Not The Rabbis’ Opinion

Contrary to the position of the Zionist Organization of America  (“Bravo,” July 12) as formulated by its German-born national president Morton Klein, Judaism is not a civilization, let alone a religion of blood  and soil.  The West Bank settlers are anything but, as Marc Caroff claims, “the living embodiment of our shared Jewish heritage.”

The bona-fide living embodiment of Jewish character and identity is the Torah, which, according  to Jewish tradition, was given at  Sinai, which is located far from the boundaries of the land of Israel. In Judaism, people come before territory. Halacha speaks of pikuach nefesh and knows nothing of pikuach cheftza.

In privileging people over property and shalom (peace) over lebensraum, I am fiercely proud to be in accord with the view on this subject exp-ressed by none other than Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who indicated that when it comes to returning land, it is not the rabbis’ opinion, but it is the IDF generals’ opinion that counts; and it is the people of Israel who are holy, not the land. … All the more so today. …

Issachar Friedmann
Baltimore

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