Op-Ed: Israel Wishes You a Merry Christmas?
Eytan Meyersdorf, Im TirtzuThe writer is a new immigrant from the USA, served in Golani, and is currently the coordinator of Im Tirtzu at Bar-Ilan University.
“As Christians around the world and in Israel prepare to celebrate Christmas, I want to wish you all the merriest of holidays.”
--Benjamin Netanyahu, December 25
“It is for me a privilege, as president of the State of Israel, to send profound wishes on behalf of all of Israel for a Happy Christmas to the whole Christian world...I wish all Christians everywhere a Happy Christmas.”
– Shimon Peres, December 25.
There is a new tradition developing in Israel – not one rooted in rich Jewish history and customs, rather one rooted in another religion – Christianity.
It has become the accepted politically correct practice and the new Israeli tradition to reach out to the Christian world on their holiday – a seemingly innocent message of peace, love, and tolerance, no doubt, but why do Jews feel the need to seek the approval of the Christians, so much so that we try to find favor in the eyes of a religion that not only we do not believe in, but which professes our religion to be false.
Would the world be in an uproar if Netanyahu did not wish the Christians a Happy Christmas?
Every individual must do what is right in his eyes – one may feel amiss not to wish his friendly Christian co-worker a Merry Christmas, but what about Israel? I was shocked when I saw the Israeli Defense Forces page on Facebook upload a post wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Silence is golden, and when there is no need to speak, why speak?
Why must Israel, a Jewish state founded on Jewish values, voluntarily go out of its way to wish Christians a Happy Christmas?
I understand very well the idea of public diplomacy and the political game, but Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu appealing to the Christian world on their holiday will not change the facts on the ground – rather, there is a deeper reasoning behind the message: Jews suffer from an illness of needing acceptance.
The thought process is simple - if we are kind to those who oppose us, we can be friends; however, history has proved differently. The reality is, we have allies, because it is in their best interest to be our allies, and not because we wish them a Merry Christmas. As a citizen of Israel, I do not approve of my country reaching out to those who have caused us so much suffering throughout our history.
To most, “Merry Christmas” is an innocent, kindly message of togetherness, but I will never forget my grandfather explaining to me what Christmas meant for the Jews in Poland, and the fright and terror they experienced when the Christians would go around wreaking havoc and terror upon the Jewish community on their holiday.
Perhaps the “modern age” of Jewry has forgotten their grandparents' words, but I have not.