Israel’s Finance Minister Yair Lapid, fresh from having scolded ex-pats for living in Berlin, told New York Jews Monday afternoon that they are safer living in the Big Apple than they would be in Israel.
Lapid certainly did not intend to encourage Jews to stay in America, but that one little sentence packed enough ammunition to undo weeks or months of hard work by anyone encouraging aliyah.
Even worse, Lapid made his remarks at the 92nd St. Y in Manhattan, which The Jewish Press’ Lori Lowenthal Marcus has exposed time and time again for hosting outright anti-Zionists, as reported here, here and here.
Lapid was speaking at the annual meeting of the international Monetary Fund in New York and was interviewed by Charlie Rose, who asked him why Israel does not divide Jerusalem for a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
“It isn’t always possible to assume that everything is rational. Israel was founded as a refuge for the Jewish people, but today it isn’t a safe place. It is safer to be Jew in New York,” Lapid said.
To be fair, he continued, “I want to live in a country that is not just a place, but also an idea, and Jerusalem is the heart of the idea. There may be practical considerations, but a country cannot exist without an ethos, and Jerusalem is an ethos.
“I like Tel Aviv; I live in Tel Aviv, but our right of return is Jerusalem. We did not return after 2,000 years for Tel Aviv, but for Jerusalem. Jerusalem will not be divided. It will continue to be Israel’s capital.”
Two points for Zionism.
When Lapid said that Israel is not as safe as New York, it is difficult to know what he was referring to. Subways? Murder rate?
No doubt, he was thinking of terror. And how many people have been killed by terrorists in Jerusalem this year?
And last year? Off hand, zero.
Have there been terrorist attacks? Yes, dozens if not hundreds. Rock throwing and firebombing are attacks carried out with the intent to murder. Lapid would be correct to say that more Jews in Israel are injured by rocks every year than they are in New York or ever the entire United States.
Let’s say they were attempted murders. And how many actual homicides were there in New York last year? If you answered 414, you were right, and that is 20 percent less than in 2011.
Israel recorded 159 murders in 2012, with a total population that is approximately 15 percent less than that of New York City.
Lapid, as usual, did not define what he meant by “safer.” He likes platitudes and slogans without content. That is how got elected.
But besides the question of whether he has his facts wrong, how could he make such a statement – that New York is safer then Israel – after berating Israelis in Berlin for leaving the homeland?
Lipid, visiting in Budapest, wrote on his Facebook page last week, “I am in Budapest. I came here to speak before parliament about anti-Semitism and to remind them how they tried to murder my father here just because Jews did not have a country of their own.
“So forgive me if I am a bit intolerant of people who are prepared to throw away the only country that the Jews have because Berlin is more comfortable.”
Lapid says Berlin is more comfortable than Israel. New York is safer.
By the way, Lapid emigrated to Los Angeles in 1997 to manage a TV production company
Here is a personal note to the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization that promotes aliyah to Israel: Don’t invite Yair Lapid.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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