Op-Ed: Should the People of Israel Become the Jews of Silence?
50 years ago, Elie Wiesel, then a little known Israeli news correspondent in the US. wrote a book that shook the soul of a generation: THE JEWS OF SILENCE. Wiesel described two kinds of of silence: Jews in the Diaspora who were silent about the fate of their brethren in the USSR and the Jews who were silenced in the USSR itself.
At Akiba, the high school I attended in Philadelphia, our student council asked Wiesel to speak for the school commencement ceremony for the class of 1967 , the year before I graduated. And Wiesel did speak - on the night of June 6, 1967, the 2nd night of the Six Day War, following a three week siege permeated with Arab threats of total destruction which frightened the Jewish world to its very soul.
Wiesel tossed out his prepared text, and addressed “an Israel that stood alone” in May 1967.
“Where was France, Israel's only ally”?, Wiesel asked. Wiesel said that the moments of trepidation in May 1967 brought him back to World War II. when Jews stood alone and to the fate of his family in the crematoria - when no one cared, and when few spoke out when it counted. Wiesel's message that night was that the Jews are indeed alone. which meant that they cannot be silent in the face of overwhelming odds..
Fast foreward 47 years: A nascent entity has emerged on Israel's frontiers, carved out of the PLO - the Palestine Liberation Organization- created by the Arab League in 1964 to galvanize local Arabs to liberate 'Palestine', all of 'Palestine', under the war whoop of the "right of return" - and by force of arms.
Twenty years ago, with the launch of the peace process and the Palestinian Authority, one could not discern that the message of the PA was one of peace. But the people of Israel hoped for the best, because this was called a "peace process".
Why is this Passover different from any other Passover for the past 20 years?
Because now, all bets are off. The PA does not mask its genocidal purpose, to wipe out the state of of Israel and to replace it with an Arab Palestine.
All you have to do is to watch PA TV, listen to PA radio, read PA newspapers peruse PA school books and follow all publc statements of the PA. Most people in Israel prefer not to see the PA as it is. Most people do not even know that the Arab League pioneered the creation of the PLO to join the continuing 1948 war to exterminate the entity that is Israel.
The people of Israel do not have a peace partner.
It would seem that some people, even when they are sober, cannot tell the difference between Mordecai & Haman. Perhaps that is the reason why Purim and Pesach are obligatory. On both festival days, Jews cope with the reality that in every generation, there are those who really want to exterminate the Jews.
To paraphrase Wiesel, God does not want the people of Israel to become "Jews of Silence".