I stand with Israel

By YONINA PRITZKER
April 5, 2016 21:15

I stand with Israel because the good or evil of any generation is determined by what good people will allow.




Temple Mount

Israeli flag and Temple Mount . (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 I stand with Israel because the Land of Israel is the Jewish national homeland; the history, faith, religion, culture and identity of the Jewish people have been, are and forevermore will be tied to this land which bears its name, from its ancient name of Judea to its modern name of Israel.

I stand with Israel because the Jewish people was born as the People of Israel in the Land of Israel, a land and a people inextricably and eternally united.

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I stand with Israel because the re-establishment of Israel as a modern Jewish state in the homeland of the Jewish people’s ancestors is a modern miracle.

As former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said: “The Jewish people is the only people that still inhabits the same land, embraces the same religion, studies the same Torah, hearkens to the same prophets, speaks the same aboriginal language – Hebrew – and bears the same aboriginal name, Israel, as it did 3,500 years ago.”

I stand with Israel because Shivat Tzion, the return to Zion – one of the names for Jerusalem – with the re-establishment of Israel as a modern state, is the fulfillment of the millennia-long aspiration of the Jewish people for the right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland.

I stand with Israel because the Land of Israel is the celebrated homeland of the Jewish people to which it has religious rights, historical rights and legal rights.

The rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel were codified in international law at the San Remo Conference of 1920 and remain in effect to this day.

At this conference to decide the future of the former territories of the Ottoman Empire, a binding international agreement was reached “to reconstitute the ancient Jewish State within its historic borders.” The desire to restore the Jewish people to its native land was then ratified by a unanimous vote of The League of Nations, thereby correcting the historical injustice of forced exile. As the British, tasked with re-settling the Jewish people within its ancestral homeland, declared, the Jewish people are in this land “as of right and not on sufferance.”

I stand with Israel because with the horrific persecution and slaughter of Christians throughout the Middle East, Israel is a safe haven. As the Vicar of St. George’s Church in Baghdad Canon Andrew White says of Israel, it is “the only place in the Middle East [where] Christians are really safe.” As Father Gabriel Naddaf, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Yafia, near Nazareth, says of Israel, “In no Arab country do Christians have as good a life as they have in the State of Israel.”

Much of the harm that is being perpetrated against the State of Israel and the Jewish people today is predicated on carefully crafted lies designed to denigrate the Jewish state and convey a picture of Israel that is at odds with reality. To so many who suffer at the hands of the true oppressors in the region, Israel stands as a symbol and a place of freedom, a society to emulate.

I stand with Israel, recognizing the extraordinary humanity and decency of the Israel Defense Forces. As Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified at the United Nations: “The Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”

I stand with Israel because Israel has built a thriving country that protects the rights of its citizens, protects freedom of religion and ensures that all religions have access to their religious sites – something that was not allowed when Israel was not governing Jerusalem. Israel protects a free press, minority rights and women’s rights in a part of the world where such rights and protections are alien. Minorities participate in all areas of civic life. As Israel’s first Beduin diplomat, Ishmael Khaldi, declares, “I am a proud Israeli – along with many other non-Jewish Israelis who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East... By any yardstick you choose – educational opportunity, economic development, women and gay’s rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation – Israel’s minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.”

I stand with Israel because the core value of Tikkun Olam – “repairing the world” – guides its every step. MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, has trained close to 270,000 course participants from approximately 132 countries in the hope of sharing with developing countries Israel’s innovations and technology in beneficial ways.

In addition, Israel is consistently a first responder in times of crisis the world over. In 2010, Israel was among the first nations to send relief and rescue units to Haiti after the earthquake.

Former US president Bill Clinton had stated: “I don’t know what we would have done without the Israeli hospital in Haiti. The Israeli hospital was the only operational facility which was able to perform surgery and advanced tests.”

In 2011, Israel sent aid to Turkey.

Israel sent an aid team to Japan at the time of the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

In Boston, in the wake of the horrific Marathon Day bombings, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital credited Israel with training the hospital’s first-response team. In 2013, in response to the typhoon in the Philippines, a 147-member delegation and 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies were dispatched in aid.

In 2015, Israel sent a team of 250 medical personnel and rescue workers to Nepal after the earthquake there.

Aboud Dandachi, a Syrian refugee who launched the website Thank You Am Israel, said, “History will record that when Syrians were being turned away from Arab countries and most European ones, the Jewish people opened their hearts to our plight... I grew up with statements like ‘these people are your enemies. The Jews are evil.’ And then I saw that the Jews are the most humane and generous people of this era.”

I stand with Israel because during the 20th century, when the vast majority of the 850,000 Jews who were living in Arab countries and Iran had to flee for their lives – leaving behind billions of dollars in property in their hundred, or even thousand- year-old communities – Israel provided a safe haven for approximately 600,000 of these Jewish refugees. Israel continues to provide a welcoming country for Jews who are fleeing the often violent anti-Semitism that they encounter today around the world.

I stand with Israel against those who attempt to rewrite history and thereby deny the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel. I stand against those who try to rename the Jewish homeland, obscure its history and then accuse Jews of being occupiers there. I stand with Israel against those who regularly attempt to write the Jewish people out of Jewish history.

If something as irrefutable as the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel and to Jerusalem – the holy city towards which every Jew turns to pray – can be so misrepresented, and the biblical, spiritual, historical and legal rights of the Jewish people can be so astonishingly dismissed, if those around the world can literally invert history and accuse Jews of being occupiers in the very cradle of Jewish history and civilization, then the dire necessity to stand up and fight against this attempt to subvert the truth and rob Jews of their history, heritage and homeland has never been more clear.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNES CO), betraying its own declared mission to “encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world,” outrageously passed a resolution declaring the Tomb of Rachel (Kever Rachel) a Muslim site.

Jews have prayed in Bethlehem at the holy site of the matriarch Rachel’s tomb throughout the centuries.

So firmly identified with the Jewish people is Rachel’s Tomb that in 1830, the Turks issued a royal decree recognizing Jewish rights at this Jewish holy site. The governor of Damascus instructed the mufti of Jerusalem that “the tomb of esteemed Rachel... they [the Jews] are accustomed to visit it from ancient days; and no one is permitted to prevent them or oppose them [in] this.”

And yet, so many today are simply accepting at face value fabricated “history” which denies who the Jewish people are and which, by a vote and resolution, writes the Jewish people out of their own history.

I stand with Israel and ask others to recognize and stand up for the truth.

As Jews throughout Israel today are being murdered and maimed for the “crime” of being a Jew living in the Jewish homeland, I stand with Israel against those who declare a moral equivalence between perpetrator and victim. I stand with Israel against those who ignore and repeatedly fail to condemn the violence, the lies, the incitement and the acts of terrorism when these are perpetrated against Israel.

I stand with Israel because in every generation – well before 1967, well before 1948 – there are those who rise up and try to annihilate the Jewish people and chase them from their ancestral homeland.

There was the Hebron massacre of 1929, when Arabs slaughtered their Jewish neighbors who had resided in Hebron for literally thousands of years.

There was no “Green Line” at this time; there was no modern State of Israel.

In 1938, in Tiberias, terrorists went from house to house killing parents and children.

Again, there was no “Green Line”; there was no Jewish state.

In 1954, in Scorpion’s Pass (Ma’ale Akrabim), 11 men and women were murdered as their bus traveling from Eilat to Beersheba was attacked. This was long before the Six Day War of 1967.

In 1956, in Shafrir, terrorists fired on a synagogue full of children and teenagers.

In 1972, Israeli Olympic athletes were killed in Munich, Germany.

In 1974, schoolchildren on a field trip from Safed were executed in Ma’alot in northern Israel.

On June 1, 2001, a terrorist detonated a bomb while standing in a crowd of mostly teenagers outside a discotheque in Tel Aviv. 21 people were killed and 120 were wounded.

I stand with Israel because the ongoing violence perpetrated against the Jewish people in the Land of Israel stems from the rejection of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish ancestral homeland.

It stems from the complete failure to recognize the Jewish people as being entitled to the same rights and recognition as others. It stems from the absolute rejection of the right of the Jewish people to security, to self-determination, and to peace.

Had Israel’s neighboring countries ever offered Israel any kind of reciprocity, any recognition that the Jews, like the Arabs, were entitled to self-determination in the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people where Jews have lived continuously since ancient times; had Israel’s neighbors welcomed, or at least tolerated, the Jewish people’s right to its sliver of the Middle East, the right to one Jewish state amid 23 Arab states, there would be peace. As boycotts, divestment, and sanctions are regularly threatened and implemented in order to denigrate, criminalize and isolate the Jewish state, and relentless pressure is brought to bear on the Jewish people to forfeit its heartland and homeland where Jews have lived for thousands of years, it is unconscionable that good and fair-minded people would condone this ongoing assault on a sovereign nation. And yet there are those, whether through lack of information or lack of good will, allowing for, and at times aiding with, this ongoing injustice.

I stand with Israel because the good or evil of any generation is determined by what good people will allow. I stand with Israel, together with people of good will, because the evil that is being perpetrated against Israel today will not be tolerated.

The author has served as the spiritual leader of Boston-area congregations for over two decades. In addition to her congregational and community work, she worked at The David Project developing curricula related to Israel, was a research analyst at CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), and was a co-founder of Rabbis and Ministers for Israel.


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