Saturday, April 30, 2011

To be or not to be like England...

This week an extreme right conference was held in Ramle. The star speaker there was Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, initiator of the famous (notorious) Rabbis' Letter, who was greeted with applause when stating that 'The Rabbis' Letter is working' and that "In Safed nobody is renting apartments to foreigners' (i.e. to Arab citizens of Israel). Thereupon, another guest of honor at the conference – none other than the Minister of Science on the Government of Israeli, Professor Daniel Hershkowitz – rose and presented Rabbi Eliyahu with a Badge of Honor, "in appreciation of his work to preserve the Jewish character of Israel".

Another thing which could not have happened in England. It is doubtful if even one priest in today's Church of England would have taken such positions, not to speak of dozens signing a joint letter. And if there were, it is doubtful if the Minister of Science in the British government would dare to approach this kind of conference. And should a minister dare to do something of the kind, it is doubtful if he were still a minister a day later. And in the unlikely case that he were, he might find it difficult to have British scientists keen to cooperate with a ministry headed by such a minister.

To be or not to be like England. That is the question.