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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
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Even Our Enemies Sing Our Praises


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

At the genesis of our history, we encountered the heathen prophet, Bilaam, who was bent upon cursing our people. But despite himself, G-d placed blessings on his lips, and to this very day, we repeat those blessings in our prayers. Many centuries have passed since Bilaam spoke, but alas, evil people remain – people who are determined to curse us. But like Bilaam of old, despite themselves, they sing our praises. So it was when Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir, one of the third world’s most popular statesmen, addressed the leaders of 57 Islamic nations at a conference that he was hosting.

Incensed at the Jews, he spewed forth venom in an anti-Semitic diatribe, and many good people felt offended, but listen carefully to his words and you will see that, even as Bilaam, he too sang our praise. And if anyone should take offense, it is his own people – the Moslems, for it was they whom he insulted. Just listen to his words: “For well over half a century, we have fought over Palestine, and what have we achieved? Nothing! We are worse off today than ever before. If we had paused to think, then we could have devised a plan, a strategy that could have won us our final victory.”

Are you implying, Mr. Prime Minister, that your people do not know how to think? Please do not be so harsh on them. Many world leaders who came before you have tried to destroy us, from Pharaoh to Hitler, and they were smart, but nevertheless they all failed. Nor should you blame your people for lack of strategy. They, as those who preceded them, schemed many schemes, but all to naught. You had the greatest military strategists helping you, from the Nazis to the Russians. Your plan was to drive us into the sea. Logically, it seemed like an easy goal to attain. After all, how can a minuscule nation prevail against over a billion Arabs?

Logically, your plans were correct, but you see, Mr. Prime Minister, there is nothing logical about our history. More powerful men than you have discovered this. But again, please don’t feel too badly. It’s not because (as you stated) your people lack smarts. Brainy men and mighty nations have tried to annihilate us, and they all failed. The secret to our invincibility is simple. At Sinai we sealed a covenant with G-d. We swore to live by His Torah…to be witnesses to His presence, and because of that, His guiding Hand is manifest in our history. Our prophets assured us that we “need not fear sudden terror or the holocaust of the wicked for they may plan a conspiracy and it will be annulled….for G-d is with us” (Isaiah).

In your address you stated that it is preposterous that 1.3 billion Moslems should be defeated by a few million Jews. “There must be a way! We are actually very strong. One point three billion people cannot simply be wiped out.”

Allow me to put your mind at ease. We Jews have no intention of wiping out your people. It’s not our style. We are a nation that has always sacrificed for peace, so if your people are hemorrhaging, you must search for the murderers within your camp. May I suggest that you begin with the slaughters that have taken place: Iraq, Syria, Jordan - yes, Jordan, where those poor Palestinians that you are so concerned about were massacred. Remember Black September?

And how about those who died in the Iran-Iraq war in which more than a million were killed. And what about the bloody slaughters that take place throughout the Moslem world – the “honor killing” of women, public decapitation, the chopping off of limbs. I could go on and on, but you, Mr. Prime Minister know the history of your people better than I. So let me assure you – We are not in the killing business. We are not interested in wiping you out.

“The Europeans,” you went on to say, “killed six million Jews out of 12 million, but today, the Jews rule the world by proxy, and they get others to fight for them. We are up against a people who think, who survived 2,000 years of pogroms, not by hitting back, but by thinking”. And then you go on to enumerate our crimes against the world: “The Jews invented and successfully promoted socialism, communism, human rights, and democracy…. With these, the Jews have now gained control of the most powerful countries and this tiny community has become a world power. We cannot fight them through brawn alone, we must use our brains also.”

Listen to your own words, Mr. Prime Minister, and absorb them….And I invite every anti-Semite to listen along with you. Much of what you said is true. The Europeans did destroy six million of our people, and yes, they could not destroy us, and yes, with the help of G-d, we are stronger today than ever before. And yes, by the grace of G-d, we have returned to our land and rebuilt our cities; we planted forests and vineyards - and all this after an absence of almost 2,000 years. There is no parallel to this in the annals of mankind but it was not by our “thinking” that we accomplished all this, but by our faith.

You further erred when you said that the nations did battle for us. No nation has ever fought for us, but the nation that you vilify and hate, the United States, did fight for your Moslem people. Have you already forgotten Bosnia, Kosavo, Kuwait? And here again, there are many more examples – but you know your own history better than I.

As for our having invented human rights and democracy – yes, it is true that we taught mankind the meaning of freedom and justice, and we are proud of it. But more importantly, we gave mankind the greatest gift of all - the Word of G-d.

Our Bible has been translated into every language and is the basis of all religions. Christianity and your own Moslem faith are totally indebted to us. So, in response to your question as to why over a billion Arabs (no matter how hard they try) cannot overcome a few million Jews….the answer is simple. There is a Divine destiny that guides our lives.

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