Rachel’s Tomb Matters

Alex Joffe’s important essay “Why Rachel’s Tomb Matters” published on places the UNESCO decision to discount the Jewish connection to Rachel’s Tomb in the context of a broader theological struggle. The entire article is an important read.

Through the centuries, Jewish and Christian travelers and pilgrims often visited the site near Bethlehem and remarked on its pillar, made of eleven stones symbolizing the tribes of Israel, named after the sons of Jacob (excluding the twelfth and youngest, Benjamin, the ordeal of whose birth occasioned his mother Rachel’s death).  Of course, we cannot know whether the site is “really” the burial place of Rachel, the “eternal mother,” but it was firmly engraved as such in Jewish and Christian consciousness….

It is true that Muslims are not alone in the impulse to deny Jews their past: consider the regularity with which Jewish cemeteries continue to be vandalized in Christian Europe. But Islam seems especially intent on erasing Jews from history on theological grounds. Flashpoints like Rachel’s tomb (or “Ezekeiel’s tomb” near the site of ancient Babylon) are especially vulnerable because they represent personages specifically claimed by Islam, but they are joined by houses of worship like the Great Synagogue in Oran, Algeria, seized and converted into a mosque in 1960, and communal buildings like the Haim Benchimol hospital in Tangiers, suddenly seized and torn down this year. Admittedly, there are showcase exceptions: the Maimonides synagogue in Cairo, the tiny Jewish communities in Morocco and Tunisia, preserved as if in amber for their considerable value as tourist destinations. But the vast number of sites that formed the living fabric of Jewish life—the cemeteries, synagogues, and schools, not to mention homes and places of work—are forever lost.



Obama gives Israelis something they can agree on

Where J-Street is leading Obama.


Today’s NYTimes carries an Op-Ed from Haaretz Editor Aluf Benn, “Why Won’t Obama Talk to Israel?” His article is clear and concise and asks who is the fool behind the Obama administration policy on the middle-east why has Obama pursued a policy of distancing Israel and Israelis?

He points to three places where Obama got it wrong with Israel and that his policies are counterproductive at best, and downright dangerous at worst:
1-Israelis became spoiled by unfettered presidential attention.
2-Mr. Obama’s quest for diplomacy has appeared to Israelis as dangerous American naïveté.
3-Mr. Obama seems to have confused American Jews with Israelis.

Benn points to recent Jerusalem Post poll of Israelis which indicated that only 6 percent of those surveyed considered the Obama administration to be pro-Israel. In other words, the stats show that Israelis read our Presidents name as barack HUSSEIN obama. Pro-Arab, Pro-Palestinian, luke warm on Israel, and empowering Iran.

Benn’s Op-Ed, from a leading left-wing Israel newspaper, reveals that J Street has taken Obama down the Wrong Street. Obama, Rahm and Axelrod have failed to create a viable policy for the Middle East, and Hilary over in State is kept on a short leash in the dog house.

There is a great positive part of all of this.

Obama has gotten 94% of Israelis to agree on something.

Even with American Jews split on Obama’s direction, it is better for the survival of the Jewish people that Israelis are unified, than American Jews.