Sivan 16, 5768, 6/19/2008
[Jack Berger (Chicago, Jerusalem, Hebron) is a dear friend whose boundless love for Eretz Yisrael is equaled only by his infinite love of Am Yisrael and Torah. I am honored to present here his most recent article.]
In a few weeks we, in America, will be remembering and celebrating the Fourth of July. I will be reflecting and remembering two Jewish Fourth of Julys from our history. On July 4, 1946, Polish Jews liberated from Nazi death camps gratefully made their way back to their “hometown” – and were welcomed then slaughtered by their Polish neighbors in a town called Kielce. The welcome home was not very welcoming. Thirty years later on July 4, 1976, there was also a moment of liberation and welcoming, for it was on July 4, 1976, that the Israeli Defense Forces rescued Jewish hostages kidnapped by PLO terrorists, from a place called Entebbe. While there was joyous celebrations and relief in Israel, at the United Nations there was only the usual condemnation. How dare Israel invade a sovereign country?
Yet it was President Gerald Ford who captured the moment when, in the middle of the Fourth of July celebrations in Washington, D.C., he interrupted the festivities to proudly announce that America had just been given a gift commemorating this special day of independence and freedom – “We have just been informed that the Israeli forces have rescued their hostages at Entebbe and have returned home safely.” On wings of eagles I shall bring you back!
In 1946, Jews who had survived the death camps returned to what they believed was their home – in 1976 Jews survived death at an airport in Africa to return safely to their home – our homeland, given to us by our G-d in a covenant with our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob long ago. Some believe it has been a miraculous 60 years but the truth is, it has been a miraculous 4,000 years. As Ben Hecht wrote so cogently in his Guide for the Bedeviled,”... one should have some sympathy for Europe, Christendom and the lands of Islam. To have fought tirelessly and with so many ingenious and powerful weapons, and to have fought so small a foe as the Jew and to have lost always… is a debacle calling for some sympathy”. (p.90) Yet you Dear World have been and continue to be very persistent.
Indeed it appears that you have been quite upset and even angry with us Jews over the past 60 years. Today it is the repression of the Palestinian Hamasnik murderers in Gaza, yesterday it was Hizbalnik terrorists of Lebanon and before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactors in Iraq, and just a few months ago it was the bombing of the nuclear facilities of Bashir “chip off the old block” Assad in Syria. It appears that Jews, who triumph and therefore live, upset you greatly. For too long, Dear World, you had always enjoyed your Jews served up powerless… but over the last 60 years our people in our homeland have become less accommodating.
Of course, Dear World, long before there was the modern state of Israel, we, the Jewish people, upset a German people who elected a man named Hitler and we upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a whole slew of Slavic nations – Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians and Romanians. We go back a long way in the history of upsetting you. We upset a Cossack by the name of Chmielnicki, who massacred our people by the tens of thousands… and we upset the Crusaders who on their way to the Holy Land decided to slaughter defenseless Jews for the sport of it. We upset a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through Inquisitions and we upset the arch-enemy of the church, Martin Luther, who in his call to burn synagogues, preferably with Jews in them, while showing a less than admirable Christian spirit of love for his brother.
And it is because we became so upset over upsetting you that we decided to leave you and go back to our homeland – the same homeland that you drove us from 1900 years ago. Having left you and your pogroms, inquisitions, crusades and holocausts – we still seem to upset you. You are angry that we have not given up our biblical homeland where our patriarchs and matriarchs walked, and where our prophets heard the words of our G-d, and spoke truth to the world… you call it the West Bank; we call it by its historical name of Judea and Samaria, our ancient land revived where our people today, over 300,000 flourish, have lots of babies and build homes and where, to your astonishment, the once barren soil has come back to life. I know it perplexes you. Is it because we Jews have so much land and your oil bearing friends the Arabs have so little that you desire to take our land from us through lies and revisionist history? Where were you, the mythological Palestinians and your quest for a mythological homeland from 1948 to 1967! From 1948 to 1967 you were Jordanians or Syrians and so today you can take your choice, but not one inch of our land.
In 1920, 1921 and 1929 there were no territories of 1967 to prevent peace between Arabs and Jews – in fact there was no Jewish State to upset anybody. Never the less you watched as Arabs slaughtered Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Safed and in one day in 1929 managed to slaughter 67 Jews in Hebron. Why in 1929 did Arabs massacre 67 Jews? Could it have been because you were upset over “Israeli aggression” in 1967? And why were 510 Jewish men, women and children slaughtered between 1936 and 1939 – because you were upset over the “Israeli aggression” of 1967? And when in 1948, when our state was reborn thru a democratic vote by your friends at the United Nations, another 6,000 Jews were killed in a vicious war you began. Was that because of the war to defend our country in 1967? Today your double talking Abbas is just another Arafat terrorist in a suit. You knew Arafat was a homicidal pimp who brainwashed the gullible, while blessing his suicide-bombers claiming they were courageous martyrs… but you, Dear World, praised and honored him as Jewish women and children were slaughtered by his delusional “shahids” looking for those 72 black-eyed virgins. The truth is it was your appeasement that encouraged him. It was those Kodak moments at the White House where you acted as a cheerleader giving him smiling handshakes and peace prizes. You knew that the Palestinian Liberation Organization – PLO – was an Egyptian terrorist organization created by Nasser in 1964. They never ruled Palestine. There is nothing in their history that tied them to this land. These are the same Arabs who in their vile hatred in the 1920’s and 1930’s swore “it bach al Yahid” – “massacre the Jews… destroy Israel” How pathetic that Arab mothers have only dreams of martyrdom for their children’s future, as they languish in the 1300 year old hatreds of their grandfathers.
Dear World, you stood by in 1948 as seven Arab states launched their Final Solution promising to finish the work that their hero Hitler had begun. You expected to once again feast on powerless Jews, but it was you who forged our strength in the ovens at Auschwitz. Having closed all avenues to your countries of refuge, you gave us no choice – and we thank you for finally wiping all illusions from our eyes giving us our only option… to take up the sword and return and rebuild our ancient homeland.
You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, cheered by wild mobs, again vowed to drive the Jews into the sea… and let’s be honest, you will stand there silently tomorrow preparing magnificent eulogies written by your shameless speechwriters, for piles of dead Jews, as Iran develops its nuclear capabilities offering us extinction. You’ve no doubt heard the Iranian boasts of what its country will do when it gets the bomb. You may not believe Mr. Ahmadinejad, but we have experience in believing such people. Today we of numbered arms remember and are willing to trade all of your pornographic eulogies for live Jews. You have allowed the noble dreams of the United Nations to become a hypothetical circus for Jew hatred. We know, and you know, that the dreams of the Arabs is for our extinction but this time we will do everything necessary to defend our people and our land and if that bothers you, Dear World, think of how many times in the past you have bothered us. (Adapted from my proud, strong, Jew-loving Rav…of blessed memory)
Yet the wisdom and truth of our Torah are as relevant today as when it was first given to our people…
For it was that “…Yaakov had not been seen in over 20 years and there was joy in the land. There was no longer anyone to disturb the stability of a society built on materialism and idolatry, or to point an accusing finger saying, ‘You are immoral.’ Then one day, Yaakov returns… The inhabitants are informed that the Shechina (the spirit of G-d) is again active in the holy land, so Hashem prepares the conditions necessary for the newly arrived Hebrews… On their return, their sister Dinah is attacked and violated, and family honor and justice demand retribution. The brothers of Dinah, Shimon and Levi, the sons of Yaakov, go to war... The news travels far and wide to every corner of the land, “Yaakov has returned… and has taken his toll on the immoral people of Shechem. Things will never be the same again. The Jews have returned!
“… For the actions of his sons, Yaakov is gripped with fear of what awaits him at the hands of the pagan peoples of Canaan. “You (Shimon and Levi) have made me odious in the eyes of the inhabitants”, yet he travels to Bet El to offer a sacrifice to Hashem, and, to his amazement, he is not attacked. It now becomes glaringly apparent that the pagans are more afraid of him than he is of them. The lesson becomes internalized by Yaakov and his sons. This is the language which speaks to these people – they scavenge at the blood of the weak but shrink away before the courageous and strong. With this lesson firmly imbedded in his consciousness, Yaakov can now have the peace he so desires.” Appeasement only brings dishonor and emboldens our enemies. Justice comes before mercy. Peace after victory.
Sixty years ago, Dear World, after having taken six million of our brothers and sisters, you were still not satisfied, so Hashem produced the conditions for the world to learn that there are Jews who have decided to live and that they have returned to their ancient homeland – Eretz Yisrael. The War of Independence; the Six Day War; the Yom Kippur War; the destruction of the Iraqi atomic reactor and so much more. This is the language which you the nations of the world understand… (adapted from Rav Nachman of Yerushalayim).
Dear World, my people would like nothing more than to continue to share their incredible medical, cultural and technological discoveries as gifts to mankind and live in peace but clearly understand your gas chambers are no longer an option. If you have noticed, in just 60 years we have created a pretty incredible country and to be clear, have learned to do whatever it takes to observe our Torah’s commandment to Choose Life! As I began, we hope that doesn’t upset you too much, but if it does – get used to it. Now recite after me – Am Yisroal Chai and Happy Sixtieth and many more!