Israel Forever

For the week ending 1 September 2007 / 18 Elul 5767

A Nation That Doesn't Respect Itself

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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The tochacha (warning) in this week's Torah portion echoes in our own days.

Here is an item from the June 6th issue of the Jerusalem Post that speaks for itself.

"Chief of Protocol at the Foreign Ministry Itzhak Eldan was dismayed this week to read a report in Maariv claiming that Israel diplomats are fed up with a protocol stipulating that when entertaining guests at restaurants abroad they do so in kosher eateries.

Some of the diplomats have complained that kosher restaurants, if they do exist in the cities in which they are serving, are sub-standard and are calling for a relaxation of the rules.

Eldan, who soon after coming into office introduced another rule, namely that staff from the Protocol office do not go to the airport to greet a foreign dignitary who arrives on Shabbat or on a Jewish holiday, says that what people do in their private lives is their own business, but when they are representing the state, they must publicly uphold Jewish values. One of his favorite mantras is that 'a nation that doesn't respect itself can't expect to be respected by others.'

Thus anyone acting on behalf of the nation and the Jewish people should not be doing anything that denigrates national and Jewish traditions. Quite a lot of non-Jews are at least superficially familiar with Jewish dietary laws, and when they see a representative of the state violating them, they must surely wonder what else is being violated."

Only by Israel's representatives showing with their behavior that the nation respects itself can we hope that there will be universal respect for Israel forever.

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