September 27th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

Breaking Yom Kippur fast, American Jews talk Obama, Netanyahu

By Dana Garrett, CNN

(CNN) - As Jews gathered together at sundown Wednesday to break the Yom Kippur fast, in some homes it wasn’t just food that was being shared, but also opinion on the rising tension between the leaders of the United States and Israel over the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke Thursday before the U.N. General Assembly in New York, has been pressing the U.S. administration to establish a clear “red line” that, if crossed by Iran, would signal military intervention.

President Barack Obama has rejected that idea, saying there’s still time for sanctions to work while insisting that the United States will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

The two leaders were in New York this week for the annual gathering of world leaders, but Obama declined to meet with his Israeli counterpart.

For Carol Barash, an educator and an Obama supporter who hosted a break fast at her South Orange, New Jersey home, the president was justified in not meeting Netanyahu. She said the Israeli prime minister is acting like a bully and that “the United States can’t be pushed around by anyone.”

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The tough talk comes amid and, some have argued, because of a close presidential race in which Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney want to appeal to Jewish voters.

Jews make up about 2% of the U.S. population. In some years, because of their high voter turnout, they have made up more than 2% of the electorate. Their votes could be critical in a key state like Florida, where Jews make up 4.6% of the population.

At Barash’s break fast and another such meal in New Jersey on Wednesday night, the opinions about Netanyahu’s red lines fell, not surprisingly, along party lines.

For Arthur Schechner, a Republican Romney supporter in West Orange, New Jersey, Obama is not taking the Iranian threat seriously enough, likening Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a “mad dog” in Israel’s backyard.

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"Netanyahu is right. He has a problem on his hands of major, major proportions and he needs some help,” he said at the break fast at his home, which included about 30 guests for a sit-down meal.

Schechner says Obama should have met with the Israeli leader in New York: “I think he should show the world that the two countries are standing toe to toe.”

Schechner’s son Michael agreed, saying the time had passed for diplomacy and sanctions. “I think it’s time for action, for something to be done.”

For Barash, who hosted about 15 guests for a light buffet meal of sandwiches, salad, challah bread and regelach, Obama’s measured approach is the right way to go. “He’s talking to everyone, he’s considering all the positions,” she said. “He certainly is not going to fire first and aim second,” she said.

Her friend Peter Shapiro, a businessman and Obama supporter, says the U.S. cannot be tolerant of Iran, but says Obama has handled the situation properly.

“He has built an international coalition, he’s succeeded in building an embargo against Iran that’s unprecedented,” Shapiro said. “He’s moved the position against Iran way further than it was when he came into office.”

Jewish voters typically vote for Democrats. In 2008, Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote. Mitt Romney has tried to capitalize on tensions between the president and Netanyahu, accusing Obama of not doing enough to help Israel.

But it may be that the increased tension is only serving to solidify the party lines. The Obama supporters at Carol Barash’s home all gave a hearty “yes” when asked if the president had been a good friend of Israel.

“It only makes me a stronger supporter of Obama because there’s so much going on in the Middle East that could explode at any second,” Barash said. “I think the most important thing for the American president right now is just to have a level head in a storm.”

She says Obama has shown that he’s willing to act, when necessary, “but he’s not going to escalate this to a crisis just because Romney and Netanyahu are trying to goad him. And I think that’s good, I think that’s what we need.”

While Israel is not the top priority in who gets his vote, Peter Shapiro said it was a factor and that his support of Israel leads him to support the President. “I think Obama has the right course of action, the right policies for Israel’s long term survival…as a democratic and Jewish state.”

For Schechner, the Romney supporter, the Republican candidate will be a stronger political ally to Israel: “He has pledged to move the embassy to Jerusalem the first day of his presidency. I hope that what he says he will carry out.”

His dad, Arthur, says he’ll vote Republican because his No.1 concern is the economy, but hopes Romney will also be a closer friend to Israel. “Obama has not been a good friend to Israel so I’m anxious to give someone else a chance.”

With that, Schechner offered up a piece of advice perhaps both the Israeli and U.S. leaders could use. “A wise word,” he said, “is no substitute for a good piece of pickled herring.”

–CNN's Poppy Harlow contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Judaism • Politics

soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. Iqbal Khan


    October 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  2. Iqbal Khan


    September 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  3. rulierose

    the whole Israeli-Palestinian thing is very simple, and Mitt Romney stated it correctly: as long as the Palestinians want the destruction of Israel rather than their own state, there will never be peace. when the Pals agree that Israel has a right to exist as a sovereign Jewish nation, and stop their cult of terrorism and martyrdom, there will be peace.

    Israel doesn't want to build walls and checkpoints, they HAVE TO because too many innocent citizens–many of them children–were being killed. the world mourns the death of every Palestinian child, but Israeli children are considered expendable. it's atrocious.

    the Palestinians can have a state–it just can't be Israel. most reasonable people see this.

    as for the liberal "Jews" who think that Obama is somehow Israel's BFF: may they never live to see how wrong they are.

    September 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Elbonian

      The problem is that the Palestinian people do not speak with a single voice. Large groups have already acknowledged the right of Israel to exist. Other large groups (particularly Hamas in Gaza) have not and perhaps never will. So, basically, Israel is using Gaza as an excuse to slice and dice the West Bank into separated small areas of Palestinians who are all effectively in prison camps even though most people living in the West Bank just want to live in peace and not be attacked regularly by Israeli settlers.

      All of which has nothing to do with Iran. The USA rightly believes that it doesn't want another middle-East war, and the majority of Americans support the idea of avoiding war if there is any way to do so. Netanyahu is a bully, and he is probably engaged in his own pre-election posturing right now as Israel will vote sometime next year. We should not be starting a war with Iran for Netanyahu's benefit.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Paul II

      @Elbo, you are incorrect about something. Both HAMAS *and* the PA have said they would never accept israel as a jewish state. Israel is therefore not using hamas as an excuse to slice and dice. If the Palestinians are so desperate why aren't they clamoring for peace?

      October 1, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Thinker23

      Elbo... Can you elaborate a bit? I'm interested to know HOW exactly will Netanyahu benefit from a war with Iran... if you don't mind, of course.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things.

    September 29, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 29, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Jubal

      Atheism is a belief system that seeks to justify a blind faith in mathematical impossibilities. Now, blind faith is something that everyone has a right to hold close to themselves. The single advantage that a 'biblical' faith has is that it provides a series of specific moral guidelines. Those pesky 'Thou Shalt Not' things. Without those mile markers in one's life, it is easy to get lost in a forest of moral relativism and situational ethical decisions. Some call that condition 'flip-flopping.' With respect to children, no guidelines is a scary way to develop.

      September 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • mike w

      Jubal – you are full of sh it. An idiotic misconception from religious tards is that they are the only people with morals, that morals originated with them. Both of those ideas are complete fiction.

      September 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!-.

      October 1, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Thinker23

      @Mike... Calling others 'idiots' proves beyond reasonable doubt that you're unable to produce anything better than insults.

      Jesus... I HAVE A PROOF that prayer changes things. When I was a student I've prayed prior to every test and I've passed with flying colors.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I guess that just means you think you're special enough to your god that prayer would get you to have good test scores, but god will continue to let children around the world starve, get kidnapped, raped, and all sorts of horrific things, but it's a priority that you get good grades. Talk about arrogance.
      Another explanation could be, you were calmer after praying, and did better on the test because having a calm demeanor can be demonstrably better for test taking than being nervous.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  5. Psalms

    David prophesied:

    I say: If only I had wings like a dove that I might fly away and find rest.
    FAR AWAY I would flee; I would stay in the DESERT.
    I would thus find a shelter from the raging Wind and Storm! (Psalms 55)

    Children of Israel,
    Hearken to the voice of David above, and go and find his long awaited and anticipated Descendant
    in that DESERT (that is FAR AWAY from Israel now)
    if you want to protect yourself from that raging Wind and Storm that is coming upon Israel and all that Region, as David thus clearly pointed out above.


    September 29, 2012 at 1:03 am |
  6. Iqbal Khan



    Dear Bibi Netanyahu: Do you really want a RED LINE?
    How’s your historical memory Bibi? A little refresher may be in order. In 1962 the U.N. condemned Apartheid and called on nations to end economic and political relations with South Africa. When the South Africans continued creating Bastustans and defying international law in 1974 the U.N. suspended the membership of South Africa though the Americans vetoed expulsion. Oh yes, let’s not forget, Apartheid South Africa was a close ally of Israel and Israel was clandestinely helping that racist state build nuclear weapons until 1994!

    Get the message Bibi? Maybe it’s time for the nations of the world to give Israel a bright Red Line? No juvenile white board and magic marker is needed!

    Stop defying U.N. Security Council Resolutions – Israel is the worst offender in history!
    Stop building illegal Jews-only Settlements – Israel constantly violates international law and international agreements!
    Stop building the illegal Wall – the International Court of Justice has clearly ruled!
    Stop threatening and planning to attack countries – only the U.N. Security Council has such authorization!
    Stop your Apartheid-like policies – actually much worse than Apartheid ever was!
    Stop blackmailing the U.S. with your powerful Israeli Lobby – a backlash is already underway and you are endangering Jews everywhere as well as Israelis!
    Stop the Judaization of Jerusalem and allow any and all persons, most especially Palestinians as well as Jews, to freely live there, build there, and come and go at all times.
    Share this: EmailFacebook3Twitter1
    « Ahmadinijad is Right!

    Date : September 28, 2012

    Categories : Blogroll, Israel, Middle East, Palestine, U.S. Policy

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    Mark Bruzonsky

    September 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Reality

      Israel's formation was approved by the UN in 1948. It should honor the original UN agreement and live within the described borders. Considering the hate generated by passages in the koran and OT, erecting dividing walls between Muslims and Jews should continue. UN forces should control these walls.

      And Jerusalem should be made into an international city under the control and protection of the UN.

      September 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  7. Reality

    Putting the kibosh on all religions :

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    September 28, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.

      hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, ignorant, what proof do you have to substantiate your hinduism, absurdity.

      September 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Theen Allah Fat Mullah (the original hinduism source.....)

      @Hindu Whatever Paki turd, Moron ism, absurdity of a Theen A, turd ism of a goon, ignorant, what proof do you have to substantiate your filth, absurdity. For more visit goons in the hood.com click on JunnatForTools to open file.

      September 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Reality... Can you explain the reasons you beleive that there was no Abraham or Moses? You did not see them? In this case you may consider that I did not see YOU and may, therefore, conclude that YOU do not exist.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Reality

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      September 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Reality... Rabbi Volpe did not live 5,000 years ago at the times of Abraham and Moses. Therefore, his opinion about their existence is as good as mine.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
  8. hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.


    According to book of Mithra ism savior ism called bible, factious figure claimed to be like Jonah,
    Jonah jumped in to sea, JONAH WAS ALIVE
    Jonah was swollen by fish, JONAH WAS ALIVE
    In the belly of fish, JONAH WAS ALIVE.
    Fish spitted out Jonah on beach, JONAH WAS ALIVE.

    According to book of hindu Mithra sim, savior ism, Christianity bible factious figure Jesus trans figured in to another person on front of his dispels. By account of book of hindu Mithra ism, bible factious figure Jesus was arrested by Romans for pesictution at his last supper by information given by Judas, but as they claim, factious Jesus kissed Judas with smile and Judas smile in return,

    FOR TRUTH ABOUT BOOK OF HINDUISM, RACISM CALLED BIBLE PLEASE VISIT limit is the truth.com and click on word Choice to open file on website.

    September 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Theen Allah Fat Mullah (the original hinduism source.....)

      Theen A ism, absurdity of Goons to fool humanity. To become an expert on Moron ism, select my filth, use control-C, and then use control-V. For more visit FreeSpeechKillsIslam.com and click on Jihad to open file on website.

      September 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  9. Bill

    Iran plans on developing and deploying a nuke, but it's likely first target is the UNITED STATES not Israel, Israel is the "little satan" according to the Iranians, the US is the "GREAT SATAN" Obama will NEVER let a rogue nation develop a nuke, he will destroy Iran just like he attacked and destroyed North Korea when they tried to develop a nuke, oh, wait he sat on his ass on that one...(And depending on who you believe, so did Bush...)

    September 28, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • sanityguest

      Iran does not, will not and cannot have a missile capable of reaching the US, whether it builds a nuke or not. So Israel is the number one target.

      September 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Sanityguest... You should recall that the first (and ONLY) atomic bombs that wee actually USED against any enemy were delivered using an airplane. You may also recall that the 9/11 terrorists used commercial airliners as deadly missiles. Now you may these two and (hopefully) you may arrive to a conclusion that Iranian nuclear bombs can be delivered to the US using some alternative to an ICBM (for example, a commercial airliner). You may further realize that there are other alternatives (for example, a ship carrying intermediate range missiles with nuclear warheads) as well.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  10. inachu

    Imagine this will eb played out just like in the videos above on USA soil in the near future only because the jewish voice trumps USA international concerns and controls them by proxy. If Genocide war crims have no time limit then lets go after teh jewish families who committed Genocide on the people who were living in the land called israel before the jews invaded israel and moved in. That was the very first Biblical recorded genocide and the israel people are pround of that genocide like wearing a badge of honor. If the jews are so proud of that genocide in Israel then Germans can be proud of theirs.

    September 28, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  11. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

    Saw this some years ago on another blog:

    "American Muslims agree to leave the United States in a one-for-one exchange for Jews from Israel. Problem solved!"

    And considering 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis have concluded that as far as one knows or can tell Abraham and Moses did not exist gives added credence for leaving the no longer "holy" land. ...

    September 28, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 28, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 28, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  13. Sony Bozo & Chair

    RePUBICons' foreign policy: outsource jobs to China, outsource diplomacy to Israel 😉

    September 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  14. jp

    During the next major Israeli crisis situation, the US is meant to stand on the side lines, and the President’s position is in consonance with that. The President would win re-election if this has to fulfill.

    The Arab spring is not a random event in history, a means to an end; the ultimate aim being joining forces for the destruction of Israel. If Iran can get hold of a nuclear weapon, they are going to use it for sure against Israel, no matter how much consequences they might suffer.

    September 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      I sort of agree. If Iran gets a nuke, it will be used against israel, theres no question, I don't think the Arab Spring has a lot to do with it though. The problem with the Arab spring is that the media and others are boxing the upheaval going on in the Middle East under a single term even though what happened in Tunis is completely different than Egypt, or Libya, or Syria or any other surrounding countries.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • hinduMithraism Christianity baseofhindufilthyracism.

      No one deserve a Nuke more than hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, denier's of truth absolute, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  15. Iqbal Khan

    Israel Lobbyist Hints That 'Pearl Harbor' May be Needed to Get US Into War with Iran

    By Maidhc Ó Cathail

    "If in fact the Iranians aren't going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war."

    September 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  16. Iqbal Khan

    In Case You Missed It
    Bended Knees: Zionist Power in American Politics

    By James Petras

    We should demystify Zionist claims that the Jews' ancestral homeland is Israel, rather then North Africa and Central Asia, and that there is no historic basis for the Right of Return.

    September 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  17. Iqbal Khan

    US Refused Iran Nuclear Offer

    By Gareth Porter

    Iran has again offered to halt its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, which the United States has identified as its highest priority in the nuclear talks, in return for easing sanctions against Iran.

    September 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  18. Rick

    Sam, you seem desperate.

    September 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  19. Sam Yaza

    these are all victims are Christians in this video, in Bethlehem no less, your own people, in the land of you Messiahs birth.


    are you blind

    September 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • mama kindless

      I'm an atheist, but Sam shows the truth about this. I've had other sources – people that have been there more than once. Some Christians die just because the Israelis have made it too difficult when they need to get to a hospital for instance. (The myriad of checkpoints and walls make daily life pretty difficult.) Israeli troops also seem to take pleasure in destroying the little crops that are all that some of the Christians have – like olive trees, for instance. They'll do whatever they can to try to convince the Christians there to give up and leave there land to them. Many of these Christians have been there many generations. Yes, this is right in the holy land. I feel for what the Israelis are up against with terrorism, but to practice on and make life unbearable for the christians in the holy land is disp!cable. Some of those Christians there are educators who will selflessly do anything to educate the children there regardless of their religion, ethnicity or background.

      September 27, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • mama kindless

      typo correction on my post:
      their land, not there land

      September 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Thinker23

      For starters, there are no Israeli soldiers in Bethlehem for several years now. The town of Bethlehem is governed by the Palestinian Authority and it is THEIR responsibility to care about medical services for the population, either Christian or Muslim.. Further, the majority of the population in Bethlehem is Muslim since most of the Christians left the town after it was transferred to the Palestinians.

      September 28, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • mama kindless

      I'm not sure if you ("Thinker23") are addressing me or the videos, but to be clear, my post is about the West Bank barrier:

      In a 2005 report, the United Nations stated that: ...it is difficult to overstate the humanitarian impact of the Barrier. The route inside the West Bank severs communities, people’s access to services, livelihoods and religious and cultural amenities.

      Before the barrier was completed, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel stated that the barrier "harms West Bank health". Upon completion of the construction, the organizations predict, the barrier would prevent over 130,000 Palestinian children from being immunised, and deny more than 100,000 pregnant women (out of which 17,640 are high risk pregnancies) access to healthcare in Israel. In addition, almost a third of West Bank villages will suffer from lack of access to healthcare. After completion, many residents may lose complete access to emergency care at night. In towns near Jerusalem (Abu Dis and al-Eizariya), for example, average time for an ambulance to travel to the nearest hospital has increased from 10 minutes to over 110 minutes. A report from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel states that the barrier imposes "almost-total separation" on the hospitals from the population they are supposed to serve. I know some people (Christians) that first-handedly had relative die because of that increase in travel time.

      The Red Cross has declared the barrier in violation of the Geneva Convention. On February 18, 2004, The International Committee of the Red Cross stated that the Israeli barrier "causes serious humanitarian and legal problems" and goes "far beyond what is permissible for an occupying power".

      On February 20, 2004 the World Council of Churches demanded that Israel halt and reverse construction on the barrier and strongly condemned "violations of human rights and humanitarian consequences" that resulted from the construction of the barrier. While acknowledging Israel's serious security concerns and asserting that the construction of the barrier on its own territory would not have been a violation of international law, the statement called on "member Churches, Ec umenical Councils of Churches, Christian World Communions and specialized ministries of churches to condemn the wall as an act of unlawful annexation."

      The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) estimates that in the north of the West Bank approximately 80 per cent of Palestinians who own land on the other side of the barrier have not received permits from the Israeli authorities, and hence cannot cultivate their fields.

      September 28, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Thinker23

      mama kindless... I'm sorry to disappoint you but Israel is A SOVEREIGN STATE and has every right to defend its borders by creating walls, barries, etc. I'm sure that you as well as the Red Cross and other groups and organizations you've mentioned would be very much amazed to discover that almost EVERY STATE on this planet is protecting its borders, especially so during a war. In addition, I can say that as long as the majority of Palestinians and their democratically elected leaders are willing the war to continue it will continue and more Palestinians will be killed. If and when the Palestinians will produce a leadership ABLE AND WILLING to stop violence, recognize Israel and NEGOTIATE a peace agreement Israel will gladly agree. The resulting peace agreement will define the exact borders of the still non-existing Palestinian state and the terms Israelis will withdraw from the lands within these borders. As a result, not a single Israeli soldier or civilian will remain in the Palestinian state and the Palestinians will be free to remove (or create) any walls, barriers and other things they will or will not like there.

      September 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Sam Yaza


      September 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      just google occupied Bethlehem Thinker23 and you will see your statement is untrue

      September 28, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • mama kindless

      @Thinker23: I didn't say Israel didn't have a right to defend itself, now did I? I didn't say Israel wasn't a sovereign state, now did I? But there are good ways and not-so-good ways to plan and implement things so that you aren't acting like a bull in a china shop. Israel was warned about how and how not to go about the wall project and they pretty much ignored the U.N. and everyone else. Interrupted services of all kinds and made it then forever difficult to do things like get to a hospital. Positioned things in a way that people would be cut off from water. Terrorized olive farmers to get them to give up their land. Many Christian families got caught in the middle of all that. At the time it was being constructed, there were even quite a number of Israeli's not happy with how it was being built. Not everyone who lives or lived near the wall were enemies amongst the Palestinians and the Israeli's.

      So I'm sorry to disappoint you, but your generalizations do little to address or learn from the harm that has already been done by this. It's like you glossed over some headlines and decided you were an expert on the subject. Huh. Yeah – that kind of "thinker".

      September 29, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Thinker23

      Mama kindless... With all due respect IT IS ISRAEL who has to deal with Palestinian terrorists. Therefore, IT'S UP TO ISRAEL to decide how to do it. The very fact that the Palestinians are willing the war to continue means that they're happy with its results, including the occupation, the security wall/fence, the ckeckposts and everything else they love to complain about. If it was not the case they would NEGOTIATE A BETTER DEAL long ago. They had plenty of opportunities.

      October 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  20. Sam Yaza


    this could have been worse if an American wasn't there.

    September 27, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.