We are at war. Israel, and the Jewish people, are at war with Hamas. The crimes that have been discovered in the South have been worse than anything we could have imagined. Massacres of Jews that we have not seen since the Holocaust.
There can be no ambiguity now. No fence-sitting. We cannot adjust our language to make the world around us feel more comfortable. We must be honest about who and what we are. Jews originate from Israel; it is our indigenous land. The State of Israel represents the modern Jewish state, the only one in the world. It is our home.
Some Jews feel uncomfortable with the idea that we are as connected to one another, and to Israel, than to the countries of our birth. But now, during this dark time, we must set this discomfort aside. We must embrace our responsibility to one another, to our homeland, and to the continuation of the Jewish people. All Jews are responsible for one another.
Jews everywhere must answer the call
We must acknowledge and respect our uniqueness, our indigenousness, and our Jewish identity. It is irrelevant that I was born in the UK; I am a son of Israel. My home and my brothers and sisters, including my actual brother and sister and their families, are under attack. Jews everywhere must answer the call and come to their aid.
There can be no ambiguity about our loyalty. We must be loyal to Israel. This does not mean we are disloyal to the countries of our birth, but we are loyal to our homeland. We must defend our land because it is our land. It is where our civilization began and developed. It is where Jews in exile were, and are, rooted and desperately yearned to return to. Israel and its civilization have been the binding glue that held the Jewish people together in exile.
We will not apologize for reclaiming our indigenous home. We will not apologize for building a modern, powerful nation on the ruins of our ancient civilization. We will not apologize for surviving. That is what we do. We survive and we thrive.
We will proudly wear our Zionism as a badge of honor. There will be no ambiguity about it, no need to qualify it in an attempt to be perceived as palatable by our non-Jewish neighbors. We don’t care what they think. We are Jews, we are Zionists, and we love Israel – our home. We will support it with words, with money, and with our hearts.
We will answer the call. With Jewish pride. With Zionism.
There will come a time for mourning. For processing. For undoing the trauma that has – yet again – been inflicted upon us by our enemies. But now is the time for action. We must actively support Israel and her war effort. We will give Israel everything we have, which is less than it deserves.
We are at war. This is not a war we wanted. Nor is it one we started. But we will not ignore it. We will not pretend this existential threat isn’t real. We will fight with whatever resources we have at our availability. And this goes for Jews in the Diaspora too. We must fight. With our words. Our wallets and our hearts. Whatever we can fight with, we must fight.
The Jews are an extraordinary people. We are the most continuously persecuted minority in the history of humanity, and yet here we are in 2023 still fighting. We are not – as our enemies would hope – weak or powerless. In fact, we never have been. We survive to this day because of our strength. Because of our resilience. Our perseverance. And most importantly, our undying commitment to our Jewishness and to Israel.
We are the descendants of the Maccabees, the Bar-Kochba revolutionaries, the Warsaw Ghetto uprisers, the sons and daughters of 1948 and 1967. And so many more. Their bravery and courage live on in us today.
What is happening in Israel is unprecedented. It must shake us to our core. And it must lead us to strengthen and reinforce our commitment to her and to the Jewish people.
There is no time for ambiguity. There is Israel. There is Jewishness. And there is the fight to protect both.
Am Yisrael Chai. Long live the people of Israel – always.
The writer is the founder of the modern Jewish Pride movement, an educator, and the author of Jewish Pride: Rebuilding a People. His new book, Reclaiming Our Story: The Pursuit of Jewish Pride, is now available.