Sunday, September 4, 2005

J.Post September 4: American Orthodox Zionists -- Too Little, Too Late

Sir, - Re 'America's Orthodox Zionists ask: What now, post-disengagement?' (August 31): Stephen Savitsky and Nathan Diament, representing the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and claiming for the union a religious Zionist orientation, are to be commended on their interest in the critical questions, soul-searching and challenges confronting all elements of Israeli society now that Gush Katif has been uprooted.

I would reluctantly suggest, however, that this interest is somewhat late in arrival and does not appear to have much to contribute to the agonizing debate. One cannot sit on the sidelines and then hope to be counted as a voice that commands respect and attention. One has no right to a say in the placement of the mezuza if one has not participated in the building of the house.

The writers describe the difficult path the OU has walked as the largest national religious umbrella organization, a path that led it to neither oppose nor endorse the disengagement plan. But do they know of one religious Zionist rabbinical authority or leader who did not oppose it?

The reasons for the disengagement were never clearly explained to the people of Israel, and certainly not to the residents of Gush Katif. The statement that it was a 'national security decision and those with their lives on the line must be deferred to' should have provided the impetus to vigorously oppose the plan, since it was the population of Gush Katif whose lives were on the line for more than 30 years.

Petah Tikva