I know — silly right? You’re fast asleep now (hopefully), resting before the big day tomorrow. Did Esther sleep before she went before the King to beg for the lives of her people? Here in Israel we are shopping for colorful costumes, getting ready to celebrate the joyous Purim holiday.
Thousands of years ago, an evil man from Persia rose up and promised to destroy the Jews. Esther, a young Jewish woman, and her wise uncle Mordechai saved the day and the Jews of Shushan and beyond and the evil man and his plan was revealed. The timing, the analogy…all that comes with you as you approach today’s engagement. What Esther had to do…that is your task today – to reveal the evil plan of the evil men from today’s Persia.
I’m glad you went to the Kotel, the Western Wall, Saturday night before leaving for the United States. It is the last remnant from the times of our Holy Temple, destroyed over 2,000 years ago. There, every day, through the day and through the night Jews go to pray. As you speak to the Congress later today, remember that at the very moment you are speaking, Jews will be standing there praying.
I know that there are those who will call it a political opportunity, a photo op. But it wasn’t for politics when you served in the army; it isn’t politics when you quietly go visit your brother’s grave days before Memorial Day because you know that if you go ON Memorial Day you will disturb the peace of others who are visiting their lost loved ones. And because in peace you go to honor Yoni, as in peace you went Saturday night.
History is sitting on your shoulders and the weight of that defies politics. You said that you go to speak for all Jews. And whether the Jews of America or Europe accept that is not really the point; ultimately, if the tides turn and waves of anti-Semitism again come crashing down on Jewish communities, they will feel the violence first. Already that is happening. And with the danger, this time, they know there is Israel.
It always amazes me how focused the world is on little Israel and by contrast, how much little Israel does to influence the world. All that we develop, all the innovation that we share with the world – the basics of modern communication, of computer technology, medicines that save lives every day and amazing rescue teams that travel across seas to help others…that is what will stand behind you in a few hours when you stand up in front of the Congress and the world.
And I think that by going to the Kotel Saturday night, you know something else. Behind you is Israel – it is in the interest of every Israeli for you to succeed, for you to shine, to convince the world that the Amaleks and Hamans of the world are reborn in each generation and today, they can be found in many places where Jews are murdered in delis, beaten in Amsterdam, and threatened by leaders in Iran.
Behind you stands more than six million Jews whose lives were cut short but whose voices and souls still cry out. For these, you travel. For these, you accepted an invitation to speak to the world and they will be there behind you in just a few hours.
Behind you stands Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Sarah, Rivka, Leah and Rachel. They too will be listening and watching. Rachel will cry for her sons and her people and perhaps smile that you carry her youngest son’s name.
In front of you are the men and women who must be made to understand that the threat we face is the same one that waits to attack them. When they burn our flag, the flag of America is the next one thrown to the fire.
After the blow up buses and malls in Jerusalem, they collapse buildings in New York, subways in London, and trains in Madrid.
In front of you, is America – no, not the America of Barack Obama, but the America that stands for freedom from tyranny, the proud United States that bows to no one. They will be listening and if you do not speak for them, as you speak for us, you will be speaking to them…and they will listen.
Tell them, Bibi, tell them the truth that we have experienced first hand. We are a people thousands of years old. We know that when despots threaten to annihilate a people, they will do all in their power to accomplish it, to deliver death and pain to those they hate.
Tell them that what starts in Israel, goes out to the world – the light that came from being the people of one God, the Holy Book from the Holy Land. We gave the world the foundations of civilization as it is known today in the West – the value of life.
From the land of Israel, you come and to the land of Israel you will return after you speak. We can only hope that the world will listen.