Amira Hass, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and presently reporting for the Israeli daily Haaretz is surely one of the bravest journalists in Israel. She lives and works in the Occupied Territories and reports from there regularly.
This partial interview was furnished by The Mark when she was here during Luminato
THE MARK: You are currently here in Toronto, which is home to a rich and vibrant Jewish culture and a community that identifies very strongly and proudly with Israel. As an Israeli citizen who has dedicated her life to reporting on, and fighting against, the occupation, what is your message to those that feel so deeply that Israel is under threat and must be defended?
HASS: In a way, I am sorry for them. It’s a shocking departure, or deviation, from a very recent history of Jewishness. To be so blind to oppression and repression looks to me to be very contradictory to what it means to be Jewish. I have been raised, as a Jew, to know that wrongdoing is something that we Jews should come out against. So, when I see this blindness, it really makes me sorry.
Of course, no invitation to Hass was proferred by the major synagogues which seems to have forgotten the legacy of the Prophets. No rabbi in his/her right mind would dare invite even a mild critic of Israel inside its doors.
But lest we be too hard on the synagogue, there is not much prophecy left in the mainline Christian bodies either.
Oh how we long for the voice of Abe Heschel
It is customary to blame secular science and antireligious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid.
Religion is ready to offer comfort; it has no courage to challenge. It is ready to offer edification; it has no courage to break the idols, to shatter callousness.