Reading the Dec. 10 article about the ongoing, sporadic desecration of the historic Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in the eastern part of Jerusalem raises memories and questions. We recall with dismay the news that while under Arab control prior to 1967, its tombstones were used as paving stones for roads built by Arabs. Now we learn that even under nominal Israeli control, desecration continues. Only a small number who lie there have names as recognizable as Menachen Begin’s – but does this matter ?
One reads of this grave situation only in the Jewish press. Why? Is this universal issue of concern worthy of condemnation only when it occurs at non-Jewish burial sites?
Recently I attended a presentation by two Israeli journalists and asked the following question during the abbreviated Q & A session: Why is the Israeli government response to the Arab propaganda war so weak and ineffectual? Their answer was disappointingly similar to the perceived government response. Are they reflective of a general sense within Israel that “the world” is against them and facts do not matter?
Thanks to America’s support and Israelis’ own innate skills, determination, and developed strengths, Israel has grown from being the David who defeated Goliath to being the master of its fate in the eyes of many. Perhaps this is why it no longer receives the sympathies and support as before, as the world forgets that this tiny nation is still engaged in a potentially 100-year war with intransigent Arab neighbors who approach “peace negotiations” as though they had won all their wars with this Jewish state and appear willing to settle only for terms that will lead to the eventual destruction of this Jewish homeland.
One has to wonder why even universally recognized outrageous acts of profanity against the memories of the dead (some as recently as 2006) go unreported and not condemned in the mainstream media, nor by the self-appointed NGOs or the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission, which stand for human values everywhere, except when committed by Arabs.
Have we all – realists and idealists alike – become so inured to acts of inhumane violence to both the living and the dead that our own collective voices have fallen silent?