Synagogue Sin

The occupation of Gaza (and the vast majority of the West Bank) was a torrid piece of Israeli and Jewish history. It was not helpful to anyone, least of all the Palestinians, and it placed tremendous strain on Israel and the United States to maintain some semblance of political optimism about the future of the Palestinian nation. It essentially helped to bankrupt those living in the Palestinian territories while providing unnecessary fuel for extremists (Muslim, Jewish, and Christian) to aid the murder of innocents. Superbly wealthy countries like Saudi Arabia (friends of Americans like Mr. Bush) used the poverty of the Palestinians as a whip against the West and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, Palestinians themselves remained uncritical of their own leaders and allowed their schools to become recruitment zones for killers and hate mongers.
I saw a fascinating BBC documentary the other day that showed how, previous to 1935 or so, Arabs in the region were very tolerant of Jewish settlers and Christian tourists. During the rise of the Nazis in Europe, very strong ties were developed among them and powerful Arabs in the region and the rise of tyrants throughout the area can be directly tied to European fascism, anti-semitism, and state control. These Arab countries used the Nazis and then the Soviets to maintain power over their subjects and ensure that oil was critical to the success of the West.
What is atrocious and generally unspoken is that the synagogues left in Gaza were burned down by the Palestianians for no reason other than spite. It’s understandable that their hatred has become fierce. But in Israel and other Western nations, the burning of a place of a worship is crime of massive proportions. It’s not acceptable to burn (even abondoned) sites of devotion. Israel protects all houses of worship.
When I visited Poland ten years ago, those synagogues that remained after World War II were rarely used by Jews there; they couldn’t be because there are only a few thousands Jews in Poland out of a population of 40 million. (The Jewish population, pre-war, was about 25% of the total.) But the Poles (almost never) burned the buildings down and instead used them most recently as churches, libraries, gymnasiums or banks.