President Trump’s announcement stating that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and directing the State Department to begin moving the embassy sparked anger and protests across the world.
Shortly after he helped produce the Balfour Declaration that 100 years ago gave great momentum to the enterprise to establish the Jewish National Home in Palestine, and well before he became Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann cautioned that “the Zionist Congress …. Has to learn the truth that Palestine is not Rhodesia and that 600,000 Arabs live there who before the sense of justice of the world have exactly the same right to their homes as we have to our National Home.” Shortly before he died, Weizmann warned that ultimately Israel would be judged by how it dealt with those Palestinian claims.
“We’ve stopped the government’s attacks on our Judeo-Christian values,” President Trump said at a campaign rally and makeshift Roy Moore endorsement speech in Pensacola on December 8.
In April of 2016, I wrote about my disillusionment with the country’s fascination and exuberance for Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. As an ex-Orthodox Jew, I believed the secular world and American ideals I yearned for as a child would never drown to the subterranean levels we witnessed during the 2016 campaign. But after President Trump’s remarks defending alleged pedophile and sexual predator Roy Moore to safeguard his own political agenda, my disillusionment has turned to rage. President Trump reminds me of the rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community I grew up with who have been trying to keep their sexual abuse epidemic a dark secret for years.
President Reuven Rivlin’s 2015 “Tribes” speech spoke of the existence of a “new Israeli order” that comprises four main tribes: secular, ultra-Orthodox, Arabs, and religious Zionists. That, supposedly, is the Israeli collective: a federation of tribes with a common future, even if they disagree profoundly regarding the appropriate vision for the State of Israel.