Professor Gerald AranoffThe writer is Professor of Accounting, Ariel University Center of Samaria, Israel.
I cite 3 passages from the biblical Book of Nehemiah apt for us today in our war in Gaza.
1. When Sanballat and Tobiah, and the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that healing had come to the walls of Jerusalem, that the breached parts had begun to be filled, it angered them very much (Nehemiah 4:1).
The commentator Rashi says that: "the Arabs and other enemies heard that we repaired the breaches in the walls surrounding Jerusalem. What angered our enemies very much? This is much like the baseless hostility of Philistines to our forefather Isaac: He acquired flocks and herds, and a large household, so that the Philistines envied him (Gen. 26:14)".
2. And our foes were saying, “Before they know or see it, we shall be in among them and kill them, and put a stop to the work” (Ibid. 5).
Rashi says that our foes were planning to surprise us and come out from hiding and try to kill us. Today our foes come out of hidden tunnels and surprise us and try to kill us.
3. Then I decided to exhort the nobles, the prefects, and the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them! Think of the great and awesome Lord, and fight for your brothers, your sons and daughters, your wives and homes!” (Ib. 8).
The Malbim, a more recent commentator, says that Nehemiah saw that the enemy was coming to kill. Nehemiah then warned the people that the sword is coming. Nehemiah then told the people not to be afraid but to think of God and fight.
Today we see clearly that our enemy is coming to kill. Some of us fell prey to the tricks of our enemies and didn’t believe that our enemies are coming to kill. Some invited Arafat from Tunisia thinking Arafat wants to make peace. Our radical left today still argues that our enemies want to make peace.
Netanyahu today has the role of Nehemiah in the Bible. Netanyahu exhorts us: “Do not be afraid of them! Think of the great and awesome Lord, and fight for your brothers, your sons and daughters, your wives and homes!”
Yes, we’re fighting for all our people and for our homes. We pray to God for a decisive military victory to stop our enemies from trying to kill us.