Jewish Post


Dr. Mark Meirowitz, Professor, State University of New York Maritime College

Dr. Mark Meirowitz, Professor, State University of New York Maritime College

From the Haggadah – “In each generation they stand against us to destroy us, but the Holy One, Blessed be He, rescues us from their hand”

On October 7, 2023, our lives changed forever. Hamas came from Gaza to Israel and slaughtered innocent Israeli men, women and children – even babies. They raped and tortured. These monsters also kidnapped Israelis to Gaza where they have been raped and murdered. As of this writing, we don’t even know how many kidnapped Israelis are still alive. Protesters around the world chant and shout their support for Hamas, not for the Israeli hostages who in many respects have been forgotten.

As we approach Passover, the festival of our freedom and liberation from Egypt, it is appropriate for us to reflect on our past, present and future. These are truly challenging times.

Malevolent Iran has attacked Israel. Incredibly, the UN Secretary General called the Iranian Foreign Minister to express condolences for the deaths of the IRGC operatives who were killed during Israel’s attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria. The world is appalled – after all Israel attacked an embassy, forgetting that those killed were involved in previous attacks on Israelis.

Journalists, diplomats and pundits are united in their antipathy towards Israel. International institutions, like the UN and the International Court of Justice, instead of fostering peace, attack and vilify the victim, Israel – even putting forth the ludicrous claim that Israel committed genocide in Gaza (South Africa brought the case – what, pray tell, does South Africa have to do with Israel and the Middle East?). The head of the World Central Kitchen had the chutzpah to claim that Israel deliberately targeted the aid workers who were mistakenly killed by Israel. Israel is accused of intentionally attacking hospitals and of indiscriminate bombing of civilians, when Israel in point of fact has taken steps to minimize civilian casualties. The world press takes as gospel truth the Hamas casualty figures (which are almost certainly inaccurate).

None of this is new – Jewish history and the history of the State of Israel are replete with such events. Inquisition, Blood Libels, Pogroms and Expulsions and on and on – and the Holocaust. In 1948, when Israel was declared as a State (recognized by Russia, the US and many more), the Arab States attacked Israel trying to wipe out the Jewish State. Israel survived. 1967, Nasser was ready to annihilate Israel – but Israel attacked preemptively and won the Six-Day War. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes (Oh, by the way, the games went on!). Yom Kippur, 1973 – the Arabs attacked Israel on the holiest of Jewish holidays (October 7th was also a religious holiday, Simchat Torah) – the Arabs almost won the 1973 war – but Ariel Sharon was able to encircle the Egyptian Third Army – but Israel was forced to agree to a ceasefire (sound familiar?). In June, 1981, Israel destroyed the Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak and was roundly condemned by the entire world and international organizations for violating international law (wonder what the world would have been like if Iraq had developed a nuclear weapon!) Intifadas! Palestinian Terrorism! Iran behind the support of Hezbollah and Hamas and now the Houthis. Iran promises to wipe Israel off the map!

There is an interesting book called “Why?” by Peter Hayes -about the Holocaust, but the question is very pertinent now in light of the unbelievable outpouring of antisemitism and hatred against Israel – and support for Hamas. Why? Indeed!

The Megillah we read on Purim will help us to understand. Haman comes to King Ahasuerus seeking to get his approval to destroy the Jewish people, “[t]here is a nation scattered and dispersed among the nations…whose laws are unlike those of any other nation and who do not obey the laws of the king. It is not in the king’s interest to tolerate them”. Haman did not get his wish, but we have surely heard this sentiment many times since then.

The world might tolerate the wandering, suffering Jew, but not the Jews who built a beautiful State in the midst of the Middle East which is diverse society and a democracy – indeed, the only democracy in the Middle East.

The Count of Clermont-Tonnerre said this in the French National Assembly in 1789, “Jews should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as individuals”. No sovereignty for you!

In 1882, Leo Pinsker in the Auto-Emancipation said it all, “No matter how much the nations are at variance in their relations with one another, however diverse their instincts and aims, they join hands in the hatred of the Jews.

These are the realities – but the existence of the State of Israel is also a fact – beleaguered and under constant attack – but surviving!

The Haggadah also says that “in each and every generation, a person is obligated to see himself as if he left Egypt” – we need to remember the amazing events of Jewish history which have brought us to this point.

We need to thank Israel’s friends around the world, such as Israel’s supporters in the US Congress, and SHAME on those Senators and Congressmen who are advocating for cutting off US military aid to Israel. Israel should decidedly not be a pawn in the chess game of US domestic politics. It is literally fighting for its life and survival.

Israel will get through this, just as it has in the past. Let us have in our hearts and minds the hostages in Gaza and pray for their immediate release. Bring them home NOW!

We also pray for the brave soldiers of the IDF who risk their lives for the State of Israel. We also mourn with saddened hearts the Israeli soldiers killed in battle in Gaza and in all of Israel’s wars.

Also in the Haggadah (quoting Deuteronomy 6:23): “And he brought us out of there, in order that He might bring us and give us the land which He swore to our fathers”.

Israel is our homeland and it is embedded in the deepest recesses of our hearts! Am Yisrael Chai!

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