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A Difficult Week in Israel

Rabbi Denise Eger, founder of the Los Angeles LGBT congregation Kol Ami, reflects on what’s it like visiting Israel during this time, and how important it is to strengthened in our commitment to Israel in these extraordinarily difficult times.

It has been a difficult time in Israel. I have been here in Eretz Yisrael for more than a week now, arriving just before they found the bodies of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali. I was with several colleagues when the news of the discovery of their bodies came over the news, and it was a palpable moment that took our breath away.

Israel went into mourning. Jews from the right or left cried with their families. I was surprised how few cars were out in the streets. I was glued to watching the funeral and crying, too – and then, in the midst of mourning, a young Arab teen was burned alive. Retribution by a gang of Jewish thugs, it was cold-blooded murder.

A country and a Jewish people that prides itself on the value “choose life” has within it such depravity; it shocks the nation. The burnt body of Mohammed Abu Khadeir gave Israel another blow and made many realize that the rhetoric they have espoused has consequences. Words matter and the words of revenge, the cycle of violence represented by this, has given Israel pause. This was a reason for more tears for Mohammed, his family, and for my Israel, who is so conflicted and so battered from every side – even as the Army went door to door on the West Bank searching for the two murderers of Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad.

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