Photo Credit: courtesy, Sivan Rahav Meir
Sivan Rahav Meir

“Shalom, my name is Bat-Chen Weil. I wanted to share a piece of simple and joyful news that perhaps you have not noticed. On Lag B’Omer the wedding season officially begins.

“As a brides’ premarital counselor, I cannot help but get excited whenever a bride-to-be comes to me for guidance. With sparkling eyes and a fluttering heart, she is making a triumphant statement since every marrying couple declares: There is love in the world. There is consolation and there is hope. We believe in life, in marriage, in children, in commitment, in the future.


“With the breaking of the glass under the chuppah, we recall everything that is broken in our world – the victims of terror and war, the wounded, the hostages, the evacuees. Our heart is with all of them. But our sages say that whoever makes a bride and groom rejoice is considered as if they rebuilt one of the ruins of Jerusalem. And perhaps during these days each marrying couple is as if they rebuilt one of the ruins of Be’eri, Nahal Oz, or one of the other devastated communities that will be built anew.

“I imagine that most of us will be invited to weddings in the coming days. In my view, it is important to attend these celebrations with a feeling that despite our enormous pain over the loss of life since October 7th, we are also creating new life. Mazal tov.


Our Vital Role In A World Gone Mad

It’s as if an explosion of light has suddenly illuminated the darkness, and nothing has ever seemed clearer. Those focusing on our internal disputes are perhaps missing the bigger picture.

Let’s begin with Iran’s President Raisi. The crash of the helicopter carrying one of the evilest men of our time, “the butcher of Tehran,” was the first test for the world. How would the world react?

The UN security council stood for a moment of silence in his memory. What exactly were they thinking about during that moment of silence, which was also observed by the U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the UN? A single moment is certainly not sufficient to commemorate all his victims. Furthermore, the UN’s flag was lowered to half-mast and the UN secretary composed a eulogy for Raisi now on display in his condolence book at the UN.

This was the response of Yaki Lopez from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “The UN has gone completely mad. Raisi was personally responsible for the murder of thousands of Iranians, in addition to funding and orchestrating the attacks on Israel. What a disgrace!”

Let’s continue: The European Union also expressed condolences for the death of this despicable terrorist (although Holland’s prime minister was quick to announce, “Not in my name” – good for him!). Even the State Department and the Senate expressed their sorrow at his death, much to our consternation. This is the story now, yet there is someone else who doesn’t understand it: the chair of Tel Aviv University’s executive council wrote to his friends on WhatsApp that he thought it was a “pity” that Netanyahu wasn’t onboard the helicopter that crashed (killing Raisi and Iran’s foreign minister).

As if by heavenly timing, at the same time that Raisi died, the Hague issued an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and Gallant, along with Sinwar, for war crimes (a ruling that is shameful beyond words.) The ICC has no interest in justice, only in not “making waves.” They just want an end to this war, without regard for the fact that we are waging a war against evil. They don’t care about the light defeating the darkness.

And, again, it’s important to pay attention to the responses: 106 members of the Knesset were not confused and issued a statement in opposition to the Hague. Only the Arab parties and the Labor party refused to sign this statement.

But one member of Knesset did grasp the big picture: former Knesset member, Eitan Cabel, announced that he is leaving the Labor party. “It felt like a punch in the stomach,” he said, “they have definitely lost their way.” Cabel added that he too has his criticisms of Netanyahu but to “equate the prime minister of Israel with Sinwar is beyond the pale. I’m not prepared to be part of this farce.”

In a symbolic gesture, retired members of the Labor party also issued the following statement: “We are appalled by the Labor party’s stance in the Knesset.”

And what happened in the rest of the world? The Czech Republic stood with us against the Hague, as did the UK, the US (both political parties), Germany, Holland, and other countries. On the other hand, France came to the support of the Hague as did the Israeli organization, “B’Tselem.”

At the same time, in order to publicize the evil of our enemies, the harrowing footage taken by Hamas of the kidnapping of the female soldiers from Nahal Oz was released. If this video had been aired immediately after October 7, it might have been lost among all of the other gruesome footage we viewed from that day. The release of this video was perfectly timed to remind us of what we might have already begun to forget: the atrocities and the horror. And on the same day that this footage of this murderous cult was screened before the eyes of the world, Norway, Spain, and Ireland decided that Hamas should be rewarded with a state of their own.

Avi Nir-Feldklein, Israel’s ambassador to Norway, responded with a scathing text: “I’m sorry Liri, Karina, Agam, Daniella, and Na’ama. I tried but failed to persuade the government of Norway that their recognition of a Palestinian state is not only a prize for Hamas, Iran, and the forces of terror, but will directly impact our efforts to bring you home. The monsters responsible for the atrocities of October 7, who are still holding you hostage, were quick to thank Norway for this recognition.”

But then there are also others who have come to their senses. Prominent Islamic author and prize-winner, Salman Rushdie, himself a victim of Iran’s terror, surprised us this week by stating: “Most of my life I’ve believed in the establishment of a Palestinian state, but if it were to be established today it would be governed by Hamas, and it would be like the Taliban, a proxy of Iran.” In other words, another state of Islamic extremists that would try to attack Rushdie.

So, this is the bigger story. It has become increasingly clear since Simchat Torah that the world’s institutions of higher education are unable to accurately identify genocide, antisemitism, and terror. The international media, (supposedly) bastions of democracy and liberalism, are not able to bring themselves to report about the kidnappings, rape, and slaughter of innocents.

All the women’s groups, human rights groups, and those with degrees from prestigious universities with massive endowments cannot hide the moral decay of the west.

The conversation needs to change. There have always been those who blamed our situation on the settlements, or on a particular IDF operation, but now many are beginning to see reality in a different light.

Of course, there are issues that are open to debate and it’s certainly legitimate to hold different opinions. But we need to pay attention: At the Hague, no one is discussing Judea and Samaria, they are talking about the Negev. We are dealing with crimes against humanity (!) and condemning violations committed in Sderot and Ofakim, within the 1967 borders.

Israel – if it will come to embrace its historical role – has become an island of moral clarity in a world that is collapsing on both sides: in Iran on the one side, and in Harvard, on the other. In Gaza on the one side, and in Columbia, on the other. In one place everything is forbidden, and apparently, in the other place, everything is allowed. But there is something else that exists beyond these two extremes. Here in Israel our mission is to establish a third option: Jerusalem. After all, this is the reason for our return to this land.

Do we, along with our friends and supporters around the world, truly comprehend the importance of our mission? Do we fully understand that a Jewish democracy in the Middle East is not the world’s problem but its solution, and that we need to express our own authentic voice? Are we bold enough to declare that the international court of justice should be located in Jerusalem and not in the Hague?

It is important for us to keep in mind perhaps the most famous and optimistic verses spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

“In the days to come, The Mount of G-d’s House
“Shall stand firm above the mountains and tower above the hills;
“And all the nations shall gaze on it with joy…. For instruction shall come forth from Zion, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem. Thus, He will judge among the nations and arbitrate for the many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not take up sword against nation; They shall never again know war.”

May this new world order be established soon. Amen.


Translated by Janine Muller Sherr and Yehoshua Siskin.

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Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Translation by Yehoshua Siskin.