I'm a mess of mixed emotions right now. I can barely bring myself to look at pictures of beautiful Palestinian children bandaged, bloody and bruised as a result of Israeli rocket attacks in Gaza - of corpses lined up next to one another surround by people wailing in grief. Try as we might, we cannot pretend that these are the faces of Hamas terrorists. Certainly Hamas terrorists and agents of their administrative apparatus have been killed - but these children? All of the bodies in the street? I believe in the moral value of proportionate response in war - that is, the notion that it is immoral to respond disproportionately to a threat. It is hard to see this as proportionate.
And yet...why has the world been silent as Hamas has violated the truce that was in place? As Hamas fired rockets into Israeli civilian areas? An organization with medieval social values and political objectives attacks the only democracy in the area and escapes without criticism. This is Israel's predicament, constantly: its sovereignty is violated innumerable times, it faces deadly attacks against its citizens, responding the way any other nation on earth would if it faced similar threats - yet the world is silent. Voices of outrage come only when Israel responds.
And yet, again...it is agony to see the Jewish state involved in this. This is not why Israel was created. Can Israel be more than a state? Must it be locked in realpolitique? Does it deserve the title Jewish state if it cannot transcend?
We must respond to this by turning to Jewish values and reflecting. Our responses cannot be conditioned by anxiety about whom we will disappoint or about whose side we fear to be on.
May it be Your will that the children of Abraham and the children of Ishmael one day live in peace.