Judaism: Our Sages Predicted the World's Attitude to Israel
Michael LinetskyThe writer is director of the Torat Eretz Yisrael Institute (www.torateretzyisrael.org).
Jews all over the world are aware of the unusual hostility harbored by the Nations towards our people and our Country. Still, it surprised many Jews to see the hatred spewed at Israel and the Jewish people in response to the current military operation against a terrorist organization that has launched incessant rockets against Israeli civilians.
Nevertheless, our long history among the Nations has also been studded with periods of neutrality or even positivism.
When the attitudes of the Nations towards the Jewish People are good, we experience a sense of relief. If they have even one good word to say about us we feel great pride and complacency. But when their attitudes towards us are not so good, some of us wonder what we can do to make them see who we really are.
The Talmud can show us the efficacy of such attempts.
Rabbi Hiyya in the name of Rabbi Hosha’ya notes that at the outset Pharoah tells Joseph: “In the choicest land settle your father and brothers” (Genesis 47:6) but in the end: “and they embittered them with difficult work with mortar and bricks” (Exodus 1:14) (Talmud Eretz Yisrael, Pesachim 2:5)
Egypt, a symbol of our relations with the Nations of the World, at first showed us great hospitality. Pharaoh offered Joseph the best land for his father and brothers to settle in. But in the end the true nature of Egypt prevailed. The new Pharoah who had no special affinity for Joseph acted out his nature.
The Sages of the Land of Israel teach us here that it is a given that the Nations, just like Egypt, are ill-inclined towards the Jewish People. When the Nations unite against us without any provocation it is because they are acting out their nature.
May God protect us from our enemies' procilivities and foil their plans against us!