18 August 2017 / 26 Av 5777
Senior PLO official Saeb Erekat who suffers a disease of lung tissue, has been treated in Israel. However, recently his condition worsened. Last week he asked to be on the waiting list for a lung transplant in Israel. For years, Erekat, a former peace negotiator and PLO spokesman, has been one of Israel’s most vocal critics and a strong proponent of the international push to boycott Israel (BDS).
The revelation of his treatment has caused outrage among Israeli soldiers, many of whom are holders of organ donor cards who have petitioned the government to remove Erekat’s name from the list of patients awaiting a transplant. Many have asked why he isn’t in Qatar, who sponsor Hamas’s rule in Gaza, or he hasn’t sought medical care in another country.
Let no one think that Erekat’s health woes have softened his anti-Israeli sentiments. He continues to lash out against Israel daily. Furthermore, he has every intention, if he fully recovers, of continuing to actively try to destroy the Jewish state.
The parsha this week, Reeh, says, “For you are a holy people to Hashem, who Hashem chose to be a treasured people [am segula] from all the peoples.” (Dev. 7:6). One explanation of “A Chosen Nation” is that the Jewish people are like a precious jewel that illuminates afar. The Jewish people’s destiny is to be, “A light unto the nations”, a spiritual role model for the entire world.
Furthermore, the Torah writes “If you see your enemy’s donkey falling under its burden, you shall surely help with him. (Ex. 23: 5)” Torah teaches that your enemy is also a human being. A decent society will be one in which enemies do not allow their rancour or animosity to prevent them to coming to one another’s assistance when they need help.
Israel’s destiny is to be to be a shining example of morality, dignity and honesty to the nations of the world.
Rabbi & Sheyna Riesenberg