Bowing to the Enemy

There can be no future for the ghetto Jew.

Paula R. Stern,

OpEds Paula Stern
Paula Stern

If we Jews learn only one lesson about our relations with other religions and nations from the Holocaust, it must be that there can be no future for the ghetto Jew. With our backs to the wall and the enemy at the gates, the ghetto was a haven, a place in which our only hope was to survive today. There was no tomorrow in the ghetto, no future beyond the moment.

As a nation, Israel is blessed not only to have survived yesterday, but to be given the opportunity to plan for and even create our tomorrows. A look back is all that is needed to help guide us to that future. We need to remember that those who emerged from the fires of Europe joined together with those who had lived here for generations, and the Jewish community in Palestine grew. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Jews came from Arab countries, fleeing or forced to leave their homes and possessions.

What is forgotten, too often, is that this massive in-gathering strengthened a community of Jews who had managed to survive in an unbroken presence. This is the truth that Iran's Ahmadinejad would deny. There never was a time, in all the two thousand years between the Roman conquest and our reestablishing our state, that there wasn't a Jewish presence in Israel. There never was a time that Jews throughout the world didn't turn daily to Israel in prayer and yearning.

These truths need to be repeated again and again, each time the Arabs propagate their Big Lie: that their claim to this land is older, deeper or more just. If there is an untruth in the Middle East today, it is about the history of the Palestinian people, not of the Jews. It is they who are the newcomers here, they who did not exist a mere century ago. Their roots are shallow, their ties weak, and worst of all, their contributions to this land's development almost non-existent in comparison to what the Jewish people have brought to this land.

There was no tomorrow in the ghetto, no future beyond the moment.

There was no tomorrow in the ghetto, no future beyond the moment.

We built Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. We drained the swamps in the north and made the desert bloom. We have created, shaped, planted, invested, loved and cherished this land through the millennia - only us. Only Israel, among all the nations of the world, can claim a greater number of trees today than a century ago. It was Israel and the Jews who built hospitals with international reputations, where people from around the world come to seek our assistance.

That there is today a Palestinian people is undeniable, and that they have rights, as all humans do, is also not something that we as a people can or should deny. But we do not have to let them attempt to birth their nation by denying ours. The ongoing destruction of Jewish artifacts underground on the Temple Mount is just one example among dozens of the Arab attempt to destroy and deny what is obvious and easily proven. Their goal is to deny our connection to the land, but you only have to dig a little bit to uncover it. The ground does not hide, nor does it lie.

And so, the Arabs will riot, lest we continue to uncover more proof amidst the digging below the Mughrabi ramp. That is the true reason the Arabs are rioting and protesting. It has nothing to do with the status quo.

Again and again, we allow the Palestinians to publish lies and untruths and the world believes. When they claimed that we had killed a Palestinian family on a beach in Gaza, the world believed and the Israeli government tripped all over itself, until days later it became clear that we were not responsible. When Mohammed Al-Dura was murdered by Palestinians during a firefight with Israel (and all circumstances of his death suggest a massive manipulation of the facts), Israel apologized first and only then began an investigation, which showed that only through breaking most of the laws of physics was it possible that Israelis were responsible.

Amidst a massive and successful propaganda machine, the single message that we must deliver to the Palestinians and to the nations of the world is so very simple: We don't live in the ghetto anymore.

From 1948 to 1967, Jews were denied the right to pray at the Western Wall and on the Temple Mount. The world was silent to this ethnic and religious discrimination. The Vatican was silent to this religious atrocity. In 1967, in a clear victory for the ghetto, the Temple Mount, the single most important and holy site in Judaism, was turned over to the Arabs, leaving us with security control only, and opening the door to Arabs once again denying us our right to visit and pray in our holy places.

We have created, shaped, planted, invested, loved and cherished this land through the millennia.

A few years ago, a ramp beside the Western Wall collapsed during winter rains. It is thought that a previous earthquake and repeated illegal construction by Arabs on the Temple Mount created the weakness that contributed to the collapse of the Rambam Gate (also known as the Mughrabi Gate). This gate was used by Arabs, Jews and tourists to allow access to the Temple Mount.

Realizing the area was unsafe and in danger of further collapse, Israel quickly constructed a temporary ramp to replace the one that had fallen. Now, years later, Israel is acting to build a more permanent structure, and the Arabs are once again rioting. They say we are changing the status quo, and, of course, our leaders and the world are quick to believe the lies.

In the last few years, Palestinians have been digging below the Temple Mount to create yet another mosque. This is certainly a violation of the status quo the Palestinians are so bemoaning today. After closing the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors - another violation of the status quo - the area was eventually reopened with the stipulation that Jews be allowed to visit, but not pray. A Jew who closes his eyes and silently mumbles a prayer will be forcefully and efficiently dragged off the Temple Mount, lest it insult the sensibilities of the Muslims. This, too, is a violation of the status quo.

Insult upon insult has been heaped upon our legitimate claims to the areas. It is the Arabs who build their mosques on top of our holiest sites, as they did in Hebron, in Jerusalem, in Shechem (Nablus) and in countless other places.

Amir Peretz, ever one to bow in the face of international pressure, has once again offered his backside to the world in his latest call to stop construction of the ramp. It is only the latest example of why this government must fall.

Until we rid ourselves of the ghetto mentality, until we show that we are worthy of this land and will protect our right to live and pray in all areas, we are condemned to watch the world believe the lies of the Palestinians. So long as Olmert and Peretz bow to our enemies in weakness, our holiest places will be desecrated, our cities targeted with rockets and bombs, and our civilians endangered by a weak government and army.

How is it possible that a nation as strong as this one can be lead by such incompetent and weak fools? Sadly, the answer lies in the ghetto mentality that plagues this government and our leaders.