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Do You Remember?


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Are you one of those people who were outraged at the bias, the libel and the naked hatred evidenced in the Goldstone Report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland? Were you stunned by the blatant lies? Were you left shocked and speechless at the sad realization that the author of this venomous report was Goldstone – yes, a Jew!

Are you among those who can still recall how Israel uprooted its own citizens, rendering them refugees in their own land? Yes, incredibly, Israel gave away the villages of its citizens, their homes, their farms, and their settlements to accommodate an enemy that swore to obliterate every trace of Jewish life from the Holy Land.

Indeed, lethal missiles began to rain down on Sderot and its environs. Day and night, fire fell from the skies, terrorizing, wounding and killing, men, women, children and babies. The nations of the world never even took notice. Not one of them raised a voice, not one of them cared.

After eight torturous years of living in terror, Israel finally acted, but even as she did so, her army exercised unparalleled compassion such as the world had never before witnessed.

Israeli soldiers alerted Gazan citizens so that they might protect themselves. They dropped more than two million leaflets and made over 100,000 phone calls to safeguard the civilian population. But Hamas was not interested in giving them this protection. They took these very same civilians and used them as human shields!

And more… much more…the I.D.F. allowed vast amounts of humanitarian aid to be delivered to the enemy, and aborted many battle plans which placed its own soldiers in jeopardy, once again to protect the civilian population.

But no matter what Israel did, it has all been to no avail. The nations are seething with venomous anti-Semitism and there are always self-hating Jews who are anxious to join their ranks. So, once again Israel stands alone. Once again, she is “one lamb among 70 wolves.”

But not to panic – Truth be told, there is nothing new about this infamous Goldstone report. Jew baiting – libelous accusations are as old as the Jewish people themselves, and we triumphed over all of them.

Even as I was pondering all this, one of my students at Hineni reminded me of an essay that testifies to this reality, written by Eric Hoffer (non-Jewish) author in 1968 and titled, “Israel’s Peculiar Position.” Chances are that readers have come across this before as it was written over 40 years ago. However, it bears yet another look as it could have been written today.

Israel’s Peculiar Position
By Eric Hoffer

The Jews are a peculiar people: things permitted to other nations are forbidden to the Jews.

Other nations drive out thousands, even millions of people and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it, Poland and Czechoslovakia did it, Turkey threw out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchman. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese – and no one says a word about refugees. But in the case of Israel the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees.

Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis.

Other nations when victorious on the battlefield dictate peace terms. But when Israel is victorious it must sue for peace. Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world.

Other nations when they are defeated survive and recover but should Israel be defeated it would be destroyed. Had Nasser triumphed last June he would have wiped Israel off the map, and no one would have lifted a finger to save the Jews.

No commitment to the Jews by any government, including our own, is worth the paper it is written on. There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Negroes are executed in Rhodesia. But when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one remonstrated with him.

The Swedes, who are ready to break of diplomatic relations with America because of what we do in Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler was slaughtering Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore, and ball bearings, and serviced his troop trains to Norway.

The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives, it will be solely because of Jewish efforts. And Jewish resources. Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would have happened last summer had the Arabs and their Russian backers won the war to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.

I have a premonition that will not leave me; as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.

Postscript: Mr. Hoffer was a non-Jewish American social philosopher who died in 1982. He was the author of nine books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His first book, “The True Believer” was recognized as a classic.

While the essay that I shared with you is most powerful, if I may, I would like to make an addition: Israel’s survival is not dependant upon its own efforts, but upon the Almighty G-d who sealed a Covenant with the Jewish people that guarantees their survival for all eternity, and that Covenant is the secret behind the supernatural endurance of the Jew.

Throughout history, empires, nations, have risen only to fall, but the Jewish people are here! They are here to testify to the existence of G-d and bear witness to His holy Name…That Covenant, the voice of Torah rings today as it rang out throughout the centuries, and please G-d, it will usher in soon, in our own day, the coming of Moshiach.

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