Religion Magazine

Rabbi Gold's Alternative Editorial in Hamodia

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Please enjoy the following correspondence between Rabbi Shalom Gold and the Hamodia newspaper.
Rabbi Gold wrote to the Hamodia newspaper after reading the following article.
Rabbi Gold's alternative editorial in Hamodia
before I post the letter from Rabbi Gold, I will just point out that on Shabbos when I read this editorial in Hamodia I was disgusted and felt it was very inappropriate.
Here is Rabbi Gold's letter to the editor:
To the Editors of Hamodia Your vicious and wholly unjustified editorial attack on Binyamin Netanyahu (2 Shevat 5775 – 22 January 2015) sounded like something that would be more appropriate for Haaretz or worse. I wonder if your rabbinic board approved that transparent premeditated assault on the Prime Minister. How can any religious Jew find fault with a call to French Jews to fulfill the mitzvah of Yishuv Haaretz? You profaned the memories of the Kedoshim of Har Nof by suggesting that Eretz Yisroel, France and any other place in the world are identical. In 1956 when I was learning in Ponovez, American citizens were notified by the embassy that the Sixth Fleet would be arriving in Haifa to evacuate anyone who wanted to leave. There were many terrorist attacks that year by Fedayeen that infiltrated from Egyptian-held Gaza. This would later culminate with the Sinai Campaign. We asked the Mashgiach, Rav Yechezkel Levenstein what we should do. He replied that he didn't know but stated unequivocally: "If the Chazon Ish would be alive (he had passed away in 1953) he would definitely tell you to stay in Eretz Yisroel." I'm quite certain he would not have said the same about France. The final paragraph of the editorial states: Whether or not to leave France at this time is a decision for each individual Jew in France to make. But for an Israeli Prime Minister to issue such a call is wrong and highly counterproductive. Netanyahu would do well by keeping his thoughts – and his hands – to himself. Fascinatingly enough, in the Jerusalem Post Magazine, page 37, there is an article entitled "Aliya: A matter of choice" by Reuven Hammer, who is not orthodox, that makes precisely the same points as your frum editorial writer. Here are some Reuven Hammer selections: It must also be admitted that there is something ingenuous about telling people to come to Israel because they will be safe here – when we have all seen that there is no less terror here than in France. How many Jews have been killed in France over the past year or two by Islamist terrorists, and how many were killed here? We cannot ignore the recent slaughter in a Jerusalem synagogue, the three yeshiva students who were murdered and the various incidents involving Palestinian vehicles that ran over residents in the capital this year. And it was not that long ago that so many were killed by suicide bombers in buses and elsewhere; I did not feel very secure then. Nor can we simply forget the rockets that rained down last summer. Unfortunately, safety cannot be guaranteed here, just as it cannot be guaranteed in Paris, London or New York. Should Jews from France come here on aliya? As a dedicated Zionist who left the comfort of the US to make aliya, obviously I cannot be opposed to that. But on the other hand, I believe that aliya should be a matter of personal choice – something done because one wishes to be part of a Jewish state, to live where Jews are a majority and participate in the renewal of Jewish sovereignty after 2,000 years. On the page before in the Jerusalem Post, there is an article by Rabbi Stewart Weiss, orthodox rabbi and good friend. Here are some selections. He writes like a frummer Yid: Perhaps most shocking of all – I almost lost my lunch when I saw this, on international TV, yet! – was the statement by certain European rabbinic "leaders" urging Jews not to make any "rash" decisions. When asked by a CNN interviewer, "Are you advising the Jewish population here to leave for Israel?" the rabbi replied, with a straight face, "I am asking the Jews of France to remain where they are and to build up our community. Stewart Weiss continues: I close my eyes, the I hear the same tragic statements being uttered in the Berlin of 1934, the Warsaw of 1941 and the Budapest of 1943. "Just calm down, stay here and don't worry; it will all be all right." Have we learned nothing?! Now no one suggests that life in Israel is risk-free. We have our own unique set of problems, and face our own dangers. But there is a major difference between Europe and Israel: We are going in opposite directions. Imagine two triangles: one standing on its base; the other above it, inverted. The bottom triangle is Europe; if it ever was a decent place for Jews to live, its hope and hospitality is rapidly shrinking, and no amount of wishful thinking or misdirected Jewish money will resurrect it. As Islam spreads its net over Europe, things will only get worse, and Jews will be the first victims. Israel, on the other hand, may have begun as a tiny, beleaguered outpost in the desert, but it has grown exponentially into a dynamic, thriving oasis of Jewish life and learning that embodies the collective answer to billions of prayers over thousands of Years. Our best years are still ahead of us. Dear brothers and sisters of Europe: Ignore the false prophets – Jewish a non – and gather up your courage, your belongings and your families, and come to Israel. Granted, it will not be easy leaving behind the grand sites of the continent. But your return to your one, true home, your native land, will be – for you and for us – the greatest Arc de Triomphe. Shame on you Hamodia. You sound precisely like Reuven Hammer but really good Jews should write like Stewart Weiss. One final point. The editorial left me with the distinct impression that if Netanyahu had not gone to Paris the editorial would have sounded just like this: "World leaders gathered in Paris to demonstrate against terrorism. The Prime Ministers of Mali, Bali, Ruanda and Lower Slobovia marched hand in hand but there was no sighting of Israel's Prime Minister. Doesn't he know that Paris' Jews were brutally killed while buying challahs on Erev Shabbos? He is an embarrassment to Jews worldwide. Abbas laid a wreath at the kosher grocery store, Holland spoke in the Great Synagogue – yet not a sign of Netanyahu. He should have been there in the front row. Well, he was most probably at home filming another infantile video for his reelection campaign and had no time for the Jewish people." End of imaginary editorial. I suggest that Hamodia should apologize for that ugly editorial, or was it maybe motivated by dirty politics? Painfully, Rabbi Sholom Gold,
Har Nof
To their credit, while Hamodia said they would not publish this letter, they did write back to Rabbi Gold with a response:
Dear Rabbi Gold, Thank you for sharing your opinion on our editorial. The intention and purpose of the editorial was obviously to correct the exploitation of events by comments that may further inflame anti- Semitic sentiments. Prime Minister Netanyahu should have taken this in consideration. In fact, the people in the Bais Haknesses immediately reacted to Mr. Netanyahu comments by singing the Marseillaise - precisely for this reason.  Thank you again for giving attention to this important matter.
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