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December 14, 2018  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Israel Needs Our Support

By RABBI GARY KLEIN Temple Ahavat Shalom, Palm Harbor

We Jews are more than just adherents of the Jewish religion. We are also part of a people. Our religion, with its emphasis upon deed, has made us a people. Observing our religion has given us a culture and the Jewish religion’s emphasis on conduct has given us a system of values. Our culture and value system are key elements of our identity as a people.

A people must have a nation. Without it, a people’s culture and values will not flourish. More importantly, people without a nation are vulnerable to the whim of oppressive rulers of other nations and in our case, to the anti-Semitism of the leaders and populace of host nations. These are some of the reasons why Israel is important to the Jewish people.

Israel’s security is always in jeopardy. Our efforts to support her must be vigorous and ongoing. That is why I work so hard on behalf of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC is Israel’s lobby in Washington. Despite the first letters of the last three words that make up its name, AIPAC, it is not a political action committee. It neither endorses nor rejects any office holders and candidates for office. Instead, it educates our leaders about Israel, her efforts to live at peace with her neighbors, and the importance to Israel and to America of the America-Israel alliance. AIPAC does this by producing educational material, by organizing meetings, and by taking legislators and candidates on trips to Israel.

I would be especially grateful if you would join me and a number of members of the Tampa Bay Jewish community in attending this year’s AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC this coming March 23 - 26. I can assure you that this event is one of the most important events in the Jewish world each year.

The Policy Conference is especially important this year with more than 100 new members of Congress, many of whom are not aware of the importance of the alliance between Israel and the United States, and several of whom have already exhibited hostility toward Israel. This year’s Policy Conference is also especially important because Israel is facing new threats from Gaza at her southern border, and new threats from Iran-backed Hezbollah in the north.

At the Policy Conference, we will spend two days being briefed on matters of essential importance to the mutually beneficial alliance between the United States and Israel. Then we will spend a day on Capitol Hill lobbying members of Congress and encouraging them to support this alliance. We will be part of a group of 18,000 pro-Israel activists.

In my view, attending the Policy Conference and supporting AIPAC in general, are among the most important things we can do for our people. Please join me in these endeavors.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the board. The views expressed in the column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press or the Board of Rabbis.

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