Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Truck Donation from Christian Group

First, see, an article on how Interior Minister Eli Yishai refused a donation of fire trucks from a pro-Israel Christian group. Now ask yourself what you feel about this.

So many thoughts go through my mind. While this donation really had nothing to do with the recent forest fire in Israel, the fact that this article was written at this time immediately brings this tragedy in Israel to mind. On one hand, how can we turn down these fire trucks when they are so necessary. Isn't it an issue of piku'ach nefashot? On the other hand, I can also understand the hesitancy in accepting a gift from a Christian group whose agenda, to say the least, is not exactly the same as a Torah agenda. How do you make this call? My mind thinks of the Rav's distinction between a Jewishness of Fate and one of Destiny and this would seem to be an example of a case where these two definitions collide. This is not a simple decision to make and given this reality of this difficulty I find it difficult to critique his decision. It may or may not have been the decision that I would have made but given the judgemental nature of this decision, I must respect his call since he is the one who has the responsibility to make this call.

One thing though does bother me. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, from what I know, is an Orthodox rabbi and I think that should have made a difference. I am not saying that this should have changed the Interior Minister's decision but I do think the Rabbi Eckstein deserved a discussion/consultation/conversation. In that Rabbi Eckstein is within the boundaries of Torah, his position should be respected as such even if the Interior Minister disagreed. I, of course, would also call upon Rabbi Eckstein to respect the decision of the Interior Minister in the same way -- but as two Torah Jews there should have been communication. That lack affects everything.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

1 comment:

ellen said...

Rabbi Hecht, has just issued a report on this matter. Those Jerusalem Post headlines were were erroneous and misleading.

Sources closest to the original JPost "exclusive" revealed that Eli Yishai definitely did not refuse fire truck donations, but rather Eckstein was offended by Yishai's opting out of an IFCJ ceremony and photo-op and "Eckstein said he would have provided more trucks [like those given in the past] but no offer was made because of Yishai's attitude."

Today the Jerusalem Post published a letter to the editor from Jewish Israel.

You can read the report at
and the letter to the editor at