Millions watched Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he eloquently addressed the United Nations General Assembly on October 2. The video was instantly available on YouTube and the transcript was available online and in newspapers.
But how many of us can, with certainty, recognize the prime minister’s most important message? I daresay only those of us who know our holy Torah is the revelation of God’s master plan for the world.
After our exodus from Egypt, it was none other than the non-Jewish prophet and leader Bilam who described the Jews to the world: “They are a nation that dwells alone and will never receive universal recognition from the other nations of the world” (Parshas Balak).
Thus, Netanyahu’s declaration that “Israel will stand alone if we must” marked a new beginning to the end of the failed Oslo process, on its 20th anniversary.
The Oslo Accord was sealed with the famous handshake on the White House lawn that also set the stage for the Nobel peace prize being awarded to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and arch-terrorist Yasir Arafat.
To me, the biggest joke of it all was the gleeful announcement by Rabin that “We are no longer an am livadad yishkone, a nation that dwells alone!”
Oh, how I laughed. I was sitting alone by a TV set, but I knew that every Torah-true Jew was also laughing, for we know our Torah is forever true, that Eisav hates his brother Yaakov, and that Israel must be vigilant in standing alone.
This was the highlight of Netanyahu’s speech. Both Torah-true Jews and non-Jewish lovers of Israel felt this was the proper response to the overtures made by the new president of Iran to President Obama – overtures based on the idea that Tehran’s nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes so the time has therefore come to lift economic sanctions against his country.
Netanyahu gave me personal satisfaction with his public response to my Shanah Tovah greeting to him. My front-page Jerusalem Post ad urged him to continue to stress the security needs of Israel while following the principle of my YouTube clip “V’lo Yinatshu” (Amos 9 – “We shall never be uprooted”).
In his UN speech, the prime minister read the very verses from Amos featured in my song.
To my pleasant surprise, on YouTube the very next day there was a combined clip of Netanyahu speaking and me singing. In a moving rendition of the words of Amos, he told of his grandfather Nathan’s suffering at the hands of anti-Semites and he declared that Israel, if need be, will stand alone. All the while I was seen dancing and singing my original composition of the words of Amos.
The clip was prepared in Israel by Yaakov Lepon at King David Studio and is worth watching. Google or insert the following into your address bar: Dov Shurin and Binjamin Netanyahu (with “Binjamin” misspelled) or type the following into the YouTube address bar: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ebl-bJQjKwE.
The very next day, Wednesday October 3, the new issue of The Jewish Press included a ten-inch ad with a birthday message to the prime minister headlined “STOP!!”
I wrote in that ad, “Today is your Hebrew birthday, the 28th of Tishrei. It is time to stop fearing Obama. Stop releasing convicted terrorist murderers and stop talking about an interim peace agreement which would endanger Israel’s security….” I ended with, “I love you very much; Happy Birthday.”
The very next day I was praying in a Brooklyn shul (I was on a visit to the U.S.) when a man approached me and said he’d seen the video clip of me and the prime minister and loved it.
And then he shocked me by saying it was my holy grandfather, Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l, who had influenced the prime minister.
“But how?” I asked. “My grandfather left this world in 1986!”
“Yes, but when Prime Minister Begin met with the leading rabbis in the home of Reb Moshe Feinstein on the Lower East Side, your grandfather advised Begin to learn the portion of Vayishlach – the story of Yaakov meeting Eisav, before Begin was to meet with President Carter and Sadat. I told this to Netanyahu. He wanted proof, and I was able to get a letter from a rabbi who was present at the meeting.”
The man then showed me the letter, along with the fax he sent Netanyahu urging him to follow my grandfather’s advice.
And then he said, “The night before Netanyahu was to address Congress, his speechwriter, a religious Jew, asked Netanyahu to be the tenth man for the evening prayer. Netanyahu answered, ‘I can’t, I have no time, tomorrow is my speech and I must study the portion of Vayishlach right now!’
“So you see, Dov, it was not you as much as it was your grandfather who prepared Netanyahu for the battles and the vigilance that lay ahead.”
If only there were a clip of Menachem Begin’s meeting with the gedolim. What an inspiring video that would be – for me and for our entire Charming Nation.Dov Shurin