to Israel. Most North American olim come from the "modern orthodox" OU and Young Israel communities. I accompanied two Nefesh B'Nefesh flights and the percentage is overwhelming. These things only cause a chasm between us. At one point the Israel Center, the OU's activity center in Jerusalem was offering a special deal to spend Shabbat at the OU convention, and I did think about it. It seemed like a good deal, and I thought that the program would be full and interesting. But then I thought again and realized that it was geared to North Americans and their priorities which aren't mine. I'd be "those people" who live in "settlements," rather different from Long Island.

I signed up for the NCSY Reunion, which will be after Shabbat. Lots of friends who live in Israel plan on attending, and G-d willing we'll see some old friends who haven't yet made aliyah. That's something else, I hope.


Robin Ticker said...

If the Prime Minister of Israel crosses the line as Olmert has done with abuses and betrayal, one must protest. The OU and Simon Wiesenthal Center both excused themselves for the same reason.

OU officials responded, saying that Olmert was not being honored, but was merely invited to address the group as the prime minister of the State of Israel.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center responded:
From: Aaron Breitbart
Subject: Re: Fwd: Why did the Simon Wiesenthal Center invite Olmert?
>> He was invited because he was the Prime Minister of Israel.The same
>> invitation has been given to every Israeli prime minister since the
>> Simon Wiesenthal Center was founded,regardless of which party was in
>> power or its policies.If the Israeli electorate is unhappy with Mr.
>> Olmert's policies,they will have the possibility of putting some else in
>> power.Whoever wins will be invited to visit us at some point.
PM Ehud Olmert received a standing ovation at the Orthodox Union’s annual convention in Jerusalem...,

Olmert needs to be haunted with tragedies of the Gush Katif expulsion as well as the atrocities at Amona at speaking engagements. He will then be less likely to repeat them. When one is invited to speak, it's an honor especially when one is Prime Minister. It's not polite to protest someone you invite to speak especially a Prime Minister. The OU honored the Prime Minister. In fact a standing Ovation is a stamp of approval. SHAME ON THEM!

Batya said...

I agree.