187. Israel doesn't need columnist's advice

On September 14, at the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, Martin Indyk, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, said, “there is no solution but to share the Holy City. It is not, and cannot, be the exclusive preserve of one religion, and the solution cannot come from one side challenging or denying another side’s beliefs.” Uzi Landau, a Likud member of the parliament, demanded that Washington recalled its ambassador. Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Illan University said, that “Indyk was not elected by anybody in Israel,” implying that he should not have interfered in Israel’s internal affairs.

Charles Krauthammer in his latest column (Sept. 18) complained that “Barak is down to his last chip” (Israel recognition of a Palestinian state) after giving away at Camp David “all his other bargaining chips.” One is tempted to ask who elected Krauthammer to tell the Israelis what they should and should not do.

American conservative Jews cannot have it both ways. When the Likud is in charge they say it is up to the Jews in Israel who know better to make the tough decisions and Diaspora Jews, unless they go and live there, should not impose their opinions. When Labor is in charge they become more Israeli than the Israelis.

Moshe Katsav, the new president of Israel, addressing a conference on assimilation and Jewish identity suggested, as Forward put it, “that Jewish life in Diaspora is essentially illegitimate.” If Krauthmmer wants to have a say, he should probably heed the call of president Katsav and make aliya (Hebrew word for the concept of the return of the exiles to their ancestral homeland of Israel).

September 28, 2000