For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
(A different presentation on what took place the other day and could bear further inspection. Y)
Several readers have asked me why Israel apologized to Turkey’s government about a recent incident. The Turkish ambassador to Israel (who is a very good guy) was summoned to hear Israel’s complaints about some of the Turkish government’s latest slanders against Israel. He was seated lower than Israel’s deputy foreign minister and there was no Turkish flag on the table. I’m sure there was no intent to insult him or Turkey but it became a big diplomatic issue.
So how does Israel view Turkey right now? Let me begin by saying that there is absolutely no illusion about the nature of the Turkish government and its hostility to Israel. The problem does not stem from specific Israeli actions but from the ideological and political direction of the semi-Islamist regime in Turkey.
That doesn’t mean that the Gaza or other issues are of no importance. There were frictions between the two countries in the past. But the key factor is that the current Turkish government is systematically anti-Israel. By the way, previous Turkish governments were sympathetic to the Palestinians generally but the current regime is sympathetic to Hamas as an ally. It has also moved very close to Hizballah, Iran, and Syria. At the same time, in contrast to its predecessors, the current Turkish government does not view Israel as an ally. (I’d question whether, at least in its private thinking, it views America as an ally either.)
So if everyone in Israel's government understands how hostile the Turkish regime is, why is it working so hard to patch up relations to the greatest extent possible?
1. There is no sense in making the quarrel worse than it is. Israel does not want to give the Turkish regime excuses for more hostility.
2. Especially important is the conviction that the conflict should remain as much as possible between governments and not between nations. As one Turk put it: remember Israel’s problem with Turkey is with the captain and crew, not the passengers. Israel is aware that Turks are very patriotic so any hint of blaming or insulting "Turkey" must be avoided. One day, it is hoped, there will be another government which can return to a friendly policy toward Israel. There is also a special interest in retaining the best possible relationship with the Turkish armed forces (as well as the many Turkish civilians) which, though their power is greatly reduced, oppose a semi-Islamist Turkey and believe that Iran and Syria still do pose a threat to their country.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"