When we look at the horrors being depicted on our television screens, the sheer brutality and cruelness of our world, the murders of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, the massacre of countless civilians in Iraq and Syria, the execution of Palestinians in Gaza from Hamas forces, the callous and deliberate use of human shields, it is easy sometimes to throw up our arms and ask if there’s any hope.
But I believe there is ultimately hope, and the Jewish people often embody that. From the pits of hell, they have clawed their way out. From the target of man’s depraved mind, they have escaped. And not to live as victims, but as custodians of a way of life started 4000 years ago.
Jews aren’t perfect – never have been, never will be – just as any human being that has ever graced the earth. But what they have shown, sometimes individually and sometimes as a whole, is a capacity to rise above some of the most daunting odds ever faced by anyone. Israel is surrounded by many countries that would destroy it in a heartbeat. They are depicted as colonialists by latte sipping liberals in the West, who continue to ignore the hundreds of atrocities committed daily across the world. They are called racists and terrorists, by countries who really are racists and terrorists! Marches are held across the great cities of the earth protesting against their mere existence.
And yet somehow, they are still here, taking the crap that’s being dealt to them and turning it into manure to make the trees grow.
Now, as the world finally shows some signs of stirring from its deep slumber with the rise of the Islamic State, it’s important to note that Israel has been dealing with this threat for so many years already – and remains the last pinprick of civilisation in a region that is fast spiralling into despair.
Everyone in life has the capacity to do both good and evil, to heal and to harm, to torture and to nurture, to wage war and to make peace. Israel chooses to build while its enemies chooses to destroy – and that is the depiction of hope – not a lifeboat, but a yacht sailing across a sea of hopelessness with the mast held straight and the wind in her sails.
Israel is incredibly small yet its light is the only thing that prevents complete darkness in the Middle East. There are many in the world who find that light annoying and wish it would disappear or be moved… somewhere, but what they fail to realise is that darkness has a hunger and evil does not sleep. That darkness has already begun to spread.
Ultimately, it is not the world that will protect Israel, but it is Israel that has been protecting the world.