101 years since Beersheva – the rabbi

November 2, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Australian and NZ  101st commemoration of the Battle of Beersheba was followed by a gathering including many young Australians who are in Israel on Shnat Sherut at the Pratt Foundation’s Park of the Australian Soldier.

Marion Apple, Rabbi Raymond Apple and Ambassador Wendy Hinton

The event was attended by both the Australian ambassador Chris Cannay and the NZ ambassador Wendy Winton.

Addressing the proceedings was Rabbi Raymond Apple who said: “The Park of the Australian Soldier is a place of play and peace. What a dream that is – “play and peace” – in a world where no-one is safe!

When I grew up in postwar Melbourne, the Jewish community had a cluster of Landsmannschaften, groups of Jews who came from the same town.

Those chapters of history are now a long time ago, but there are new names that reflect Jewish suffering and sorrow. Wherever you look there are places with Jewish bloodstains. Their blood cries out but the world plays games and lets the Jews weep.

The famous Four Freedoms boil down to one – the freedom to be yourself. Including the Jewish freedom to be Jews and to have an Israel.

Look at the Internet in 2018. You read of “basic rights and freedoms to which humans are considered to be entitled, often held to include the rights to life, liberty, equality, and a fair trial, freedom from slavery and torture, and freedom of thought and expression”: upheld in theory but flouted in the very nations and world bodies that claim to defend it.

Human life is violated every day. It seems that only one freedom is real – the freedom to bear a gun and slay decent people. We’re told, “It’s a free country. People have a right to have guns. They have a right to evil opinions.” It makes fools of governments and nations.

Rabbi Jakobovits says that there are no intrinsic rights in the Bible, only obligations: “Everyone thinks of what society owes to him, not of what he owes to society”.

So what if my neighbour has values and views different from mine?  In a good society, I would seek his wellbeing and he would seek mine. We would rejoice in one another. He would feel my pain and I would feel his.  Our children would laugh with each other.  There would be play and peace.”

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