Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Israel Needs A Non-Jewish Prime Minister
Jewish Press ^ | 1-4-06 | Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Posted on 01/05/2006 6:55:45 PM PST by SJackson

While serving as rabbi at Oxford University, I befriended a young African-American Rhodes scholar by the name of Cory Booker who became like a brother to me. Because of Cory’s immense popularity within our student organization, the Oxford L’Chaim Society, he was voted in as co-president 1992, serving as leader of an organization of more than 4,000 student members.

Many in the Anglo-Jewish community were puzzled at a non-Jew serving at the head of a Jewish organization, especially when pictures of Cory, with a yarmulke on his head introducing our speaker Mikhail Gorbachev, appeared throughout the UK press. But to my mind that was never a contradiction. Cory was simply the best man for the job.

A deeply spiritual man of impeccable character, Cory, a Baptist, was the living personification of Jewish values. He had a deep love and reverence for God, humanity, and the Jewish people, and he possessed a charismatic ability to inspire goodness in others. Indeed, Cory’s presidency was long remembered as a golden era for Jewish life at Oxford, and today Cory, who is now running to be mayor of Newark, New Jersey, is not only one of America’s most influential young politicians, but is adored by the American Jewish community.

I thought of Cory as I watched Israel descending into the morass of another bitterly-contested election. We who have prayed for a strong Israeli leader — firm in his or her conviction that the real road to peace in the Middle East rests not with Israeli concessions but with Arab political reform and democratization — are now handed a roster of the usual suspects. For the most part, the prime ministerial candidates are men who have already succumbed in the past to international pressure to cede territory in return for what was supposed to be peace but was always increased Arab hostility toward the Jewish state.

Indeed, I have begun to despair of any Jewish prime minister of Israel being able to withstand the pressure for further concessions. Menachem Begin was the most nationalistic of all Israel’s prime ministers and one of the proudest Jews of modern times. But he handed over to Egypt land equivalent to three times Israel’s size and received an ice-cold peace in return. Ariel Sharon, the man many once viewed as the unshakable rock of Israel’s security, abandoned Gaza and its brave Jewish residents and in return received a wave of Hamas-launched rockets so incessant that his government is now threatening ground operations in Gaza, which obviates the entire reason for leaving in the first place.

Ehud Barak, once Israel’s most decorated soldier, was ready, at Camp David, to give to Yasir Arafat Judaism’s most sacred sites, and even Bibi Netanyahu, long Israel’s most eloquent defender, gave up control of Hebron, Israel’s first capitol and the city of the patriarchs, and signed the Wye River agreements under pressure from Bill Clinton.

Given this kind of history, does it really matter who is elected Israel’s next prime minister? The outcome is already a foregone conclusion. Whoever is prime minister will come under horrendous pressure to cede huge tracts of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinians, and if history is a guide, they will buckle to that pressure.

I believe that, as strange as it may sound, it is time for Israelis to begin to look seriously at having a non-Jewish prime minister. One of the reasons Cory Booker was such an effective president for us at Oxford was that he did not have so many of the hang-ups that we Jews sometimes possess: problems affirming our identity in a non-Jewish environment, feelings that we are outsiders (which in turn leads to a desperate longing for mainstream acceptance), and a feeling of queasiness at how disliked Israel is by the rest of the world.

Whereas many of our committed Jewish students were reluctant to invite their more secular Jewish friends to attend Friday night Shabbat dinner for fear of being stigmatized as parochial and missionary, Cory served as one of our greatest sources of recruitment and many Jewish Rhodes Scholars became regulars at our events due entirely to Cory’s inspiration.

Israel needs that kind of leader: a man or woman who is unafraid to assert that Israel is a moral and democratic country that has little for which to apologize. Israel needs a leader who couldn’t care less about fitting in and for whom invitations to the White House and Downing Street are meaningless.

A non-Jewish prime minister, who is already an insider, would save us from the many Jewish prime ministers who traded in their ideology to gain mainstream acceptance. Indeed, perhaps it is only a non-Jewish man or woman who could go to the United Nations and have the credibility to speak the truth about the shocking prejudice against the Jewish state in that increasingly immoral international body.

Perhaps it is only a non-Jewish prime minister who could speak with credibility about the right of the Jews to their ancient, biblical homeland. Indeed, would the Balfour Declaration of 1917, promulgated by a non-Jewish lover of the Jewish people, have had the same credibility had it been the Rabinowitz Declaration?

The story of the modern State of Israel is one of constant tragedy, interspersed with remarkable triumphs. But the most remarkable thing of all is how so many of those tragedies were self-inflicted. The Oslo agreements, in which Israel brought back to its territory and armed tens of thousands of men committed to its destruction, will no doubt be forever regarded as one of the greatest self-inflicted catastrophes by any nation in the history of the world.

Of all the people who are puzzled at Israel’s mysterious penchant for self-destruction, it is evangelical Christians who are most puzzled of all. Evangelicals were the most vocal opponents to the withdrawal from Gaza, wondering why Israel would voluntarily allow the creation of a Hamas terrorist launching pad on its borders. Indeed, Christian evangelicals take seriously not only the Jewish biblical claim to the Land of Israel, but the idea of Jewish chosenness as well, a concept that makes modern Jews incredibly queasy.

So why not have an evangelical prime minister who actually believes in — and will authoritatively speak to the world of — the Jewish people’s three-thousand-year-old claim to their homeland? I, for one, would welcome any Israeli leader, of whatever birth, who is wholly immune to any sycophantic desire for international acceptance.

Indeed, the Talmud relates that one of the most successful kings of Second-Temple era Israel was the non-Jewish Agrippa, who was so beloved by the people that when he once cried in public, after reading Deuteronomy 17:15, the commandment that "You shall not have a foreigner over you," the people cried out to him, "Fear not Agrippa. You are our brother. You are our brother" (Sotah 41a).

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Israel
KEYWORDS: boteach; sharon
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-52 last
To: SJackson
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Formerly Michel Jackson's personal Rabbi (and financial adviser).
41 posted on 01/05/2006 9:26:42 PM PST by Mad_as_heck (The MSM - America's (domestic) public enemy #1.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
Israel Needs A Non-Jewish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

42 posted on 01/05/2006 9:45:43 PM PST by ppaul
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson
Very interesting post. Interesting, this author. You know, Israel DID have a non-Jewish "Prime Minister" once - well, it wasn't really called Israel then, and the guy wasn't called "Prime Minister" . . . he was called "King", and was a Knights Templar, named King Baldwin. That was a long time ago. Actually, King Baldwin and those King Baldwins, King of Jerusalem, that followed, secretly practiced a Jewish religion.

Hey! My last name is Baldwin!

Hey! Were some of those Kings, relatives?

. . . hey . . . I wouldn't mind, uh, volunteering for the job . . . you know, I could be really mean to those Muslims . . . check my file . . . Should I check in with the Raabei ? I think I would make a great Prime Minister of Israel. No kidding. It's, well, perhaps "in my blood"?

43 posted on 01/05/2006 9:56:10 PM PST by Brian_Baldwin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SJackson

"Israel Needs A Non-Jewish Prime Minister"

Excellent piece and I agree.

44 posted on 01/05/2006 10:00:39 PM PST by Baraonda (Demographic is destiny. Don't hire 3rd world illegal aliens nor support businesses that hire them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rmlew

And the defense minister and formy army chief of staff is also iranian, as are a bunch of others. israel and iran actually had quite a close relationship before the revolution. Sharon was good friends with the Shah and the military there. One of his best friends was ambassador and another was the chief mossad man in Tehran and defense attache.

45 posted on 01/05/2006 11:24:30 PM PST by jeltz25
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: OldFriend

I would expand on that description exponentially..

46 posted on 01/05/2006 11:26:25 PM PST by sheik yerbouty ( Make America and the world a jihad free zone!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: SJackson; Alouette
". . . especially when pictures of Cory, with a yarmulke on his head. . . A deeply spiritual man of impeccable character, Cory, a Baptist,. . . "

[Loud buzzer goes off.] Wrong! ...minus one point for impersonating! Is Rabbi Boteach not Orthodox, or is his piece intended to be a joke? Or did I miss something?
47 posted on 01/06/2006 12:34:36 AM PST by familyop
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Baraonda

Israel is the home of the Jews. Got a problem with that?

48 posted on 01/06/2006 1:24:22 AM PST by Bella_Bru (
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: Salem; F15Eagle; Esther Ruth; Canadian Outrage; RoadTest; ZULU; Marine_Uncle

Now this is an interesting twist - ping!

49 posted on 01/06/2006 5:17:32 AM PST by Convert from ECUSA (Not a nickel, not a dime, stop sending my tax money to Hamastine!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rmlew
Katsav is a Persian Jew.

So is Shaul Mofaz.

50 posted on 01/06/2006 6:20:13 AM PST by Alouette (Neocon Zionist Media Operative)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: jeltz25

No, I didn't mean haridi. I meant someone who actually cared about Jews and had the courage to stand up for them. Too many Israeli PM's were more concerned with politics.

51 posted on 01/06/2006 7:10:40 AM PST by h.a. cherev
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Convert from ECUSA
"Now this is an interesting twist - ping!"
Hey, just elect this Cory guy. I am sure Hamas and Hizbolla shall sit down with him and dine.
52 posted on 01/06/2006 10:09:36 AM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-52 last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson