I am no Barack Obama lover. And I had no compunctions about darting a pointed pen at him in my op-ed "If you're in the pew, you share the view," in regard to his relationship with Rev. Wright. But as a Zionist and a modern observant Jew, I do have compunctions about putting the following painful points to pen. Nonetheless, if God Himself openly criticized the Jews in the most popular and widely read book in history, the Bible, we should take note. If we see a wrong among us, we are duty bound to point it out and correct it. When Ahmadinejad was permitted to speak at Columbia, my alma mater, I publicly and strongly spoke out against it and ripped up my master's diploma from that institution. When my own people do wrong, I'm equally obliged.
To say that the extraction of Obama's personal note from the Western Wall and then the publishing of it by Ma'ariv are egregious acts would be a paltry employment of adjectives in defining misdeeds which are villainous, irreverent and profoundly un-Jewish in nature. Ma'ariv whose name has at its core the word "erev," night, has truly brought night to a nation that was supposed to be a light among the nations.
The Western Wall, in spite of the ravages and savages of time, is emblematic of its beleaguered nation and still stands defiant to those set to see it crumble. But stones alone do not a wall make, especially a wall of God's house. The integrity of the structure is also dependent upon the unifying moral grout – those tiny pieces of paper filled with trusting expressions of the soul, prayers and tears, questions and hopes, requests and dreams sustain the great Jerusalem stones. As if in unison with the worshipers bowing and bending before it, the wall, too, physically slants eastward, as though in deference to the Holy of Holies it once hosted. The stones and the people are interlocked in one destiny – past, present and future. They sustain each other; they need each other. But when the integrity of the grout is corrupted, can the house that God built still stand?
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Whether you love Obama or hate him, his note to God written on stationery from the King David Hotel deserved respect, privacy and sanctity. Not everything today has to be a YouTube moment. And though we have become a voyeuristic, real-time TV society, nowhere by means of that reality TV acculturation have we earned the right to know everything about everyone. There are some things that must still remain private and sacred. Perhaps the next acceptable will be films of Bush at the proctologist or Hillary Clinton at the gynecologist. This breech of trust regarding Obama's note in the wall is equally violative, and by merit of its purported sanctity, profoundly worse. I refuse to read the contents of his letter, and I feel all should do the same. Ma'ariv should be banned by its readers for at least a week, and the student responsible for taking the note from the wall should be thrown out of the seminary and thrown out of Israel. His actions are unforgivable, inexcusable and thoroughly unJewish and sacrilegious. Obama's note was for God's eyes, not ours. I give due praise to the Fox News for refusing to divulge the contents of the note without consent from the Obama camp. As much as I wouldn't want to see Obama as the next president, this act is a betrayal not just of the senator but to all Jews, to the sacredness of the Kotel and to all of humanity who looks eastward for truth and righteous. Whether his note to God called for the end of the Jewish state or requested a cure for erectile dysfunction, it's none of our business. I'm embarrassed for my people, and I personally apologize to Obama for the hurt and violation he must feel.
And if Obama ends up being the next president of the United States, what trust will he have in the Jewish people or in Israelis if they violate the deepest link to their own existence. Jews are now in a period called the three weeks in which they mourn the destruction of the Temple. Today we must mourn twofold, for this time we destroyed the temple wall with our own hands. Jews around the world must cry out against this misdeed just as they do when Israel's enemies violate our holy places.
Israel's enemies may be conducting a war of attrition upon Israel's borders, but it seems that Israel itself is conducting its own internal war of attrition against itself. How can the House of David ever hope to stand again when we ourselves are chiseling away at the moral grout which defines us. Why is this happening? I believe it is a trickle-down effect from a failing, corrupt Israeli leadership. Israelis have no one to look up to anymore.
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We have been led to the Promised Land, but who therein is leading us now?
Is the Promised Land still the land of promise? It is unconscionable that there has hardly been an Israeli leader in the past few years who has not been involved in a scandal. Israel's leadership while caught up in power trips must not forget that the kavod, the honor, to be leader comes with the kaved, the burden and the weight of doing the right thing – for the sake of Israelis, for the sake of Jews, for the sake of humanity. They must get a handle on scandal. I deeply believe that if our leadership would morally stand strong for something, their people would not fall to such base behaviors.
Israel has so much of which to be proud. It built a desert country, one seedling at a time, into one of the most technologically advanced countries on the globe. Today, it has more companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange than any other country in the world. But that is not enough. As the Israeli economy goes north, we cannot allow everything else we stand for to go south. As Jews, as mensches, as the chosen people, our morals and integrity cannot equivocate like share prices fluctuating in the stock market. Our leaders must re-embrace integrity, and our people must follow suit and engage in acts which are Jew-worthy and serve to fortify the House of David, not destroy it. Guard your holy places my people, starting with the decency within.
Aliza Davidovit is a writer, author, journalist and former TV producer with a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. She specializes in interviewing and writing about the world's most famous and influential people for cover stories. She worked at ABC News "20/20" for six years with Connie Chung and in the ABC News Terrorism/Investigations Unit with John Miller. She was also an associate producer and booker at the Fox News Channel. Davidovit hosts her own popular website. The views expressed herein are entirely her own and do not reflect necessarily the sentiments of any of the publications to which she contributes.