Ever since Hebrew University Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell was wounded by a pipe bomb in front of his Jerusalem home last week, there has been a wide-ranging debate – not all of it polite and courteous – within Israel about the act’s alleged perpetrators and the people who may be behind them. Just today, Knesset Member Ophir Pines-Paz of Labor-Meimad (more on Meimad in a moment) said: “There are violent forces operating within Israel.”
Last week, a delegation from Meimad, the small, religious and politically moderate party, paid a visit to Sternhell at his home to show its support. Among those pictured in a photo in the Jerusalem Post were Rabbi Dr. Ariel Picard, director of the Hartman Institute’s Center for Education. Picard is a key figure in Meimad.
Today, on Tzom Gedaliah, an annual fast day that commemorates the assassination of Gedaliah Ben Achikam, the Governor of Israel during the days of the Babylonian exile, a group of religious moderates, including some from the Hartman Institute, are planning a prayer vigil at Sternhell’s home. It’s an appropriate day to do this. According to the Orthodox Union website, “As a result of Gedaliah’s death the final vestiges of Judean autonomy after the Babylonian conquest were destroyed, many thousands of Jews were slain, and the remaining Jews were driven into final exile.” It’s a good time to think about Jewish solidarity and togetherness, despite our differences.