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Are We a Nation That Dwells Apart?
I second Bruce. Beautifully done! I will spread it around among Gentiles.
Luke Lea, USA, 25/07/2011 05:53:00
Living Alone
Israel is not living in isolation but is a major contributor of the best that life has to offer the world. Israel has responded to the world`s aggression by becoming the best. Israel lives in a world that has its neighbors chomping at the bit for it`s destruction. This began in `48 before you could use the excuse of the poor Palestinians being oppressed. The minorities in Israel live better there then anywhere else in the Middle East. That certainly sets an example. The Jews must take care of the Jews first for history has taught us that no one else will.
Marc R, United States, 24/07/2011 07:23:00
"PR and policies"
Mr. Hartman, you opined that "when PR is critical, there is no substitute for good policy." Over a year ago (on another site) I stated simply that the success of any hasbara effort was likely to hinge on the nature of what was being promoted. Period. No mention of any issue, none whatsoever. A person immediately called me "an anti-semitic thug and Hitler wannabe"--and offered to wait until I dug into my copy of "Mein Kamph" so as to respond. With folks like that in seeming ascendency in Israel, sir--your thoughtful and measured comments--are likely to fall on increasingly deaf ears. (In my humble opinion.)
Wilburforce, USA, 23/07/2011 15:29:00
A nation alone
The words deeply touch me, and are a cause of great sadness. I am an Israeli who has worked and given my whole life in Israel and the Diaspora on how to build bridges between the young Jews of the world, to identify the shared Jewish values that they together can celebrate and be proud of while at the same time, find common causes to `fix` both in our back yard and in the world,give of ourselves and feel that what these young people have to give is important, makes a difference and is valued. As an Israeli, and as a Jew, I WANT them to connect to Israel and be proud of this connection to Israel. I also want them to connect to the world and be world citizens. I was raised myself with the deeply imprinted perception of `Israel` serving as a `moral compass`. Sadly,this gets repeatedly `bashed and knocked`, not by others, but rather by what we are becoming. Our lack of leadership at the helm, secular and religious, whose moral compass is expedient, cynical, bigoted and as far away from the Jewish values I so cherish- democracy (yes), humanity, mutual responsibility, inclusiveness, Peace, Justice, activism and...humility. What positive role models within our political leadership are we creating in our lifetime for our young people? What impact do educators with values such as yours (and humbly, mine) have on the Israel education system at large? When I work on Peoplehood here in the USA-and my colleagues in Israel, we both find that it is usually the educators in the Diaspora who care. When Israeli schools engage, they want more and are deeply impacted- but they are the minority.Sadly, in Israel, within the State`s education system, there is a cynical and expedient approach related to this concept of belonging and mutual responsibility. I have heard the outgoing Director General of the Ministry of Education directly expressing contempt for such a notion-he was more interested in his fundraising efforts for technology....How sad.I would have been proud if he would have also been here to raise funds for programming promoting education for democracy (multi-faceted), Israel-Diaspora heritage and responsibility, and Tikkun Olam (fixing the world) within the Israeli school system. To open the newspaper with young people, to bring young people to Israel on the Israel experience so that they see: doctors begging for humane conditions and pay, young Israelis (and older) having nowhere that they can afford to live, depressing statistics on families and the poverty line, children of foreign workers who are born in Israel, raised as Israelis and strongly connected to Israel and then expelled, chauvinism against Israeli Arab citizens and leadership, intolerance and rejection of fellow Jews who are not Orthodox in shared municipal spaces of Jerusalem...where will this end? Within Israel, there are many wonderful and exemplary organizations and people demonstrating moral leadership, courage and activism based on the Jewish values I am so proud of- and this is what I am so proud of highlighting as an Israeli educator working to connect educators and youth to Israel. But how sad when it comes to our political leadership-the `ostrich` within me emerges....For Israel to lead, Israel needs leaders we can be proud of.....and a political system that allows you to choose the leadership you can be proud of.....Sadly, If this doesn`t change, then the Israel you (and I) envisage will remain a dream.....
Michal Morris Kamil, Israel/Britain/USA, 22/07/2011 11:51:00
visit an Israel in peace
Dear Mr Hartman. Full of good intentions, your article. But in front of the events- Baraks, Sharons and Netanyahus policies it is too soft. Moral appeal is important. But your words and your arguments are to weak to rouse anybody. could be the sunday prayer in a cristian community in europe, but the size of the problems compared to the israeli ones are quite different. I agree also to Ben Meir- that European Support in intercepting Gaza- activists is a bad example for friendly support. What harm could protesting activists without weapons do? The interception in fact supports the Netanyahu Gov in its isolationist, colonialist policies against the palestinians. And by the way it shows the discourage of the european leaders who fail in saying Netanyahu what they`re really thinking, that these policies will lead sooner or later directly to a catastrophe witch we`re still unable to imagine (sorry for the dark oracle) For a peaceful future invironment for the israeli people in the m-east you should spread the message in the religious comm that only a quick seperation in two states under just and fair conditions (E-Jerusalem as Pal.Capital[ without walls]; 1967 lines, with swaps)Further annexations without compensation with other territories will be a burden for future peace. otherwise the palestinians will pass on their wrath about that unjust peace from generation to generation, and the most convinient, optimist outlook for israel than would be to survive in its castle. No good conditons for its intellectual life by the way as is yet to see now. within short it will sink in intellectual provincialism. So, once you have recognized what is right and wrong,it`s time to put aside the eternal reasonings about "does the world hates us?", and go for deeds. It would make me happy (i`m no religous nor nationalist) to one day visit an Israel witch overcame the occupation and all its ideological witchhunts, and with it all its despair.
ingrid werner, germany, 20/07/2011 18:26:00
"A People that Lives Alone"
It is uplifting to read that there are leaders and thinkers in the Dati world who are grappling constructively with the blessing/curse bestowed upon Bnai Israel by Baalam. Kol Hakavod to Donniel Hartman. S. H.
solomon haskelson, USA, 20/07/2011 15:17:00
only a wish
Mr Hartman`s piece is true and it is appealing.Israel did not however actually choose to live apart or alone. The values and laws and cultures handed down by forefathers are entirely different from the laissez-fair values of other nations of the world. These values are what set Israel apart and what makes them the cynosure of all eyes. No nation can ignore the Israelis bcos they are exceptionally creative and successful. This brings both respect and envy/hatred. Human rights and democratics principles came from the Israeli ten commandments. Hence these great principles set them apart from the looseness of other nations. Israel is never an aggressor towards other nations.
charles emelogu, Nigeria, 20/07/2011 15:01:00
Hartman the idealist
I would love to see Israel BECOME the state Hartman envisions. Hartman is taking things out of context. European airlines did not want to be burdened with return trips. The Europeans have not really changed their tune. They are anti-Zionist. Go to even Switzerland and say you are an Israeli Zionist Jew and see how far that will get you. Wake up and smell terrible reality!
Isaac Prenter, Canada, 20/07/2011 09:11:00
European support
The two actions quoted by the author helped Israel to suppress legitimate and peaceful protest against its occupation policies rooted in unabashed ethnic nationalism. In this sense, Israel is admired by right-wing circles across Europe. These heirs of fascism do recognize Israel as an undisputed leader.
Ben Meir, Israel, 20/07/2011 04:13:00
inadeqaute tem
The term anti-Semitism is inadequate because Arabs are also Semites. The correct term in this case would be anti-Jewish. See my article on: http://www.ahewar.org/eng/show.art.asp?aid=1385 H. Sh.
Haseeb Shehadeh, Finland, 19/07/2011 14:21:00
Israel is successful when alone from the nations.
Just look at 1967, the world was telling Israel not to fight, Israel did what was necessary and G-D fought for Israel with miraculous victory. When Israel "got friends", in the E.U. in the White house, U.N. etc. that is when the intifada`s were happeneing. The more "friends" Israel got the more problems. Anyway Israel is not alone, G-D is with us. All we need to do is to "hearken to His voice"
TzVi, U.S.A., 19/07/2011 01:19:00
Nice thoughts, but they don`t address the most important question: the hijacking of the Zionist and democratic ideal by racists and fascists and theocrats whose aim is to further isolate Israel, while potentially destroying this amazing and fragile creation.
Tom Freudenheim, USA, 18/07/2011 19:01:00
"We need not always be a nation that lives apart." and so you will
james, usa, 18/07/2011 04:44:00
Israeli leadership? Now there`s an oxymoron
The UN literally gave Israel a nation. This nations has been on life support from the moment of birth until this very day. Israel has taken this gifted nation and this massive support and crafted a nation which is viewed by the world as racist, apartheid, oppressive, greedy, criminal, and worse. There is no possiblity of Israel ever becoming a leader, even of all of these negative perceptions were to be reversed immediately. Leaders inspire. Israel disgusts.
Natallie Durson, USA, 17/07/2011 20:13:00
being alone
If you would know the world`s history and yours ,to find the answer of your` nation wide loneliness`,the answer is that.The Jews were hatred every where since the time of the Pharaoh, they were just slaves.Now, you have to think about, why are you the only lonely nation?Think hard ,or just ask the people around of you.!
erika kalapacs, austria, 16/07/2011 06:09:00
what a hopeful and inspiring piece-- we really need this kind of thinking these days!! Justice for all- including Arabs/Pals/all minorities in Israel...a broader base of friends in the USA beyond fundamentalist Christians-as welcome as they may be as long as they don`t support aggressive policies towards the Pals-- is possible and necessary!!! This will only happen by taking words like Rabbi Hartman`s to heart!!
steve, usa, 15/07/2011 16:36:00
As a non-jewish foreigner living in Israel, I sympathize with your well balanced words.
Javier, Israel, 15/07/2011 08:59:00
openness to criticism
Maybe Donneil`s words will get through to a people indoctrinated in denial- but its a biggie; the essence of the Zionist project has been the dispossession of the Palestinian people. The Prophetic tradition is the alternative to denial, which is nothing less than speaking truth to power. In this case the power of Occupation and inequality will continue to isolate Israel. Only a country that equally honors All its citizens can honor its own traditions. From high thoughts to strong and just deeds. Simple.
rick, US, 15/07/2011 07:44:00
Dwelling Outside vs In
Israel has been a great nation since its foundation.It was founded from those Jewish tribes rrom the outside who had to see introspectively how to live from the inside, Unfortunately once again Israel has had to look inwardly since 1948. Yet Israelis look to the outside yo establish what it was promised to Abraham and can seem to find your inner protection for the Nephesh Chaya/Living Soul that has been firmly planted within yhat promise. Why??????
Gerard, USA, 14/07/2011 22:46:00
As a conservative Christian who wants to support and bless Israel, I find your words full of encouragement. America stands behind Israel, but we know that we can never be your Shield. Israel already has the Shield and the Exceeding Great Reward. We just want to stand behind you (and the same Shield!) And there are other nations that will do the same. Thank you, Rabbi Donniel!
James, USA, 12/07/2011 17:45:00
Are we a nation that dwells apart?
Beautifully said and inspiring. Thank you. Bruce
Bruce Rosen, Israel, 10/07/2011 20:21:00
Moral Realpolitik
An essay that deserves wide circulation.
esthermiriam, USA, 10/07/2011 18:22:00

Donniel Hartman is President of Shalom Hartman Institute and Director of the Engaging Israel Project.

His latest book is Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself.

Donniel contributes a regular column to Times of Israel and writes for many other publications on a regular basis.

  • Read all of Donniel Hartman's columns and essays.

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