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Op-Ed: The Goldene Medina

The story of two modern day prophets whose words of warning came true.
Published: Saturday, November 17, 2012 6:00 PM


America, what a country! It was only twenty years ago that Jews still referred to the U.S. as “the golden medina”. And truly it was. A land of opportunity. With hard work and determination one could accomplish just about anything. Anti-Semitism? Sure, there’s always been some of that. As my grandfather used to say, “where there’s a Jew, there’s an anti-Semite”. But things were much different then.
For starters, Jews had great leaders. Visionaries. Torah scholars with unparalleled wisdom and understanding. The great Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kaminetsky, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef at his prime. There was the incomparable Reb Moshe Feinstein, a true giant of Torah scholarship and a master in ‘halakha’ – Jewish jurisprudence. For the lost Jews of the world, the greatness of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the ‘Lubavitcher Rebbe’ taught his disciples how to reach out to Jews in a way never done before.
Add to these giants, a prophet, who like a monkey wrench in an otherwise seemingly smooth running machine, sent parts flying out of whack. Actually there were two prophets in my generation. First, some background: Many who fell victims to the horrors of the Nazis were never able to forgive God. Many accused their Creator of abandoning His children to the hunger of evil wolves. But God is fair. He has always seen fit to send a prophet whose mission is to try to wake up the slumbering Jew. The mission always ends the same way. The prophet becomes the object of hatred and his message, which is really God’s, is repudiated.
Vladimir ‘Ze’ev’ Jabotisnksy was the prophet who travelled from shtetl to shtetl sounding the warning bells of the incoming catastrophe. “Leave, pack your things and leave now!” But community leaders, the heads of the likes of Jewish organizations, together with the little pulpit rabbis saw him as a threat to their position and their hard earned salary. Also in Europe there were many who made six figures by doing a whole lot of nothing for the populace. And they all got together and repudiated this meager prophet. They called him names and sent him away. I wonder if they remembered his face when they stood naked inside the gas chamber… but I digress.
Twenty two years ago, besides those great Torah minds I mentioned before, lived another prophet among us. Both Israel and America were much different than they are today.

In Israel, acts of terror were a seldom occurrence. No cities got fired at, not by rockets and not by snipers. The so-called Palestinians were armed with rocks, and though rocks can kill, they were not remotely as dangerous as the machine guns and mortars used today. Restaurants and buses had never
He warned of buses and restaurants being blown up. Arabs shooting at passing by cars.
experienced a suicide bomber and our enemy, the PLO, was a clearly defined terror organization with whom we were never to negotiate with. You never saw a security guard standing at a restaurant’s door; experienced a bag check to get on a train; or a metal detector at the entrance of the central bus station.

Then came Liberalism. It reared its ugly head with a zealousness never seen before. “Brotherhood, peace, co-existence”, to which politicians replied, “unilateral concessions, appeasement, empowerment!” And the prophet who pulling his own hair out on the face of such stupidity berated them and yelled, “You fools! Can’t you see they hate you?” He warned of buses and restaurants being blown up. Arabs shooting at passing by cars. He spoke of the Arab ambition of taking it all and throwing the Jew into the sea.

"Fascist! Racist!” the liberals yelled back at the prophet. To which the politicians followed by banning him from the Parliament. They made his symbol of a star and fist, illegal. They incarcerated the prophet on trumped-up charges, together with his followers on more than one occasion, together with the few that had the audacity to listen and the courage to stand by him.

Myopic and deaf leaders, similar to those who shielded their positions in Germany, they conspired and killed the prophet. His Torah scholarship was as great as that of the others but what set him apart was his ‘mesirut nefesh’ – his willingness to self-sacrifice for the sake of the Jews. He was killed while speaking in a New York hotel twenty two years ago. He died shortly after begging American Jews to come home, to come to Israel before things turn ugly in the ‘golden medina.’ To my amazement, many thought of him as ‘crazy’, a ‘fool’, and ‘an extremist’. But he was nothing more than God’s mouthpiece; the one He sends before evil strikes: Twenty two years before Obama, the economic collapse and the rise of Islamic fascism.
Rabbi Meir David Kahane, may his name be remembered for a blessing and may his blood be avenged - foretold of this coming era. An era of darkness. In America, there are no more like Rav Soloveitchik, like Reb Moshe, like the Rebbe,. In Israel, we live day by day while those who gave weapons to the Arabs –in the name of peace, of course- still hold on to their positions of power.

Yet we Jews are expected to rise to the call. To gather and say, enough is enough!

So if you are still in America, or in Europe, come home.

And when you walk the streets of Israel and you see the writing on the wall, hear the sirens wail, it simply says – Kahane was right. Just do yourself a favor and do not learn from a liberal as to what he stood for. Learn it from those who actually understood the lesson he died teaching.