All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Thursday, 25 January 2007

This Embarrassment Must Go

In Judaism, there is the concept of being "Or Lagoyim". It means that our task, as Jews, is to be a "light unto the nations". We have a duty to set the benchmark by which all the other nations on earth should conduct themselves.

I wish I could say that we always succeed. Yes, we have our fair share of Nobel Prize Winners and personages who do us proud. Then again, we have the other lot.

We Jews are brought up to ensure that at all times, we do our best to promote the notion of "Kiddush Hashem" - sanctifying G-d's name through our behaviour, so that people who are not of the faith look at us and say, "I wish I behaved in the same way as so and so, of the Jewish nation". Of course, the obverse is then the notion of "Chillul Hashem", where we act in such a way, that it causes a desecration of G-d's name.

A prime example of being Or Lagoyim is the way in which Israel's behaviour is perceived by the rest of the world. I'm not talking about the rights or wrongs of the military situation or our dealings with the Palestinians/Lebanese etc. I am referring to the manner in which the prominent figures in that country behave or are seen to behave by the rest of the world.

I bring this up because of the shameful and repulsive performance of the current President, Moshe Katsav. You may or may not know that this man has been charged with rape and is currently doing his best to destroy any remnants of his shattered reputation. The problem is that he is doing so in the glaring light of the world's media.

Now, I don't know whether he did or didn't commit the said acts, what I do see - and it makes me cringe - is the ultimate example of a Chillul Hashem being perpetrated. This man, who is supposedly meant to hold the highest ceremonial office in the land went on TV last night and spent an hour protesting his innocence.

Fair enough you might say. Then again, with a hundred witnesses saying that he did what it says on the legal tin, he doesn't really come over as being all that innocent.

The Presidency, as I have mentioned is a ceremonial role. He's the guy we lift our toasts to after G-d Save The Queen and before the Hatikvah (Israel's national anthem) whenever we have a bar mitzvah or wedding celebration. He's the toast.

So you can understand that my feelings about the desecration of both G-d's name and the Office of Presidency are pretty forthright.

Israel, whether we like it or not, is that "Or Lagoyim" - light unto the nations and the quicker this embarrassment of a man leaves the Office of President, the happier I will be.

Right now, we need another Kiddush Hashem from Israel - but unfortunately, of late, they've been pretty slow in coming.

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