The nuclear threat is growing [pg.16]

What should American Jews do?

By OR N. ROSE
June 12, 2006 21:46
3 minute read.

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The threat of nuclear weapons is once again a part of the American consciousness. Terrorist groups are seeking to acquire unsecured weapons and mercurial nations like Iran and North Korea want to join the nuclear club. Military experts warn of the possibility of a nuclear strike on an American target within the next 10 years. What are we to do? How should the American Jewish community respond to these developments? Earlier this spring, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin - one of the great religious activists of the 20th century - died. From his deathbed, Coffin convened a group of national religious leaders to help revitalize the nuclear disarmament movement. I joined Faithful Security because I believe that it is sinful to live ain a world in which human beings can destroy God's creation in a matter of minutes. In the Book of Genesis, God places Adam in the garden of Eden in order that he should "till and tend" (2:15) the land. Responsible stewardship of the earth is an obligation that applies to all human beings. While I am not so naive as to think that we will achieve nuclear abolition any time soon, to strive for it is, I believe, a religious duty. There are several steps that can be taken to reduce the threat of a nuclear catastrophe and to move toward the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons: • Lock Down: World leaders must work more diligently at locking down the many loose nuclear weapons and materials scattered across the world. At present, only 40 percent to 50 percent of the weapons in the former Soviet Union have been secured. Russia, with assistance from the United States, must complete this task as soon as possible. I shudder at the thought of al-Qaida or some other rogue group obtaining an unsecured weapon or nuclear materials. As former US senator Sam Nunn said in 2004, "We are in a race between catastrophe and cooperation." A related security concern is the fact that today the presidents of the United States and Russia have only a few minutes to decide whether to launch a nuclear attack based on early-warning signals. A false warning could lead to a global calamity. This is particularly frightening because the Russian signal system has eroded since the end of the Cold War. To defuse this situation, all nuclear powers should remove their weapons from hair-trigger alerts. • Reduce: Instead of keeping thousands of weapons in service or storage, the United States and Russia should dismantle them. When these stocks reach a few hundred each, other countries like Britain, France and China should follow suit. In this context, we must also consider at what point Israel might join this initiative. The time has come for Israeli and American Jewish leaders to discuss this issue in an open and honest manner. Even if we believe that Israel has no choice but to maintain its nuclear weapons program for years to come, doing so is clearly a necessary evil - one that as Jews, we cannot live with forever. • Freeze: World leaders must place a permanent ban on the development of new nuclear weapons. Again, the United States and Russia must lead by example. How can we possibly dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons if we continue to expand our arsenals? Such hypocrisy only serves to further motivate non-nuclear states to develop their arms. To quote Coffin, "Mahatma Gandhi once said that a fat person cannot speak persuasively to a skinny person about the virtues of not overeating." For those who have grown cynical and do not believe that we can have an impact on the nuclear weapons debate, consider the fact that in 2005, various secular and religious groups lobbied successfully to eliminate funding from the federal budget for the "bunker buster" - a weapon 70 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. During this moment of renewed danger, let us recommit ourselves to the core Jewish values of peace and justice by working to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. "Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; establish the work of our hands" (Psalm 90:17). The writer, director of informal education at the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College, is a founding member of Faithful Security. www.faithfulsecurity.org - JTA

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN