The JC Leader: Facts and figures...Not free in Israel

The Jewish Chronicle Leader column, May 12 2017

May 12, 2017 13:06

Facts and figures

Three years ago, the Lancet, the prestigious medical journal, published an open letter accusing Israel of war crimes. Outrageous as the accusation was, it was not in the least bit surprising; in recent years the Lancet has had a track record of anti-Israel bile.

This month’s issue of the journal, however, is a special issue — devoted to extolling the virtues of the Israeli health system.It is guest edited by an eminent doctor from Ben-Gurion University, so one would expect it to be free of the usual Israel-hate.

But the very fact that he was asked to edit the issue is itself noteworthy. In the wider scheme of things, the Lancet’s previous bias was hardly Israel’s greatest problem. Yet this story surely has a wider symbolism.

When knee-jerk hostility to Israel is met with dispassionate facts and evidence, it can — as in this case — have a real impact. The Lancet may return to its previous stance, but its eyes have been opened

Not free in Israel

In that context, and for all our support for Israel, it is important not to be blind to its faults.

This week we highlight the case of Zvia Gordetsky, who has been refused a get for 17 years. Now she is on hunger strike outside the Knesset after the shelving of a bill that would allow the state to annul the marriages of such ‘chained’ women. We also highlight Israel’s marriage rules, which do not recognise any weddings carried out in Israel unless they are conducted by the Orthodox authorities.

Israel portrays itself as a modern, free nation. In almost every respect it is. But Israel’s allies have to confront the fact that the political powers that the religious parties are able to exercise undermine this claim.

May 12, 2017 13:06

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