Thursday, May 5, 2011

Celebrating Israeli Independence Day!

Nobody's perfect, and that includes the modern State of Israel. Anyone who's at all familiar with my writing will know that I'm not shy about my criticisms of the way Israel is governed. I disagree with many things, but this is the state we have, and destroying it is out of the question. We have to keep working on improving it. Change doesn't come quickly.

The State was mostly established by European educated, utopian dreamers, refugees from North Africa and an elite of native born Jews who learned from a young age that the secret of success was to get along with the rulers, Great Britain. There were a few Zionist factions, simplistically divided into three main groupings, the Labor/socialists, the Revisionists and the religious. Labor ruled in conjunction with the British Mandate, felt threatened by the potential popularity of the Revisionists, so they did everything to restrict them, from keeping them out of key positions to shooting at the Altalena during the War for Independence and continuing to sideline their followers once the state was established. The religious groups, hungry for funding for their religious and educational institutions and activities, learned how to be the constant sidekick, or ally to the socialists, later on anyone in power. (That's a very simplistic, though accurate summary.)

Many Israelis and Jews are angry with the State of Israel, more specifically its government and leaders, and they refuse the say the Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel. I think they are extremely mistaken. It's just perfect:

Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your lovingkindness, envelop it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness. Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: “Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers.” Draw our hearts together to revere and venerate Your name and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah, and send us quickly the Messiah son of David, agent of Your vindication, to redeem those who await Your deliverance.

Manifest yourself in the splendor of Your boldness before the eyes of all inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone endowed with a soul affirm that the Lord, God of Israel, is king and his dominion is absolute. Amen forevermore.

I'll repeat what I consider the most important part:
"...bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory."

There is a great potential, and it is our job not to give up but to work much, much harder. It will take both prayers to G-d and actual involvement in every aspect of life here in Israel.

We must never give up!

Hat tip for the aish video: Shy Guy


Anonymous said...

I don't stand for the prayer for the American government..

Anonymous said...

Anon, do you live in the US?

Is a prayer for the government said in your shul?

Is it just you that sits?

Do you sit out of protest or simply preference?

Batya said...

a, when I'm there, I stand, but I "voted with my feet" when I made aliyah in 1970.

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately we still live in US. Yes, the prayer for the government is said in shul(Modern Orthodox)on Shabbos. My husband will not stand and maybe one or two others stay seated too. Once when the person leading services stated all should rise for prayer for the government, the gabbai who is very conservative said, "yemach schmo!" loud enough to bring gasps to some of the worshipers. I sit out of protest. I do not stand for evil.

Batya said...

a, just a bit of perspective. The American govt is supposed to do what they think is best for the USA, and whether right or wrong that's what they do.
Unfortunately, the Israeli politicians do what they think will bring us praise, not what's best for our security and future.

That's why the prayer asking that G-d bless them with wisdom is so important.

Anonymous said...

Anon, I think everyone is doing the wrong thing in your shul.

First of all, halachically, there is much importance in honoring the diaspora country in which you live. And there's much good in America. Makes no difference whether the cup is half full or a quarter full, it is a blessed country and it gives you benefits and rights that Jews under the Czars and the Kaisers never had, and they said the blessings for their countries!

If the Gabbai himself is so blatantly negative, then the shul should take a vote and decide whether to say it with dignity or not to say it at all.

In the meantime, you and your husband are being Poresh Min Hatzibur. There is no justification in that.

And here's a big shocker:

G-d bless America.

America is the country I was brought up in. It gave me rights and freedoms that no other country in the world throughout history ever granted its citizens.

While I have a lot of loathing for American political policies against Israel for the last 50-60 years, a great proportion of people in America hold no harm against Israel - more so - a tremendous proportion actively support Israel.

I suggest deploying a little bit more of that obligatory Jewish trait: Hakarat Hatov. Hashem gave the Jews a wonderful land to escape to at the end of our exile. Stop knocking it.

Batya said...

Shy, living in Israel we don't have to prove anything about loyalties.

Anonymous said...

Batya, if I'm not mistaken, unlike you, I have retained my US citizenship. I respect it and I appreciate what it grants me and my life growing up in the US.

Forget about "loyalties". Elementary Hakarat Hatov.

And not just for yourself but for it being a country which is a very decent home and caretaker to the 2nd largest Jewish population on the planet.

There should be nothing to argue about here.

Batya said...

Shy, I still have U.S. citizenship; I just don't vote in the elections. Maybe if someone nominates me for a realistic seat in Knesset...