My soul weeps! My heart cries out in despair as I see the faces of the victims of the brutal terrorist attacks that took place in the various cities of Israel which were bombarded by over 4,000 rockets indiscriminately launched by the terrorist organization Hamas, destroying and causing damage to hundreds of homes in Israel and the loss of precious lives.
Despite all this pain and suffering, the world blames Israel for protecting itself though it was so meticulous in its response to these attacks, making sure as much as possible to preserve the lives of innocent people. Hamas, on the other hand, continued to aim their rockets at Israel with the sole directive of killing innocent people. The world, as expected, stood by, with little outcry against Hamas for starting this entire fiasco.
I am reminded of the story in the Talmud (Bava Batra 10B). Yosef, the son of Rabbi Yehoshua, was ill and slipped into a comatose state. When he regained consciousness, his father asked him: “What did you see in the next world?” Yosef responded: “I saw an upside-down world. The esteemed in this world are looked down upon in that world, and the downtrodden and the poor in this world are looked upon in the World to Come with respect and reverence.” To this his father, Rabbi Yehoshua, responded: “What you saw in that world was true and accurate.”
Today, throughout college campuses in the United States, students label our beloved Israel as an apartheid government. They justify and rationalize the brutality of the Hamas terrorists and they judge our soldiers in Israel as executioners who randomly torture poor Arab people.
I recently observed a video in which a person was collecting money on a college campus in Portland, Oregon, asking students to support Hamas, promising these students that the money collected would be used to fund killing innocent people gathered in cafes or in shopping areas in Israel and to finally wipe out the Jews. The response was terrifying! The students overwhelmingly reacted positively, offering money to help this cause.
Where is the silent majority – the decent Muslims who claim that they are peaceful people? Where is their outcry? Why don’t they decry these acts of Hamas? Why do the media minimize these cowardly actions by barely reporting them on the news? Why is the State of Israel constantly blamed and vilified in the world?
And perhaps the greatest catastrophe that has occurred is that even amongst our own, there are those who denigrate Israel.
In 1948, when the State of Israel was declared, all the Jewish newspapers proclaimed that this was the beginning of the Messianic period. Leaders, rabbis, gedolai hador – all proclaimed that this was a miracle. They recited the bracha of Shehechiyanu, giving thanks to Almighty G-d for this miracle. All recognized that Israel, despite its shortcomings, is the home of all Jews and we must all support it.
What has happened to many of our Reform and Conservative brethren today? The gift that had been given to us by G-d is being rejected by many of them as they vindicate Hamas and blame our soldiers as the cruel enemy mercilessly killing innocent Palestinians. Where is their gratitude? Where is their understanding? How do they have the right to criticize Israel while sitting in their comfortable homes in America without really any knowledge of what is going on in Israel and what the country faces daily?
I know! I live in Israel. I have seen the trepidation on the faces of the people as thousands of rockets soared overhead. I have heard the cries of the mothers and fathers who lost their loved ones because of these unprovoked attacks by Hamas.
The world is upside-down. We have lost the distinction between right and wrong. We have lost sight of the magnanimous gift that G-d has bestowed on us. And the result is tragedy. Tragedy so overwhelming that perhaps it will give all of us a wake-up call to support our Israel and to go on the offensive to openly support our homeland and to wipe out the hate and cruelty that has been directed at our people.
May that time come speedily!