You have to live there first

You have to live there first

Rhonda Rosenhack refers to the late Rabbi David Hartman (“Dear Israel: An open letter of concern,” February 15). Too bad she did not listen to his teachings when publicly criticizing Israel. Even as critic, Rabbi Hartman defended his people. He often said, appealing to diaspora Jews disillusioned with Israeli policies: “Criticize us like a mother, not a mother-in-law.” Rosenhack’s letter, for sure, was one from a shviger, not a mother.

As to the content of her gripe, she must know that Israel is a democracy, warts and all. Policies are dictated by the electorate. If she thinks that a policy is wrong, then in order to make changes, she needs to make aliyah, pay Israeli taxes, serve in (or send her kids to) the IDF – in other words, put her life where her words are. Only then will she have the moral right to publicly criticize the decisions of the democratically elected government.

I don’t disagree with her perspective – I have long considered myself an egalitarian Jew – but as an American Jew I do not have the moral right to tell Israel what to do.