For many centuries when we were dispersed among European nations, we endured torture, suffering, persecution, inquisitions, pogroms, forced conversions, expulsion, imprisonment, ghettos…all because we were guilty of the crime of having been born Jews. And we were silent. Our cries were heard only by the God of Israel. Our persecutors mocked us and scorned us for not being willing to accept the faith of a false messiah, himself born and died as a Jew.
Our silence brought only death upon us. Our thrice daily prayers repeated our faithfulness to the One and Only True God and we rejected the idolatry of others. We yearned for the coming of a messiah of the House of David who would restore us to our ancient and never forgotten homeland, Eretz Yisrael, the land of our patriarchs and matriarchs, judges, prophets, priests and kings.
In generations when we dared to speak up and to cry out against those who sought to destroy us, we paid dearly with our lives and with our blood. And so we learned to remain a silent people.
But we are silent no more. Our enemies despised us when we were silent and they despise us when we speak up. The tragic years of 1939-1945 taught us the bitterness of our silence. And so we spoke. We made demands upon the nations of the world. We told them that we demanded the return of the land of our fathers to us, that we might live on its soil, till its soil, plant in its soil, harvest from its soil and build our homes on its soil.
Our cries and our distress touched the guilty consciences of many nations and in 1947 they agreed to our demands, limiting us, however, to areas that did not impinge upon the people who had settled on the land during the years of our exile. We wanted all the land which God promised to Abraham but we reluctantly agreed to share it with a semi-nomadic people who called it their home.
In 1948 when an alien power was forced to relinquish governing over us and left our land, we proclaimed our independence after a two thousand year exile.
Our neighbors chose to destroy us and our dream of being a free people in our own land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem. They chose to go to war against us. It was a bad choice and it led to their defeat. As a result of their bad choice, thousands of their own people fled from us or were encouraged by us to flee.
Tens of thousands of our people from all lands of their dispersion flocked to our shores to live among us and to share our dream. They built houses and they dwell in them. Our neighbors who fled to nearby countries were not allowed to build houses. And until today they dwell in tents, shacks of tin, in refugee camps dreaming the impossible dream of returning to the land from which they fled.
Bad choices lead to bad results. Those who did not flee but who chose to remain living among us live as free people with all the rights and privileges which our blessed nation bestows upon all her citizens.
Now again we are living in dangerous times. Terrorists, young and old, daily seek our deaths. And the world keeps silent when they succeed in killing us but there is a huge outcry when we defend ourselves, resulting in the deaths of our enemies.
NO. We will not keep silent. DAYENU. It is enough. When a hand is prepared to strike us, we will return the strike with even greater force. Let the nations of the world take counsel, talk of boycotts and divestments. We have overcome their enmity in the past and we shall overcome it now and in the future.
Bad choices will always lead to bad results. But we will keep silent no longer. For our enemies, our finger is on the trigger to defend our lives. For our people, our trust is in God who is the Source of our lives. And our strong faith will accompany us on the highway to peace.