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June 9, 2016 10:01 am

How They Repay Jewish Kindness

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow /

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Jerusalem's Damascus Gate. Rabbi Andrew Sacks and “fellow activists”  handed out red roses to Palestinians at the Damascus Gate. Photo: Wikipedia.

The Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo: Wikipedia. – In its coverage of the recent parade in Jerusalem to celebrate the 49th anniversary of the city’s reunification, the Washington Post reported a small but telling incident.

Rabbi Andrew Sacks and “fellow activists” positioned themselves at the Damascus Gate, an entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem that has been the scene of several terror attacks in the past year, and “handed out red roses to Palestinians.” Sacks, who is the (Conservative) Rabbinical Assembly’s director in Israel, told the Washington Post that the Jerusalem reunification parade is “an excuse for needless racism and provocation, and we are opposed to this.”

There was a remarkable irony to the entire scene. The marchers were celebrating the reunification of the city. Sacks was denouncing them. But the only reason Sacks was able to stand at the Damascus Gate and hand out his roses is that Israel reunified the city. When it was under Jordanian-Arab rule prior to June 1967, Jews were banned from entering the Old City (where the Western Wall and Temple Mount are located). Sacks and his “fellow activists” would have been arrested by the Jordanian apartheid authorities if they had tried to stand at the Damascus Gate in those days.

But the most telling aspect of the Washington Post story was the reaction of one of the Palestinians to whom the roses of peace and reconciliation were handed. The newspaper reported: “One member of [Sacks’s] group handed a flower to a Muslim youth who walked a few feet away and made a show of dropping it on the street.”

I feel sorry for Sacks. Here he had gone to such great trouble to try to prove to local Palestinians that he was one of the good, reasonable, moderate Jews — not at all like those bad, extremist, racist Jews who celebrate Jerusalem’s unity. And how did this Muslim youth repay the rabbi’s gesture of kindness? With a contemptuous gesture of his own.

The Muslim youth’s demonstrative casting of the rose into the gutter was another way of saying: “The problem is not marches or other ‘provocations.’ The problem is not that there are some bad Jews. The problem is that all Jews want to keep Jerusalem, even if some of you don’t want to shout about it. You are all the same, and we consider all of you to be our enemy.”

An even more important illustration of the way in which many Arabs repay Jewish kindness was recently provided in the Israeli Knesset. At a joint hearing of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee, experts testified on Israel’s policy of granting legal status to foreign nationals who marry Israeli citizens.

An official of the Shin Bet (Israel’s security agency) revealed that 104 of the foreign Arabs who entered Israel under the “family reunification” program between 2001 and 2016 subsequently committed acts of terrorism. Seventeen of the 104 qualified to stay in Israel by marrying Israeli citizens; the other 87 were admitted because they were relatives of foreigners who married Israelis.

The Shin Bet representative emphasized that the “family reunification” terrorists have played a significant role in recent violence. Of the 104 Arabs, 30 carried out terrorist attacks during the past nine months, constituting 13 percent of all terrorism during that period. The official also pointed out that 73 percent of Arab terrorists with Israeli citizenship who engaged in terrorism since the waves of stabbings began last September were individuals who entered Israel through the family reunification process.

No country has a moral or legal obligation to admit foreign nationals who could endanger the lives of its citizens. In this case, it’s not a matter of “could;” the evidence demonstrates unequivocally that some of them have and will endanger Israeli lives. Israel admits them as a gesture of kindness; and some of them repay that kindness by murdering Jews.

Everyone wants to be thought of as the nice guy. Whether handing out roses or handing out entry visas, Israelis hope that such gestures will soften the hearts of the Palestinians. What a pity that the “gestures” strategy never seems to work.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

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  • stevenl

    They all suffer from a MAN-made mental sickness: Religious genocidal fanaticism.

  • brenrod

    It is jews like rabbi sacks who are the cause of dead Jews globally by seeking to obfuscate the fact that the honor killers are out to kill the Jews.

  • As a member of the Conservative Movement in Israel Rabbi Sacks does not and did not represent me and lots of others like me. Most regrettably he and a number of his colleagues like him in the USA purport to represent the movement but they don’t. Considering the fact that there are a diversity of views it might have been more prudent of him and his colleagues to keep their views to themselves rather by than by innuendo let people assume they represent the movement

  • robert davis

    sacks and other leftwing cowards are opposed to peace or want Israel’s destruction at all cost and their attitude is the reason for that perpetual war imposed to Israel by arabs and europe who cannot be more royalists than the king. If those stupid ghetto jews give roses to the “palestinians” how can we expect europe to support Israel? they will of course give political weapons to “palestinians” or worse! Cowards have a twisted minds if they think peace is the result of cowardice.

  • The trouble with liberal Jews is that they are liberal Jews.

  • Red roses will not soften the hearts of the PLO terrorist entity. A credible use of force against PLO/Hamas terrorists is a potent deterrent that brings respect. Ending the incitement that inspires young Arabs to murder Jews would be a wise strategy and a kind gesture toward Jews who lost loved ones.

  • Pinchas Baram in Boston

    I have nothing but contempt for the stupid Israeli lawmakers who have allowed for this ongoing travesty of opening the gates to not only foreign arabs who marry israeli arabs but to the relatives of these foreign arabs! stooopid jooozz!

    he who is merciful to the cruel will end up causing cruelty to the merciful: how many times do joooz have to be reminded of that Talmudic truism?

  • Myron Slater

    Instead of roses, should have handed out hand grenades!

  • Many years ago, 57 to be exact, a Flatow lent me his house on Cape Cod in Welfleet in the Winter in order to do some writing. As I recall, he was crippled in one leg or his back. It was very generous and kind of him. You may not happen to be a relative of his, are you? I am in total agreement with you in your sentiments in this blog post. Belated condolences vis-a-vis your daughter. RE

  • citizenstat

    This Rabbi Sacks is a deluded fool, and has no business as a significant representative of the Conservative movement. My shul, a large, influential Conservative congregation will certainly vociferously object to his behavior in this situation!

  • isahiah62

    One who acts with compassion when firmness is called for will eventually act with cruelty when compassion is needed (Koheles Rabbah 7:33)

    Appeasement is not the answer:
    ISRAEL decided to EASE entry restrictions and got paid back same way as always>>>> IN DEAD JEWS… and still we hear hashtags and fake sympathy, “condemnations”. And worse acceptance and pledges by Israelis to go on living SAME INSANE WAY.

    IT WILL NOT STOP ISRAEL UNTIL YOU DECIDE ENOUGH and remove them from your midst.

    KAHANE CHAI even if that gets my comment blocked…
    Population transfer and no Muslims allowed in Israel- no way to tell which will decide to explode himself or stab or shoot JEWS.

    The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – A. Einstein

  • Deborah Ware

    It is the Palestinian who is losing out. He would not know an “act of kindness”, if it bit him. Sacks was gracious in his kind gesture. The Jews have always tried the Benevolent Hand towards their enemies first. Whereas the Moslem/Islamics are only interested in one thing: Destroy Israel and everyone else while you’re at it. The most Precious Gift a Jew gave me was life eternal for those who believe it. He also died in my place before our Heavenly Father.

  • Ani

    I don’t think Palestinians understand “nice”. I think that what we perceive as kindness, tolerance, acceptance and other virtues, ME Muslims view as signs of weakness. Those leftist liberal Jews who are so quick to dissasociate themselves from those other “hard liner ” Jews are just kidding themselves. And the Palestinians will be just as quick to stab or shoot them for being a Jew given the chance. I wish it were otherwise but time and experience has shown me that wishes not backed by facts are pure folly.

  • Lia

    There truly seems to be no hope for people raised only to hate.

  • I don’t think the Jews are smart. Not at all. Very talented people but not smart . That’s 2 differant thing . Always want to be the good guy ? For what ? They ( Muslims ) not going to like the Jews anyway. They will take ( of course ) whatever they can. Why not? And that’s it.

  • Yaakov

    There’s nothing wrong at all with saying that the parade should not be an excuse for bigotry or provocation, both of which are contemptible. It should be done tastefully, with joy, and without negative feelings toward others. In fact, reconciliation is the key to unification. If the Arab sector of the city had been treated better in terms of supporting its infrastructure and services, its residents would have wanted to remain part of Israel and would most likely have supported unification.

    An anecdotal case of a single individual who throws down a rose means nothing. No group of people would want to be judged by the actions of a few. It will take much more than roses to achieve the desired result.