The Silence Is Deafening

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6 Responses

  1. shmuel thomas says:

    What an outrage! I am finding Jews in North America have more sympathy and feelings for the plight of Katrina’s victims than they do for their fellow Jews in Israel. Part of the insidious affects of galus/Exile.

    That said, I commend The Forward for publishing your letter — a way of registering your criticism and admitting, albeit not fully, that you do indeed have a point.

  2. Joel Shurkin says:

    Maybe they don’t think they did anything wrong. Maybe they don’t share your moral outrage. I don’t.


  3. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Shmuel Thomas,

    It is not so strange that Jews in North America have more sympathy to the people who suffered because of Katerina:

    1. By choosing to live in territory under Israeli control which was NOT annexed by the state of Israel, the people of Gush Katif took a calculated risk. It wasn’t unreasonable to expect that Israel might eventually withdraw (I think I remember reading somewhere that Israel wanted to give the Gaza Strip back to Egypt in the 1977 Camp David accords). Of course, you could claim that the people of New Orleans did the same by staying in a city that was under sea level.

    2. The tragedy, in the case of Katerina, is greater. The people of Gush Katif lost their homes. The luckier New Orleansians also lost their homes. Less lucky ones were stranded and robbed. Those worst off are dead, lost family members, or have to contend with the trauma of rape.

    3. The poor of Israel take priority over the poor of other nations. But the poor of one’s own city take priority over the poor who live far away (“Aniyey Ircha Kodmim”).

    4. The US is, to a large extent, “Malchut Shel Chesed”. Jews are treated as equal citizens, and as far as I can tell have always been treated that way (the first Jews to fight for the US did it in the revolutionary war, and at least one was an officer). Of course we reciprocate. To do otherwise would be ungrateful.

    Ori from Austin, TX

  4. Netanel Livni says:


    1. The risk of a decision made by an individual has no relevance to the level of immorality of the crime against that individual. Someone who gets mugged while walking through south-central LA does not deserve less sympathy than someone who gets mugged while walking through beverly hills.

    2. The tragedy in Gush Katif was worse because it involved a tremendous chillul Hashem while Katarina did not.

    3. The halacha states clearly that you can give charity to the Jews of the Land of Israel even at the expense of your own city’s poor and definitely at the expense of non-Jews anywhere.

    4. This “malchut shel chesed” is encouraging Israel to repeat the crimes it perpetuated on Gush Katif. Further, the biggest tragedy of this “malchut shel chesed” is that it has apparently caused some Jews to forget that they are living in galut (exile) and not in the Land that G-d intended them to dwell in.

  5. AK says:

    Mr. Livni,
    I.m curious, do you live in this “malchut shel chesed”, or in “the Land that G-d intended them to dwell in”?

  6. Netanel Livni says:


    I am temporarly living in LA while I am, BE”H, building a house in Israel. And I do not consider America my home in any sense of the word.

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