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February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
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Is It Really PR? (Part One)


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

I am interrupting the sequence of my articles regarding questions posed by widows and widowers. B’Ezrat Hashem, I will continue that discussion in future columns. But for now, I feel compelled to address the tragic events that have once again unfolded in Eretz Yisrael. I would also like to remind our readers to daven and say Tehillim for the valorous wounded Israeli soldiers who were so savagely attacked. I make a special point of this because shockingly, I have discovered how few of us stop to consider the pain of our brethren.

It seems that we have become so inured to the suffering of others that our hearts no longer feel, our ears no longer hear. Yes, of course we feel upset, but immersed in our own personal problems, the stress and pressures of daily living; we are preoccupied with our own lives. We shrug our shoulders and assure ourselves that there is nothing much that we can do anyway, so, it’s back to business as usual.

But we Jews can never indulge such an attitude. We have to be cognizant that we can do everything – yes, everything, and that means even saving lives. Ours is a strength that was bequeathed to us by our patriarch Yaakov. “HaKol kol Yaakov – The voice is the voice of Jacob.” The voice of Jacob is the voice of heartfelt prayer. Its power is awesome – it can change the course of events – it can penetrate the Heavenly gates and evoke blessings for all our people.

Our young, valiant sons, who were brutally attacked and wounded, need our prayers, and we, if we are to fulfill our purpose and realize our mission, need those prayers even more. When we are united as one, when Ahavas Yisrael, love of the Jewish people, spills forth from our hearts, we have the power to open the Heavenly Gates and petition for yeshuos Hashem – the miraculous help of G-d.

So please note these names, keep them in your prayers, and pass them on to your friends: Dean Ben Svetlana, Roee Ben Shulamit, Daniel Lazar Ben Tina Leah, Yotam Ben Dorit, Ido Ben Iliana, Boris Ben Eelaina. May Hashem grant them all a speedy refuah sh’leimah.

Time and again, I have written and spoken about the escalation of the anti-Semitism that sadly we are now witnessing throughout the world. Of course, there are those who would protest that it is not anti-Semitism, but anti-Zionism, the demonization of Israel that we are seeing today. But you know and I know that such rationalization has no validity. In every generation, the anti-Semites find the right packaging to market their hatred, so now it is the demonization of Israel that legitimizes this new anti-Semitism.

Still, there are those who will argue that the entire problem can be attributed to Israel’s clumsy PR. This is an age when good public relations is a must, and Israel has failed dismally in this area. But an honest look will testify that no matter what Israel does, it’s never good. There is no explanation that she can offer that will satisfy those who are bent upon maligning and destroying her.

The persecutions and holocausts to which we have been subjected throughout the centuries are ample proof of this. But we need not go back so far. Let us examine just a few recent events: North Korea sinks a South Korean vessel…. Did you hear an outcry from the international community? The Turks, who are the major players in this flotilla fiasco and present themselves as champions of freedom who battle for humanitarian rights, oppress the Kurds and commit all sorts of atrocities, but that doesn’t even make the back page of the papers. The Russians attack the Chechens, the Chinese the Uighurs, genocide is rampant in Africa; and Iran and Hamas openly proclaim their intention to obliterate Israel.

But the only nation that is condemned time and again by the UN, the international community, and the world media, is Israel. And this, despite the fact that the Jewish State has the only army that jeopardizes the lives of its own soldiers to protect her enemy’s citizens, who takes the wounded of her enemies and offers them the finest medical care. Israel boarded the flotilla in peace, as was evidenced by their paintball guns. Is there any other nation that would have done that?

As Prime Minister Netanyahu made sufficiently clear, the world is ridden with hypocrisy, and those Israeli commandos who boarded the so-called peace flotilla did so after repeated warnings that they must let their cargo be inspected. Which country, Prime Minister Netanyahu asked, would not make such a demand?

The mob was waiting for them. They were armed with knives, clubs, pipes, and daggers. They were obviously trained and positioned to attack and lynch the Israeli soldiers. The Israelis, who were greatly outnumbered, were flung overboard. Videos clearly attest to this, and yet, as always, the international media and the world at large condemned the Jewish State. Truth be told, no matter what Israel would have said, no matter how brilliant her PR might have been, no matter what evidence Israel might have presented, she is always condemned. Netanyahu summed it all up when he said, “The world is full of hypocrisy.”

Everyone knows why Israel was forced to impose a blockade on Gaza. Everyone knows that Hamas is committed to Israel’s annihilation. Everyone knows that Hamas has been smuggling in missiles and rockets. Everyone knows that from the moment Israel gave away Gaza and its environs, including Gush Katif, the “neighborhood” became a launching pad for terror, with rockets raining down day and night on Israeli villages. Prime Minister Netanyahu correctly asked: What would other nations have done in similar situations. Are we expected to sit by silently and allow Gaza to become a port for Iran?

Baruch Hashem, in the past, Israel has managed to intercept ships that were carrying tons of lethal weapons that could target every part of Israel, including Jerusalem. The prime minister explained that the range of weapons that can be transported by ship is completely different from those that were smuggled through tunnels into Gaza.

So what do we do now? How do we overcome this escalation of anti-Semitism, which has gained global credibility under the guise of the demonization of Israel?

(To Be Continued)

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