Syria 101: The Simple Version

Syria is now in the news due to the latest atrocity – chemical weapons being used on civilians.

Due to the prevalence of fake news, I’m seeing a lot of confusion regarding the attack: Who did it? Why? Is it real? Many people don’t know what source to trust and/or do not know where to go to get a clear picture of what is happening and why they should care about it.

I hope to be able to present the reality in a way that is easy to understand. Please note that this is a simplified version, there are more ins and outs to this issue than I will cover. My goal is to give the main points and clear away the confusion.

Accurate sources

Question 1: Who can you trust to give you accurate information what is happening in Syria?

With the amount of obviously fake news flying around and news slanted for political purposes, I highly recommend being ultra-skeptical. Ask questions: Who is reporting the news? Why are the saying what they are saying? What is their source? Do they actually know what they are talking about?

Israeli news is a good source. We too have bias in our news but, in general, the audience is well aware of the bias and can take the reports with the necessary grain of salt.

Israel’s Middle Eastern Affairs analysts are probably the best in the world. They get information that sometimes never appears on American news. I will never forget hearing one of Israel’s older analysts explain on 9/11, as we were watching the towers burn, that it was probably Al-Qaeda who did it. How long did it take till Americans found out who attacked them?

Amongst all of our experts, I believe Tzvi Yechezkeli is the best. He is the creator of the groundbreaking series Allah Islam and Hijra.


Question 2: So, what actually happened?

About the latest atrocity in Idlib, Syria, Tzvi Yechezkeli reported that Assad deliberately, with Russian agreement, attacked Syrian civilians first with chemical weapons (Sarin gas) and then bombed the hospital in that area (which is where the wounded were seeking care).

Most of the people killed were women and children. The Syrians are reporting that 70 people died and hundreds were injured.

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Why did this happen?

Question 1:
Why would Assad attack his own people?

The purpose of this attack was to signal to all of the “rebels” standing against Assad that there is no way for them to win. The image of the lengths he is willing to go to was intended to be his “victory” image.

But why would a leader of a state bomb his own people? It is hard for people who live in democracies to comprehend what a dictatorship actually means. To the dictator, it is not the people that matter, remaining in power is the only thing that counts. This has been true throughout history, all over the world and is true today as well.

The other piece of this puzzle is the myth of Arab Nationhood. This is a European fantasy, created for the benefit of Europeans (ever heard of Lawrence of Arabia?). In reality, Syria (for example) consists of tribes. Assad’s “people” are the ones that belong to his tribe. Other people can be lived with, as long as they submit to him. If they do not, it is legitimate to fight them.


Question 2:
Why would the Russians agree to something so horrible?

The Russians gave permission to commit this attack because they are interested in keeping Syria intact as their base in the Middle East. Assad staying in power is the easiest way to do this. If the “rebels” win, Syria disintegrates into a number of tribal areas, not controlled by any one power.

The Russians view the “rebels” as terrorists whom they want to beat. Although not all of the people in the widely-varied group labeled “rebels” are terrorists, many are: there are ISIS fighters, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham a Syrian offshoot of Al-Qaeda in addition to others who simply seized the opportunity to rebel against Assad’s corruption. The Russians believe that in the war against terrorists, the end justifies the means. In other words, if committing an atrocious attack clamps down on terrorism, that’s a good thing.


Who are the “good guys”?

Question 1: Who is on Assad’s side?

Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.
Support Assad and you get the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world – Iran.

This has led to the slaughter of Syrians who are not the right kind of Muslim, the mass migration to Europe and put the State of Israel in real danger. For us it is not ISIS on the border that is the real problem, it is Iran and their pet terror organization Hezbollah

The Russians are supporting the regime’s story that they bombed a rebel weapons cache that held the gas. In other words, they were trying to rid Syria of chemical weapons and it is the “bad” rebels who caused the horror of women and children gassed to death. This is an obvious lie but if enough people will fall for it or go along for the ride, they will be able to get away with it.

Interestingly, reports from Arab media sources say that the Russians made it clear to Assad that he was not to use chemical weapons on Israeli civilians.


Question 2: Who is on the rebels side?

ISIS, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and miscellaneous fighters. In the beginning of the Syrian civil war, it was a video of a rebel fighter eating the liver of a Syrian soldier he had just killed that horrified the world. Who remembers that now?

The American government supported the Free Syrian Army, decided to train them and bring them weapons – before realizing that the same anti-Assad, “good guys” fought shoulder to shoulder with ISIS.

The enemy of your enemy is not your friend.



Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, Israel has been helping wounded Syrians.

There is something about using Sarin gas that makes Jewish skin crawl. It doesn’t matter who is on the receiving end of the attack. Do you have to have had family members who were gassed to death to recognize the horror?

Our enemies are our enemies but they are also people. There are certain things you just don’t do.

Our Prime Minister was the only world leader I heard who immediately, loudly denounced the attack and demanded that the rest of the chemical weapons be removed from Syria.

Red lines need to be embedded in stone, not in the sand. Some things are just not acceptable. Obviously, women and children are not a legitimate target. Gassing anyone is horrifying. Bombing a hospital is wrong in more ways than I have words.

Thanks to Obama, Iran is on my doorstep. Hezbollah is more powerful than before the 2006 war and poses a direct, very serious threat to Israel. ISIS is also on our doorstep.

Thanks to Obama and Kerry’s lauded “diplomatic methods”, Syrians are being massacred, millions have been displaced, Europe is overrun with refugees and there are still chemical weapons in Assad’s hands.

It was American choices that destabilized the region, creating the environment in which Syria fell apart. It was American choices that left a vacuum in the region, making it possible for Russia to step in and open the door wider for Iran.

This is a proxy war.

God help us all.

Originally published in Inspiration from Zion.

The Irony of International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Did you know that Israel commemorates the Holocaust on a different date than the International Holocaust Remembrance Day?

The world would have preferred to forget. In 2005, Israel finally succeeded to attain UN recognition of an internationally recognized Holocaust Remembrance Day. January 27th was chosen as this was the date of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945.

Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day is determined by the Jewish calendar, not the international (Christian) calendar. The date chosen does not mark a specific occurrence- it signifies the place of the Holocaust within the framework of the Jewish experience.

Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated one week after the end of the Passover holiday which celebrates God liberating the Jewish people from slavery in ancient Egypt, the Exodus, receiving the Torah and returning as the Nation of Israel to the promised land, Israel.

One week after Holocaust Memorial Day, Israel marks the Memorial Day for IDF soldiers and victims of terrorism. The attempt to exterminate the Jewish people did not end with the Holocaust. To this day, we must fight to survive, free in our own land – not like the slaves our ancestors once were, not at the mercy of the “civilized” of the world as our grandparents were… Today we have the power to fight our own battles and sadly, fight we must. Terrorism is proof that the hate against us has not abated, only morphed in to a different form with different excuses used as justification.

Caught outside with no protection, an Israeli mother shields her child from Hamas missile bombardment

Even in our own land, the Jewish people are still being victimized.

The night of Memorial Day for our soldiers is the beginning of our Independence Day celebrations. This gut-wrenching juxtaposition is our reality. One does not exist without the other.

For the rest of the world the Holocaust is an event that occurred during a war that effected most of the globe. For Israel, the Holocaust is a concentrated example of the Jewish experience – the hate directed at us simply because we exist, the horrors civilized people are capable of, the sacrifice of silent heroes, the resilience of a people determined not only to survive, but to thrive and make the world better than it was before. The miracle of our existence, a miracle renewed throughout our history as described in the Passover story, part of what we must repeat each year so that our children remember: “In every generation people rise up against us, to exterminate us and every time God saves us from their hands.”

Not once. Every time.

The Holocaust was a defining moment in history but it is not what has defined our people. Our legacy is more ancient and our experiences more complex even than the unspeakable horror that was the Holocaust.

Our suffering, inverted and appropriated

An International Day for Holocaust Remembrance in today’s world is bizarre and almost laughable.

Today Jews are denied the right to live safely in our own land while the world denies that a problem even exists.

“Never again” has become a commonly used slogan but there is no action behind the words. When people are being persecuted and slaughtered on the basis of their religion little to know action is taken to save them. Few give them refuge. Instead the slogan is bandied around in anti-Trump rallies, used to protest nonexistent persecution of Muslim while Christians and Yazidis are left to the tender mercies of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq or Boko Haram in Nigeria.

While there continue to be Holocaust deniers, others claim the Holocaust for themselves, saying that Jews are today committing the horrors of the Holocaust against defenseless Arabs. In this twisted imaginary reality, the victim becomes the perpetrator, making it logical, even honorable to attack the ex-victim.

The Jew hatred that almost exterminated our people is today being used to justify modern Jew hatred.

Once it was the “scientifically proven” inferiority of Jewish genetics that made it reasonable to round up Jews. Today it is the “proof” of social media, UN resolutions and campus demonstrations that defines Israel as an immoral oppressor that must be “resisted” (read = terrorized / boycotted / divested etc.).

The Jews of Europe were told they should “go back to Palestine” because Palestine was Zion, homeland of the Jewish people. Now the Jewish people are being told that Israel is Palestine which they are occupying illegally.

From slavery in Egypt, the rise and fall of hostile empires, exile, the Spanish Inquisition, pogroms, the Holocaust, the wars against Israel and terrorism. Nations that witnessed and said nothing. Nations that blamed us while they were attacking us or allowing others to do so, hoping their collaboration against us would be their salvation from the violence of others.

What is different today?

What is the point of an international Holocaust Remembrance Day in a world desperate to forget? Around the world, the “civilized” remain silent. Or gleefully join in the “fun,” perverting the memory of our suffering, using it as a weapon against us…

Remembering Heroism

The Nation of Israel is a people commanded to remember. The idea is less to remember the suffering (though that too is important) and more to remember the lessons that are learned from the experiences.

What you do not remember, you are doomed to repeat.

In Israel, a single, critical word was added to the name of Holocaust Memorial Day: Heroism.

On the “Memorial Day for the Holocaust and Heroism” we remember what truly defines us as a nation. It is not the horrors perpetrated against us that shape who we are. It is heroism, the indomitable spirit of Israel that ensures our survival, against all odds. Ground in to ashes, we rise like the phoenix, reborn, stronger and more beautiful than ever before.

This is our miracle.

The Jewish resistance during WW2 was obviously heroic as was the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. We honor this heroism but also another, more quiet and profound:

The parents who hid their children, allowing themselves to be taken by the Nazi soldiers, hoping that their children would somehow survive. The parents that gave their children parting instructions: “Grow up to be a good person.”

The people who gave their food to those who needed it more.

The people who picked up their friends during the Death March and helped them continue walking so they could live another

The people that sang, created poetry and theater in the ghetto. The people that, even when they had nothing left, kept their prayer shawls and phylacteries. The people that celebrated the Sabbath and the holidays of Israel in the concentration camps.

The survivors who walked in to the unknown to create a new future for themselves. They got married, had children, pretending they were normal in hopes that their children could grow up to be truly normal.

The people who did not talk about the humiliation, starvation, torture and psyche twisting experiences they experienced because they felt that if they began talking everything would pour out and their children would drown in the horror.

The people that did talk about their experiences, in hope that their children would cherish those that did not survive, in hope that their children would be able to recognize new danger when it comes.

The people that had every reason in the world to give up but didn’t.

That is heroism.

What is different today?

The players have changed as have the locations but the story is still the same: Horror. Apathy. Memory. Heroism.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a nice idea. If only it meant something…

It is up to the Nation of Israel to remember the lessons of the Holocaust; it’s place within the framework of the Jewish experience and the spirit that has enabled our survival throughout the centuries.

“In every generation people rise up against us, to exterminate us and every time God saves us from their hands.”

It happens every time. We must never ever forget that.

Originally Published on Inspiration from Zion.


Jerusalem, above all joys

The debate about moving the American embassy to Jerusalem emphasizes, once again, the lack of comprehension of the importance of Jerusalem to the Nation of Israel.

The destruction of the Jewish Temple meant the destruction of the most holy, pivotal location to the Jewish religion, culture and people. Destruction of the Temple was an attempt to destroy the Jewish nation – take out the cultural linchpin, the one element that ties everyone together and everything will fall apart.

It is written:
As the navel is set in the centre of the human body,
so is the land of Israel the navel of the world…
situated in the centre of the world,
and Jerusalem in the centre of the land of Israel,
and the sanctuary in the centre of Jerusalem,
and the holy place in the centre of the sanctuary,
and the ark in the centre of the holy place,
and the Foundation Stone before the holy place,
because from it the world was founded.
(Roman-Era Midrash Tanchuma)

It is believed that the Foundation Stone is the foundation God used to create the world. Around this stone the Temple was built and within the Temple, on the Foundation Stone, the Ark of the Covenant was placed. This is the source of the holiness of the Temple and its importance to Judaism.

The image people around the world today have of the Temple Mount is that of the golden domed mosque which was built on the ruins of the Temple in 691 C.E. Since that time the Dome of the Rock has been a holy place for the Moslem people – although not central to their religion. Considered the third holiest location in Islam, it is not mentioned a single time in the Koran.

It was once common practice for a conquering people to build holy sites on top of existing holy places. Historically this was a successful way to both show domination of the location as well as a way to incorporate the local population in the new religion.

The Temple has been central to the Jewish people since the construction of the first Temple (957 B.C.E.). To this day, Jews around the world pray facing the direction of the site of the Temple Mount.

The Kotel is the Western Wall of the Temple which remains standing (an external supporting wall). The wall is so important that it has become in Jewish consciousness THE Wall. It needs no other name. Millions of Jews come to the Kotel every year, it is always open and people can be found there, every day, 24/7, around the clock. The Kotel is never empty and it is in fact one of the most frequented locations in the world, seeing approximately 11 million guests each year.

Jews in exile in Babylon are described in Psalm 137 as stubbornly remembering the full glory of Jerusalem, explaining to their captors that they would always look towards the holy city: “May my tongue cleave to my mouth, if I ever think not of thee, if I ever prize not Jerusalem above all joys!”

To this day, in Jewish weddings, before the couple is formally married, the groom proclaims this statement before the guests and breaks a cup with his foot to symbolize sorrow for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

On what is supposed to be the happiest day in the life of the couple, they stop, putting sorrow and longing for the Temple first. This is a powerful statement.

The 9th day of the month of Av (Jewish calendar) is the day when both the first and second Temples were destroyed, the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the second by the Romans in 70 C.E. It is a day of fasting and mourning for religious Jews around the world.

Thinking about the meaning of Tisha B’Av, the day of mourning, I am beginning to see, (or maybe feel is a better word) that this is symbolic of all our problems – Israel’s and those of the world.

The Foundation Stone of the world, the site of the Temple mount, is dominated by a mosque. It is known that active destruction of antiquities has been occurring since the Waqf was given control of the Temple Mount. Dr. Mordechai Kedar, (Department of Arabic, Bar-Ilan University) explains: “These actions are being carried out in the context of a practice known in Arabic as Tams al-ma’alem, an expression that means ‘erasing the signs’ in the sense of destroying the relics of all cultures that preceded Islam.”

Jews are allowed to enter the site of the Temple but ironically are not allowed to pray there. In fear of Moslem rioting, to avoid violence, Jews who enter the Temple Mount must not be heard praying or show any signs of prayer. If they bow to the Holy of Holies, they are escorted out of the site.

Imagine having other people in your home who, because they had been there for so long, you do not attempt to evict, but only request to share the space with them. Imagine being told that you are allowed to stand outside the back door, outside the cellar, that you can watch while others enter and leave, doing as they please in your home…

Secular Jews do not fast on Tisha B’Av and though most Israelis have visited the Kotel, only a minority has actually ascended to the Temple Mount. The drifting away from putting Jerusalem above all other joys has significance that surpasses religion, encompasses history and has direct influence on our future.

The spiritual explanation says that ramifications of being disconnected or even barred from the source of the holiness of the world deeply impacts not only on the Jewish people but the entire planet as well.

History says that the cultural significance of Jerusalem and yearning for the Temple was a key factor in keeping the Jewish people intact over the centuries. When other nations rose and fell, the Nation of Israel remained, stubborn in their focus, insisting on returning to Israel and to Jerusalem – no matter how long it took or how much suffering was experienced along the way.

The Temple is what ties us to Jerusalem and Jerusalem is what ties us to Israel. Without either of these, we risk losing all.

This is an issue of priorities, of belonging, respect and freedom. These are magnified to extreme intensity here, at the navel of the world, but they have direct impact on the lives of all people, everywhere.

America under Obama, with the support of the UN and their latest anti-Israel resolution has done much to damage Israel’s connection to Jerusalem. America under Trump can help amend this. Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem is a good start.


“We built that”

Once upon a time, the people that built things with their own two hands were admired. The pioneers. Their sweat and the dirt beneath their fingernails was a badge of honor, a testament to their courage.

The builders, people who created something from nothing, were upheld as an example. They who made the rocky hills green, who planted vineyards and made fruit trees grow where, once, there was only desolation – they were the ones to emulate.

To set out alone, relying on no one but oneself was the mark of a man, free in his own land.

They toiled under the sun, individuals with a few family members. People with no family found friends who became family. Together they carved out an existence reborn in the land of their forefathers.

And the world watched in wonder.

They dug wells and planted seeds. They built homes and schools and synagogues. They created places of beauty. They laid the foundation so that more people could come and join them, start families and have children whose laughter rang in the wind as they ran on the hilltops.

Children that were free and strong, stubborn like their parents.

Children who knew they could do anything, achieve anything if they were willing to work hard, like their parents.

Can you imagine the pride of looking at a hill and knowing that it is green because you planted all the seeds? To bring forth wine from a land once empty? To put your arm over your son’s shoulders and tell him: “Son, do you remember the day we finished building the house? You helped me lay the titles for the roof. Our home, we did that, together.”

They are the pioneers.

Once they were admired.

In America, the land of my birth, pioneers of the land are barely remembered. Who remembers a time when there were no roads, no cities or towns, no gardens, no businesses?

“You didn’t build that” and “Build it for me” are much more common than, “Get out of my way and let me build for myself.”

In Israel, the land of my heritage, the pioneers are still building and creating new life where once there was none. No longer upheld as ones to be admired, they remain as stubborn as their parents. The ground resonates through their feet and the wild freedom of their hearts cannot be imprisoned by disapproval of others.

Looked on with scorn, the world now calls them the “settlers”. As if it is not due to their hard work that I have a place in which I can settle down and call home. As if there is any difference between the “settlers” of today and the pioneers of a generation ago, our founders responsible for the rebirth of this land.

People whisper in horror: “They are religious fanatics, ideologues.” As if it was not thousands of years of keeping faith with our religion and our heritage that led the pioneers back to the land that, even in exile, was always home.

As if the idea of being a self-actualized nation, free in our own land, is a right reserved only for those who are not Jewish.

Many say, “What is wrong with them? Why do they put their children in danger?” The pioneers know that being custodians of the land of our ancestors comes at a terrible price.

The murderous waves of hatred of those who wish Jews gone from the land of our fathers break upon the backs of the pioneers. All too often they pay in blood and tears for the right to enjoy what they built with their own two hands. It takes a will of steel to stand unmoving but they know that they stand in the gap. Should they step aside, the waves will crash, washing away everything: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Haifa.

What choice is there?

They are the pioneers. Courageous and bold, stubborn and unbending, they remain unchanged in a world that has changed dramatically.

They have earned everything they have. They built what we have today.

And I, who have built nothing, am grateful.

Originally Published on Inspiration from Zion.

Body Count

As terror attack follows terror attack, the body count rises.

How many bodies are enough? 1? 20? 200? 6 million?

When will enough be enough?

But who counts the bodies of those left behind?The body count rises.

Parents murdered, orphans left behind… Who considers the children who have to grow up without parents?

The boys with no father to teach them how to be a man. The girls with no mother to guide them in to their womanhood.

Children with no parents to comfort them after a nightmare.

Children who saw their parents murdered in front of them… their nightmare is real.

Children murdered. Parents who have to bury their son or daughter.

The child they loved, held in their arms, watching every step they took as they grew.

Does the baby eat enough? Is he growing fast enough? Don’t let her fall, she’s learning to walk, she might get hurt.

Worrying over skinned knees, grades in school. Is he hanging out with the right kind of friends?

Worry cut short by the blade, bullet or bomb of a terrorist.

Their baby will never be cold, tired or hungry again. Never laugh. Never smile. Never grow up.

Who counts the tears of parents?

The sleepless nights?

The days full of effort to be normal, trying not to burden others with their sorrow. Trying to not fill guilty for being happy.

The thoughts flit through the mind a thousand times a thousand: “Oh how lovely! My daughter would have loved that!” or “That would have made my son laugh so hard his drink would spurt out of his nose like it did that time when…”

It only takes a split second for the thought to rise up, for realization to beat it down.

There will be no more shared moments with the beloved one, torn away.

Who notices the stabbing heartache in the eyes of the parent as it suddenly comes and then is shoved back down in the effort to be normal?

Who counts the brothers deprived of their sisters? The sisters deprived of their brothers?

Who counts the children who held their siblings in their arms as they died?

Who counts the children who protected their siblings while terrorists murdered their parents?

Who counts the children who became parents to their younger brothers and sisters? Or those who took in and raised the children of their murdered siblings?

The grandparents who raised their grandchildren because the parents, their children had been murdered?

Who counts the friends who lost their best friends?

Who can fill the hole left behind?

Who counts the pain of losing a friend, a neighbor, a classmate?

A stranger who was there, murdered instead of you?

Who counts the bodies of the grieving? The bodies of the traumatized?

Who counts their percentage in the population? What it means to a tiny nation to lose even one person?

If no one counts the bodies

No bodies count.

Not Jewish bodies. Certainly not Israeli bodies.

Those are excusable murders.

And the triumph of spirit of those who continued living despite the grief and the horror is taken for granted.

And the loss to the world does not matter.

Who counts the books that would have been written?

The music that would have been composed?

The scientific discoveries, the medical innovations, the lives that would have been bettered or even saved had that one person lived to fulfill their potential?

No body counts …

The problem is that if the world doesn’t learn from the experiences of the Jewish Nation,

They will have to learn for themselves.

Maybe when it is the bodies of their friends, their loved ones,

When the horror knocks on their door,

Maybe then they will begin to count.

Originally published on Inspiration from Zion.


[watch] Giving heart and soul…

When it seems there is nothing left, there is still heart and soul.

Around the world there are people busy spreading hate, shouting about killing Jews: “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free (i.e. free of Jews)” and “Too bad Hitler didn’t finish the job”. In Gaza there are people actively trying to kill us, bombarding our children with missiles and planning terror attacks in to our towns.

In Israel we are focused on each other, on protecting homes and lives. Many are grieving; many more are struggling with wounds from Hamas attacks.

Parents send their children to the army. They don’t go for the fun and adventure. They go because it’s necessary to protect our family and friends from people bent on destroying us.

Parents spend years doing everything they can to keep their children safe until suddenly, the tables are turned and the children become the protectors.

Israeli parents watch with pride and carefully concealed terror when their children, now soldiers, go to battle. Every wounded soldier might be their soldier. Every car that stops outside their home, every knock on the door, might be the army representatives coming to tell them that their beloved son (or husband and sometimes daughter or wife) is dead.

When soldiers are brought wounded to the hospital, a new more private battle begins. The battle for recovery can take years, sometimes complete recovery is not possible.

Parents of the wounded race to the hospital and then have to wait. Watch and wait as doctors battle wounds to repair the body. Wait for each tiny step in the healing process. Now closer to their child, they are still fairly helpless. What can be done but watch and wait?

When it seems there is nothing left, there is love.

In this clip you can see the Israeli singer Muki using his song “Free Heart” to pour love in to a wounded soldier, to boost his healing strength. In this small way he could give back to those who had given everything to protect us all.

Watch the clip, the face of the reporter describing what happened – it’s not the words that matter, it’s the emotion. Muki explains, that the people he met in the hospital were revealed in all their glory and beauty (of their souls) and he hopes that the people of Israel will be able to hold on to the knowledge that this is who we are, also when we are not in the midst of a crisis – because that is who we are.

Watch Muki sing: “Free heart. Today my heart is free, no chains, no more worries…”

I don’t know how this will affect non-Israelis. Can you see the love? Can you feel its power?

This is our strength. Even when nothing is left, we still have heart and soul.


Civilized Savages and the Lessons They Teach

Tel Aviv, British Mandate Palestine:

Heart pounding, a 12 year old girl Jewish girl runs down the street. Her legs pumping as fast as they can go. She looks behind her. Fear gripping her stomach, she sees that the gang of Arab men is gaining on her, their knives flashing in the sunlight.

If they catch her they will kill her.

To them it is a game. Sport. She knows that what’s at stake is her life.

She hears laughter from above. Looking up, she sees British soldiers on the rooftops.

For a fleeting moment, she thinks they will help her. They could stop the men. They could save her!

To her horror, she realizes that the British soldiers are laughing at HER. They were taking wagers, betting on the chances of the Jewish girl escaping death.

Hope fades as quickly as it had been ignited.

She runs till she feels her heart is about to burst, her little legs collapse beneath her. Then, suddenly, a door opens. A hand stretches out and grabs her, pulling her inside.

An Arab woman was bending over her, gesturing for the Jewish girl to be quiet. Urgently she pulled the girl to the back of her house.

What did this woman want from her? It took the girl a moment to understand that the woman was ushering her out the back door of the house. The Arab woman was providing an escape route, offering the girl life.

I am alive today because that Arab woman saved my grandmother’s life.

The 12 year old girl grew up to be my grandmother. My Jewish Palestinian grandmother had an Israeli daughter. The Arab woman was also a Palestinian. At the time the term referred to Jews and Arabs who lived in the land of Zion. The land was renamed by the foreign occupying power to diminish its legacy as the home of the Jewish people but at the same time the Jews of Europe were being told to “go home to Palestine.” Everyone knew that Palestine was Zion, the land of Israel, home of the Jewish people.

The Arab woman who saved my grandmother was a hero. She, not the British soldiers, rescued my grandmother from the lynch mob of Arab men. She saw the danger, understood how terrible the consequences would be and acted morally – at her own personal risk. The soldiers also saw the danger, they also understood the consequences. Their reaction was to laugh.

Oh, so civilized…

Fast forward to 2016, the UN Security Council. The representatives of the world vote, declaring biblical Israel, Judea and Samaria, the Golan and Jewish Jerusalem occupied Palestinian land. Jewish presence is, they declare, illegal. Israeli towns, holy sites including the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in the heart of Jerusalem are “illegal settlements.” Suddenly, everything that tied Jews to Zion for thousands of years, the places that served as inspiration for the world, have nothing to do with Jews and Israelis have no right to be there.

One after another the representatives of the world vote to wipe Israel’s legacy off the books of history, knowing what this will mean for Israel’s present and future.

Israel’s eyes lifted to the American representative. America has a history of standing for right when the rest of the world is wrong. America, the land whose founders declared it the New Zion wouldn’t let the rest of the world declare that Zion never existed… would she?

The wars against Israel, fought and lost could not disconnect the Jews from Zion.

The terror tactics meant to push Jews off the land only made the Jewish people cling harder to their only homeland.

Now, in the comfort of a room half way around the world, the nations of the world declared victory for those who wish to remove Israel from Zion.

And they laughed. The crowd of spectators applauding, gleefully. History doesn’t matter, scientific proof doesn’t matter, international law doesn’t matter. “Getting the Jews” is fun. Sport. A reason to cheer.

How civilized.

And then there are the Egyptians. At first, they were convinced that submitting the UN resolution was a good idea. Realizing the damage it would do to Israel, they pulled the resolution.

Then the Americans found a different way to make sure the resolution was submitted and passed. The Egyptians were privy to the American betrayal of Israel and wanted to no part in it.

Even though Israel decided to hold back the details of the American plot, the Egyptians rushed to release the information, signaling to Israel: “We want peace, not your destruction. We want to help, not create damage.”

Watching these events unfold I am left to wonder, who is civilized and who is the savage?

We may have advanced but the world hasn’t changed. Sometimes the most “civilized” people or nations are the most vicious and to this day, many consider “getting the Jew” good sport.

The Jewish people must never be beholden to the mercy of the “civilized.” There is no one we can count on for security – but ourselves.

It is actions that count, not words. Content of character is all that matters – moral clarity, not titles or declarations of friendship.

Sometimes true friends are found in unexpected places. Sometimes they are the ones that pull us out of the jaws of death. Or at least they try.

Originally Posted on Inspiration by Zion