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02/22/2019

Israel - Voting Crisis

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Israel - Voting Crisis

Israel - Voting Crisis

The Torah (Old Testament) tells us that Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day when he noticed three strangers approaching. They were angels, but he did not know that at the time. Nevertheless, he got up to greet them and treated them with tremendous respect, even providing them with a wonderful meal.

The Rabbis of the Talmud and the Midrash saw this story as being a very important one when it comes to Jewish life and they speak of the value of ."Hachnasat Orchim" – the virtue of welcoming the stranger and the importance of hospitality." Somewhere along the way I remember learning that the idea of welcoming the stranger appears 32 times in the Torah (Old Testament). I may have that number wrong, but I know I'm close. I would think that's an indication of how important it should be.

This week, PM Netanyahu chose to merge the national-religious Jewish Home party with Otzma Yehudit, or “Jewish Power,” a small party led by disciples of Kahane. This will allow Kahane supporters to have a seat in the Knesset. Rabbi Kahane, for those not old enough to remember his antics here in America, advocated racist policies towards others, especially Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.

I can only hope that most Israelis are wise enough to know how to vote. You can't pretend to follow Torah in an Orthodox tradition and then choose to ignore such an important message that Torah teaches us. For Netanyahu this is a matter of holding on to power -- the end justifying the means. Israel is a democracy that we're proud of. There's much to be done to make it better -- surely, we don't want to destroy what we have.

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