Yesterday I went to Temple Beth Sholom in Roslyn Heights to hear Congressman Steve Israel speak about his recent trip to Israel. It was a great experience for me, both to return to the synagogue I worked at in 2009-10 and to meet my Congressman, whose daughter worked for me at Congregation Anshei Israel in Tucson. Small world!
One aspect of the evening that struck me was a question as to ISIS being a threat to Israel’s security. The Congressman’s response (if I remember correctly) was “ISIS is a threat to Israel. Iran is an existential threat to Israel. I don’t want to just put my eyes on ISIS and take them off Iran.”
This astute point by Congressman Israel demonstrated to me the danger of missing the forest for the trees. It is very easy to turn both eyes on ISIS’s massacring thousands of people and beheading of American journalists, both of which constitute terrible war crimes and atrocities. One eye always needs to be on toppling the Islamic State-for if we do not do so it will destroy all the values that we hold dear. NO ONE should be killed for being a member of a different religion. At the same time, the other eye must constantly be focused on Iran and its attempt to develop an atomic bomb, which could wipe out an entire people. We cannot lose sight of Iran’s developments in this regard because if we do NO ONE will be safe.
Congressman Israel reminds us to focus on the issue of today (ISIS) but not at the expense of forsaking the issue of the development of a nuclear weapon in Iran.
I am sorry to miss the AIPAC Rabbinic Summit today but have the AIPAC Policy Conference on my calendar. Hope to see you there.