Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dismore or Dannon who is the better Member of Parliament

I again have decided to compare two politicians one in England and one in Israel.

This week the MP for Hendon, Andrew Dismore has again made the news for all the wrong reasons, for claiming thousands of pounds of the public's money over the last ten years for a second home in London and travelling from Notting Hill to Hendon. He has always said that he didn't want to be a Minister because he wanted to help people. It looks more like he wasn't up to it and wanted to make as much money as possible.

Meanwhile, in Israel the Likuds MK, Danny Dannon has been speaking up for children asylum seekers. Danny Dannon - since he was elected less than a year ago - has shown that it is possible for backbench politicians to have an impact on policy. I believe that his recent support for child asylum seekers from Africa and children of immigrants, who some politicians want to force out of the country is the right moral stand to take and should be supported.

In recent weeks we have been reading in Bereshit about Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, and how he showed one of the most important traits a person can have is to welcome guests. Danny Dannon is therefore showing that the Jewish State should continue this trait should welcome guests or asylum seekers, when they most need our help. I therefore hope more people will support this cause.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

92 Years since the Balfour Declaration

Yesterday (2nd November) was the anniversary of the one of the major steps on the way to the recreation of the State of Israel.

On 2 November 1917, Britain's than Foreign Secretary of Britain, Arthur James Balfour declared that the British Cabinet

"viewed with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".

Just thirty-one years later the Jewish people were able to declare their national home.

However, despite intense efforts the Palestinian leadership are still refusing to negotiate with Israel and to recognise Israel as the Jewish home.

This past week we also read the Torah portion of Lech-Lecha when Abraham was commanded to move to the Land of Israel. However, during the reading we also read of G-d's promise to Abraham that his descendents would receive the Land of Israel as his inheritance. This is the reason why Israel should be the Jewish homeland. However, it can also be seen as the source of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

This source, Chapter 17 of Bereshit (Genesis) sees a covenant between G-d and Abraham in which G-d makes the commandment of circumcision and in return promises the Land of Israel to Abraham's descendents. As Abraham only had one son at the time Ishmael (who I believe Muslems see as their patriarch), many people would have thought that this promise would be to him and his descendents. Indeed even Abraham at first thinks this as described in verse 18. However, G-d than makes clear in verse 19 that Abraham will have another son (Isaac) a patriach of the Jewish people, who will receive the covenant of the Land of Israel.

The Torah thus makes clear that Israel should be the Jewish homeland, which 92 years ago was supported by the Balfour Declaration. However, while a dispute continues to exist, maybe one day we will receive an answer like in Sam Bourne's novel 'The Last Testament'.