Feb 28, 2011

Interesting Psak: Chessed To Palestinians

Rav Yuval Cherlo was asked an interesting question that deals with doing chessed and providing assistance to Palestinians.

The question asked was a clinician in the audio department of Tel HaShomer Hospital. She said there is a project they are embarking on to install hearing aids to those in need in the Palestinian Authority. She wants to know if she can be a part of the project.

Her doubt is because she does not know if it is right to help out people who are the enemy of Israel, while on the other hand her participation would give a tremendous amount of experience in this field. As well, the project will be publicized, and she does not know how it will be accepted among the Israeli public.

Rav Cherlo responded to each point:

  1. Do we want to deepen the level of hatred? Can we not perform a humanitarian act to people who suffer, even in the Palestinian Authority?
  2. Being aware of the fact that they are the enemy, I am also aware, Rav Cherlo says, that an absurd situation could come of this where these hearing aids will be installed in someone who performed acts of terror against Israel. Not ignoring that fact, from a practical perspective, it is our duty to try to accomplish 2 things at the same time - fighting against terror, defending ourselves, attacking those who wish to kill us, and at the same time search for a way to bring down the level of hatred. This act will not decrease our ability to fight against terror, but it will possibly plant other seeds.
  3. The question of how it will look to the Israeli public is secondary. There is no such thing as the "Israeli public". There are those who will attack you for cooperating with the enemy, and there are those who will embrace you and call you a seeker of peace and bring you to their fold of people willing to destroy the settlements. Both are very upsetting - those who will praise you and those who will attack. The most important thing is to do the right thing, to go with your truth, even at a heavy public price. 
Rav Cherlo says as a caveat that this answer is only a general set of principles, and the person must be sure she is not being taken advantage of for some other purpose of which she might not be aware of.

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