May Israel Defend Itself?

As I walked around today in my yarmulke and tzitzit out, I knew that I’d get challenges about Israel killing ten people on that aid flotilla to Gaza.

Non-Jews in my life were gentle but this was on their minds and I represent Israel to them.

So many Jews tell me that wearing a beard is not important. Not required by Jewish law (that’s true, but it is certainly the preferred state for Jewish men). Go clean-shaven and fit in, modern Jews tell me. Well, the goyim certainly understand what is an intensely Jewish appearance and they respond accordingly. In America, non-Jews have more respect for Jewish Jews than goyish Jews and they feel more comfortable with us when we are authentic to our traditions, including wearing a beard, than when we try to blend in.

When I had a beard and belonged to a Modern Orthodox shul, the non-Jewish Mexican cleaning lady asked a friend of mine at shul why the rabbi (me!) didn’t go up front to preach. Our rabbis (and 99% of the male congregation) were clean-shaven.

The goyim can’t wait to tell me that Israel screwed up big time. Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister, should resign over this botched operation. It was a stupid decision to drop lightly armed soldiers on a ship filled with 800 Muslim lynchers.

From Prager H1: Israel stopped a flotilla of ships headed for Gaza. Commandos repelled onto the ships and were attacked by “peace activists” with knives, steel bars and, then, guns. The commandos open fired to defend themselves. Now “world opinion” is outraged against Israel. But what is Israel supposed to do, especially when the obvious motive of breaking the blockade is to rearm Hamas? Dennis talks to Michael Friedson, founder of The MediaLine, a Mideast News Agency based in Israel, about the flotilla crisis.

Prager H2: Dennis talks to Yossi Klein Halevi, contributing editor to the New Republic and Senior Fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, about the Gaza Flotilla crisis… The UN Security Council rushes to condemn Israel… Nothing demonstrates how morally upside down the world is than in the way the UN member states castigates Israel for defending itself…

Prager H3: The government of Turkey, a member of NATO and once a good friend of Israel, sponsored this Gaza flotilla. The movement of Turkey toward Iran and away from the West over the last five years is very disturbing… Dennis talks to Dore Gold, former Israel Ambassador to the UN and now President of the Jerusalem for Public Affairs about Turkey’s involvement in this latest crisis…

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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