My Ph.D. is actually in modern Jewish philosophy from Brandeis University. Everyone knows that there has been a fundamental weakness to Jewish philosophy and theology since the loss of European Jewry in the Holocaust. But I have studied and been friends with Arthur Waskow for decades, and I can say that he has emerged as one of the most creative thinkers of contemporary Jewish spiritual life. His books are playful, down to earth, but incredibly creative on a spiritual and textual level.
More importantly Arthur is by far the most courageous in standing up to the Jewish establishment which silences all thought that questions the militancy of their supposedly pro-Israel politics, which is not very pro-Israel. Arthur has managed in his senior years, to create a bridge to the mainstream Jewish community through his championing of not only peace and justice but also environmental transformation. The latter has …
Veteran journalist Orly Halpern writing an excellent piece in the Globe and Mail, deepens the story on the Gazan peacemaker/doctor whose three daughters were killed. The shocking reactions of some Israelis to his agony is an important clue to understanding the deterioration of the political/psychological atmosphere in Israel, and why the country, and its dwindling supporters, may be headed for a clash with the rest of the world.
“I prefer to believe the Israeli army, that a sniper shot from his house, and not [to believe] the doctor,” one Israeli posted on an Israeli news website.
“Is there such a thing as an Arab who is not Hamas?” asked another.
“How can anyone not believe this man?” a third wondered.
Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish grieves at a Tel Aviv hospital this month. The doctor, whose Gaza home was shelled, worked in Israeli hospitals for more than 20 years.
Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, before the successful Gaza War with Hamas
At first I was shocked when I read the story of the Gazan peace doctor who has been working with Israelis for years, whose daughters were decapitated and cut to pieces in front of him, from an Israeli shell aimed without care or caution at Hamas.
But then I went through a second stage of reaction when I was warmed by how amazing a reception he received in Israel. His surviving wounded daughter was operated on to save her eye as he was surrounded by sobbing Israeli Jewish colleagues. Here are excerpts from the story:
“I dedicated my life really for peace, for medicine,” said Dr. Abuelaish, who does joint research projects with Israeli physicians and for years has worked as something of a one-man force to bring injured and ailing Gazans for treatment in Israel.
“The Israeli Defense Forces
I had written a piece earlier on Leo Kramer’s pioneering work supporting Palestinian and Israeli doctors who work together. Leo’s follow-up article, Israeli, Palestinian Doctors Affect Change on the Ground, is even more revealing. Leo writes that the medical work is vital because doing is more important than talking, a theme I have been trying to push recently in It Is What You Do That Defines You. Leo writes:
These efforts, however, must also be directed toward achieving results on the ground. That means ameliorating the insecurity of the Israelis, while addressing the deprivation of the Palestinians, their need for medical services, goods, utilities, food and freedom of movement. The overt violence of the conflict is bad enough for both sides, without the medical and humanitarian border crises, which thwart the struggle to maintain a basic standard of living for the Palestinians.
To properly approach security and