Gaza a Year Later

05_06_07_2005_064 (photo of Reb Barry in front of a Gaza settler’s home, July 2005)

I had an op-ed piece published in the Toledo Blade last Saturday regarding Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza; the intro follows, or you can click here to go straight to the piece in the Blade.

On a completely unrelated topic, I just watched snow flurries dancing around my sukkah.  Doesn’t quite seem right!  The good news is we just got word that the Jewish Agency has approved our aliyah (meaning we finally got them all the paperwork they needed!).  Next year at least it is pretty unlikely our sukkah will see any snow!

Reb Barry

A LITTLE over a year ago I visited the Gaza Strip, a few weeks before Israel unilaterally evicted Jews who had moved to settlements in Gaza, Jews who had moved there with support and subsidies from previous Israeli governments.

Israel removed not only its civilian presence but also its military presence from Gaza a year ago. Not in exchange for a peace treaty, not in exchange for anything, simply because the Israeli government felt it was the right thing to do.

After my visit to Israel last year I wrote a Saturday Essay for The Blade entitled, “A painful but necessary move from Gaza.” At the conclusion I wrote, “While we wait for that day [a day of peace], Israel is doing the only thing it can do unilaterally: establish defensible borders. It’s a very difficult and painful move for Israel, but one that is necessary.”

This year I found myself having a somewhat surreal experience of being out on a boat scuba diving in Egypt (across the border from Israel) the day the war with Lebanon broke out. Being in Egypt on that fateful day led me to reflect on some of the realities of the Middle East. And my reflections, especially regarding the difference between Israel’s relationship with Egypt and Israel’s relationship with the Lebanese and the Palestinians, has led me to conclude that perhaps Israel’s move from Gaza was not only not necessary, it may have been a bad move.

Click here to go to the Blade and read the rest of the piece.

Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

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