Friday, July 25, 2008

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Obama in Israel - The Ludicrous Photo Op

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

Ludicrous - causing laughter because of absurdity; provoking or deserving derision; ridiculous; laughable.

Many a politician comes to make a symbolic visit to the Holy Land. All such visits include the required reverence to the dead Jews of the Holocaust by visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial (and museum, but they skip the part where they might learn something and stick to the symbolic wreath laying). The more adventurous and/or those who are actually religious make the trip to the Kotel, the Western Wall, the last and largest wall of the surrounding compound of the 2nd Beis HaMikdash, Jewish Holy Temple destroyed by the Romans.

This is considered the holiest site currently accessible by Judaism in the world. (The actual holiest site is the former location of the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount - but it's generally inaccessible and the area is currently occupied by 5 muslim mosques.)

Now, if anyone of any faith wants to come to the holiest place in Judaism and pray to G-d, every person in the world is welcome to do so. If they want to come, plaster the security barracades put up for their protection with signs reading Obama for President IN HEBREW, and just use it for a photo op to enhance their election possibilities, then this is a Chillul Hashem, a desecration of Hashem's name.

First, the signs. This is so ludicrous as to be unbelievable. Anyone in Israel who's elegible to vote in the US election is an American Jew who's chosen to come home to the Holy Land. Trust me, the majority are not so comfortable in Hebrew (they get by), so this sign is not targeted at them. Of course, Israelis are...Israeli, not American, so they don't get to vote in the US election. So who exactly were the Hebrew Obama signs for? Obama for World Leader?

Now, I understand everyone wanting to cosy up to this guy. After all, he's presumptive king of the West. (Yeah yeah, I know there's some other old white guy running, but I can't find his name in the news or anything about him, so he must not be important or have a chance.) And, traditionally Jewish organizations operate best by quiet influence. You don't want to dis the next king.

But when it comes to the Kodesh, the holy, you can't trample it, you can't use it for your own ends or rent it for someone else's and your future leverage. G-d don't play patsy.

Photo from New York Magazine, Daily Intel.

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