Connect with us
Israel Bonds RRSP

RSS

Israel Cannot Wait for Divine Intervention: We Must Act to Save It

Family members, friends and supporters of Israelis and other nationalities who were taken hostage on October 7 by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas during a deadly attack, complete the final stage of their march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in Jerusalem November 18, 2023. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

This week’s Torah reading begins with Joseph being imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. It marked the beginning of the events that would lead to Joseph being released from prison, and promoted to the position of the most powerful man in Egypt after Pharaoh himself.

The Hebrew word MiKeytz in Hebrew, the name of this week’s reading, signifies a passage of time. There is another word that is commonly used in the Bible, Achar, which is an equivalent. It again means a passage of time. Both phrases have also been used to mean something apocalyptic.

The apocalyptic source appears in one of the very last Biblical books, the Book of Daniel, written in Persia — part in Hebrew and part in Aramaic — when Michael appears to Daniel.

This is the only source for using Acharit Yamim to mean more than just a passage of time. The prophet Isaiah uses the same phrase to describe a time when peace will reign not only in Jerusalem — which will become the spiritual center of the world — but when there will be peace on earth. The prophets Jeremiah and Micah also repeat this idea. But again, it seems no more than a hope that things on earth will improve if we help bring it about, rather than through some Divine intervention.

It was only as a result of Roman and Christian oppression — as Jewish suffering increased exponentially — that we looked for a supernatural end to our suffering. And this remains part of the Messianic ideology that permeates much of our religious mindset today, and leads to this penchant for predicting Messianic intervention.

Although I like the Messianic ideal and dream, I also believe we cannot rely on it, and we have to be proactive in ensuring our survival, which is why I was brought up to believe passionately that Israel needs to defend itself and not rely on Divine intervention.

Never in my life has this been more urgent than now, in this frightening new era of post-October 7 hatred. If it didn’t coincide with a festival, that date should be added to our lists of fasts — except that self-denial is not as positive as joy and celebration, and gratitude for being spared.

The author is rabbi and writer, currently based in New York.

The post Israel Cannot Wait for Divine Intervention: We Must Act to Save It first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

RSS

Obituary: Alexander Eisen, 93, a self-taught electronic engineer and passionate Holocaust educator

Alexander Eisen, a Holocaust survivor and beloved educator and speaker known for his soft-spoken warmth and keen intellect, died in Toronto on Feb. 17. He was 93. His turn as a sought-after Holocaust educator came in his later years, famously first speaking at his grandson Jared’s bar mitzvah. At the funeral, Alex’s son Doron recounted […]

The post Obituary: Alexander Eisen, 93, a self-taught electronic engineer and passionate Holocaust educator appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

Continue Reading

RSS

Creating a ‘Parallel Diplomatic Channel’ Between Israel and South Africa

Jewish and Christian South African leaders. Photo: South African Friends of Israel.

JNS.orgAs chief rabbi of South Africa, I undertook a recent diplomatic mission to Israel amidst the hostility of the South African government and a breakdown in communications between the two countries.

I met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and other senior government officials, assuring them of the support of the Jewish community and millions of non-Jews in South Africa.

The purpose of my trip was to establish a strong, parallel diplomatic channel between the people of South Africa and the Jewish state.

I conveyed a message to the government and the people of Israel on behalf of the South African Jewish community, as well as millions of our fellow citizens throughout the country. I told them that the African National Congress government does not speak in our name and we stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel in its battle against the forces of evil.

When I met with President Herzog, Foreign Affairs Minister Yisrael Katz and Minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli, I reassured them that despite the ANC government’s morally repugnant support for Hamas and Iran, most South Africans have distanced themselves from the ANC’s position. Millions of South African Christians pray for and support Israel. Israel has many allies and friends here in South Africa who are ashamed of their government’s support for terrorist regimes and despots. Moreover, the ANC’s support has sunk to 40% and is still falling.

I sought to tell the government and people of Israel that the bond between the Jews of South Africa and Israel can never be broken, no matter what the ANC does.

As Jews, we speak the name of Jerusalem at every funeral, saying a special blessing to mourners: “May the Almighty comfort you amongst all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” At every wedding, we recite the immortal verse, “If I ever forget thee, O Jerusalem.” Three times a day in our prayers, we pray for the redemption of Israel and Jerusalem. When we pray, we face in the direction of Jerusalem.

Zionism is an essential part of our Jewish identity. It’s part of our soul. Our connection to Israel began almost 4,000 years ago when God spoke to Abraham at the dawn of Jewish history. As a nation, we have maintained an unbroken presence in the land for more than 3,300 years—since the time of Joshua. Our connection to our land is older than that of any people on earth. Our bond with Israel is unbreakable.

Going forward, great efforts will be invested in building this informal diplomatic channel between Israel and South Africa until such time as a sound official diplomatic relationship can be re-established. I undertake this task for the sake of our Jewish community, but also for the sake of South Africa, which will only benefit from a closer bond with the only democracy in the Middle East.

In numerous areas of life in which the South African government has failed its people, citizens have stood up and come forward to make a difference. Here, too, with the country’s connection to Israel under threat, we must come forward, speak up and reinforce our connection with Israel. Those who can should visit to express solidarity.

The current foreign policy of the ANC government, which associates our country with the world’s worst terrorist states and tyrants, is not in the interests of the South African people. South Africa can benefit greatly from Israel’s innovation, people, technology and economy. Most of all, it can benefit from the Divine blessings that flow into South Africa from Israel: The promise made to Abraham that those who bless Israel will be blessed.

In our time, we have witnessed these Divine promises fulfilled. After 2,000 years of exile—no nation on earth has ever survived such a protracted exile—we returned to our biblical homeland.

Just as promised in the book of Deuteronomy: “Then G-d will gather you in from all the nations. … If your dispersed will be at the ends of heaven, from there the L-rd your G-d will gather you in and from there He will take you … and bring you to the Land that your forefather possessed and you shall possess it.”

Our bond with Israel, forged in exile and sanctified by Divine promise, will never be broken. Am Yisrael Chai.

The post Creating a ‘Parallel Diplomatic Channel’ Between Israel and South Africa first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

RSS

Meet the Ethnic-Studies Antisemites

A taxi passes by in front of The New York Times head office, Feb. 7, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Carlo Allegri / File.

JNS.orgThat the American educational system is thoroughly polluted with antisemitism has been obvious to many of us for some time. It became clear to all, however, after the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, when thousands of academics, students, teachers, administrators, and other denizens of the dictatorship of the professoriate erupted in full-throated celebration of the mass slaughter and rape of over 1,000 people.

What followed is well-known and even somewhat encouraging, given that—with the toppling of two university presidents who proved ambivalent about killing all the Jews—the professoriate is finally being held responsible for its atrocities for the first time in decades.

The problem, however, goes well beyond the universities. This, along with much else, was proven last week by The New York Times, which usually does its best to run interference for antisemitism.

The Times appears to have realized, somewhat late in the game, that “ethnic studies” programs in California high schools have a serious problem with antisemitism. Of course, a group of dedicated activists and skeptical politicians fought to revise the state’s ethnic studies curriculum for the better part of a decade, and with very good reason. The Times report, however, was prompted by the pushback they are now facing from a self-congratulatorily named “liberated ethnic studies” that restores the antisemitic material.

Like all such curricula, California ethnic studies is essentially an attempt to institutionalize a Manichean theology. The ancient Manicheans viewed the world as a battle between two metaphysical forces: Light and good versus darkness and evil. The new Manicheans’ theology is political in expression, but not a great deal more complicated. It holds that the world is a battleground between light and good in the form of the “oppressed” (usually people of color) and darkness and evil in the form of the “oppressor” (usually but not always white people).

Like many religious sentiments, this cult’s theology is unfalsifiable and thus impossible to prove or disprove. Two things, however, can be said with some certainty: 1) It is obviously inadequate as an account of the world in which we live, and 2) It is self-evidently racist.

Unsurprisingly, it is also bitterly antisemitic. In all its forms, this theology places the Jews firmly in the category of “oppressor.” In other words, it sees the Jews as a manifestation of metaphysical evil—quite literally satanic. If viewing the Jews as satanic is not antisemitism, then nothing is antisemitism.

None of this is surprising to critics of the proposed curriculum. But we should be grateful for the Times’ report because it provides us with some formidable evidence for the prosecution.

Given its proclivities, the Times probably did not wish to provide such evidence, but it had no choice because the antisemites appear to have been quite eager to give it to them.

The Times presents us, for example, with Guadalupe Cardona, a teacher of ethnic studies at a Los Angeles high school, who helpfully volunteers on the Israel-Hamas war: “If someone is going to teach that conflict from a true ethnic studies perspective, it’s going to be critiquing settler colonialism in Palestine.”

For his part, Professor Dylan Rodriguez firmly rejects giving equal time to Jewish perspectives on the conflict because “It creates false equivalences.” The Times states, “He then asked if creationism should be covered in biology classes, or climate change denialism in environmental science,” as if he were teaching a STEM course rather than a religious creed.

These are the least of the defamations chronicled by the Times. In one of many such examples, the paper tells us that “In November, several weeks after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, an ethnic studies teacher at Menlo-Atherton High School, in Silicon Valley, presented a lesson that inaccurately claimed the United Nations considered the creation of Israel illegal.”

That is lies enough for one class, even in California, but during the lesson “a slide depicted a hand manipulating a puppet,” which even the Times was forced to admit recalls “antisemitic tropes about secret Jewish control of government, the media and finance.”

One might wonder, of course, why this kind of hate speech is not only tolerated but literally institutionalized in California high schools. The Times, helpfully if inadvertently, supplies the answer:

Ethnic studies grew out of student activism at Bay Area colleges in the late 1960s, when Black, Latino, Asian and Native American students went on strike to demand more focus on their groups’ histories and cultures.

Some activists were part of the Third World Liberation Front, a student group that linked racial segregation and discrimination in the United States to colonialism, imperialism and militarism across the globe.

For early scholars and students of ethnic studies, pro-Palestinian activism was also crucial, said Keith Feldman, chair of comparative ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Whether the Times realized it or not—and it probably did not—this is the most powerful indictment of the ethnic studies movement as can be imagined. It provides firm historical proof that ethnic studies is not education. It is a political movement and a distinctly nasty one at that. Indeed, it appears that, on the issue of Israel and the Jews, it is nothing more than Palestinian nationalism dressed up as a kind of altruistic universalism.

This is of immense importance because while some nationalisms are liberal, democratic, and progressive, Palestinian nationalism is not. It is uncompromisingly reactionary, bigoted, tyrannical, revanchist, racist, and ultimately genocidal.

After the events of the last four months, no further evidence of this is required, not even from the Times. Thanks to Hamas, we now have definitive and absolute proof of it. Thanks to Hamas’s supporters in the West, we have equally definitive proof that the progressive left—the fountainhead of “ethnic studies”—supports this toxic nationalism with every fiber of its being and is willing to justify, excuse, and commit any atrocity necessary to further its ambitions.

What this means is quite simple: Palestinian nationalism and its supporters, whoever and wherever they may be—even in California high schools—have no place in the public discourse of any decent society. Their movement is fundamentally illegitimate. In a free society, of course, it must be allowed to exist, so long as it puts an end to its criminal activities. But it should be shunned, ostracized, and relegated to the far corners of the dark web and easily surveilled gated compounds in the Midwest.

At the moment, however, a generation of American children is being threatened by unscrupulous cultists who are determined to pound their ideology into the minds of those children at any cost. No sane society should allow such people anywhere near a classroom, but systemic hate cannot be ended overnight. In the meantime, the cultists should not be permitted to poison the hearts of thousands of students by teaching them that people who hate and kill Jews are the children of light.

The post Meet the Ethnic-Studies Antisemites first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News