Many of us are shocked and dismayed about the UN resolution condemning Israel. Even if we are opposed to settlements, the resolution was extremely harsh; its formulation declared any Israeli presence beyond the 1967 borders to be illegal. Thus the Israeli presence in places like the Jewish quarter of the old city or the Western Wall itself is illegal, as is the presence of hundreds of thousands of Jerusalem residents in areas of the city built on territory that Israel acquired as a result of the 1967 war. The resolution is only the first step. Declaring the Israeli presence illegal is a significant step towards further undermining the legitimacy of the state of Israel as the Jewish homeland. The goal of all of this is quite simply to reduce the Jews to the all too familiar role of a pariah people despised and held in contempt by the world community. Many believe that this resolution may be followed by an attempt at imposing a solution by having the world community endorse a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders at a meeting of foreign ministers to take place on Jan 15 in Paris. The resolutions approved at that meeting could then be quickly approved by the Security Council before the inauguration of our new president on Jan 20. This would put the state of Israel in grave danger. On Friday night January 13, I would like to hold a special Middle East Conflict Basics meeting to familiarize ourselves with the issues involved. I would also like to declare Shabbat January 14 as a day of prayer for Israel. Let us pray that the storm will pass and Israel and the Jewish people emerge unscathed.
Rabbi Gerald Sussman