I am a Jew. (from 10/9/23)

I am a Jew.

I’ve delayed this too long. It is a part of me. And I want to tell you that part of me.

The attack on Israelis ten days ago was heinous. It was a crime against humanity. Jews, including women and children, were killed, bombed, beheaded, burned, and raped by a terrorist group. It occurred in the original State of Israel, not in an occupied territory, and started at a music festival.

This is not a religious issue. It is not a territorial issue. It is a genocidal issue by a terrorist group whose precepts include the elimination of all Jews. Not only Israelis. Jews. I am a Jew.

Here are some facts:

Jews, at the biblical time of Joshua, entered and started Israel. The First Jewish Temple was built approximately 1500 years before the birth of Christ and 2200 years before Islam.

There is no apartheid in Israel. Arabs in Israel have the same rights as Jews. They are members of the Knesset, the legislative body of Israel. There is an Arab judge on the Israeli Supreme Court.

People in Israel can worship in their chosen synagogue, church, or mosque.

Is there a Palestinian issue? Yes. And unfortunately, Hamas runs Gaza. It takes humanitarian aid and instead builds a system of tunnels with weapons in and under schools and hospitals. It converts water pipes into bombs. It teaches Palestinian children in schools that they must kill Jews.

In peace negotiations, Israel returned Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005. It had been occupied in two wars dedicated to the destruction of Israel in 1967 and 1973. Despite these negotiated efforts toward peace, hundreds of terrorist attacks have occurred nearly every month for many years. This included approximately 4500 rockets launched against Israel from Gaza in May 2021.

What is my desire? It is peace. If the terrorists laid down their weapons, peace would occur. But if the Israelis laid down their weapons, they would die. ­­

How do you handle this issue within your practice? Patients are in your practice for care, not politics. My rule is to refrain from bringing up politics within my practice. However, if someone brings up lies about the war, I will give that person a fact that counters that lie. Because for the most part, in this country, peoples’ intentions may be right, but sometimes their facts are not.

Humanitarian aid is essential. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is one organization that I recommend. You can donate at ifcj.org and, if so inclined, display a small sign within your practice making such a recommendation to your patients.

Lee Sheldon