Will the Center Hold?

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Life in Israel today is evocative of Yeats’ great poem “The Second Coming”

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

While we are still reeling from the shock of the discovery of the bodies of the three yeshiva students, six Jews confess to the slaughter of a young Muslim youth in retaliation,
burning him alive-yes while still alive; and rioting and violence are continuing in East Jerusalem. Rockets are falling on parts of Israel, and the Israeli army is responding with military action in Gaza. The ceremony of innocence has long drowned, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and for sure, the worst are full of passionate intensity.
The call today in Israel is for the sane amongst us, Jew and Arab together, to unite against “the worst” amongst us-and if there is any hope it is in that call being heeded. Even some ultra-orthodox rabbis have condemned the murder of Muhammed Abu-Khadeir, the young boy slaughtered by Jewish zealots and the better of our political leaders are trying to press for calm and not confrontation. There are still too many voices, both here and sadly in America, who care not that their careless and cruel words will loose anarchy upon the innocent, but to be a Jew is to hope, and on this day, we cling to hope that things yet will not “fall apart”.

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