Flipping through the pages of a history textbook, it’s difficult to find a time period in which the Jewish people were not persecuted. We have acted throughout history as the world’s scapegoat and punching bag; and it has taken a toll on us.
It’s important to remember, though, that there have been times when the Jew rose up and took his future into his own hands. In the time of Saul, David, and Solomon, the Jewish people fought and died so that we could once again live in the Promised Land, free from the bonds of slavery.
However, our sovereignty did not last. Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians all came to rule our land.
Eventually, though, the Maccabees came out of the hillside and rebelled fiercely against the Greco-Syrian rulers of Judea and emerged victorious, the rulers of a once-again free, Jewish state.
When the Romans came into power and exiled us from the Land of Israel, Jews were spread to every corner of the world. For 2,000 years we were homeless: expelled from Western European lands, massacred by the Russians, and slaughtered by the Germans.
Nobody came to our rescue.
During the Holocaust, when American pilots were sent to bomb Nazi facilities, they flew over the railroads to Auschwitz and did not bomb them. The Cubans did not let the passengers of the SS St. Louis enter their country, nor did the Americans. The British did not let Jews escaping persecution enter their own land. In sight of the land promised to us by G-d, and promised to us by the British, we were turned back to die in Europe.
Our decimated people, resilient as ever, did not lose hope. We returned to British Mandatory Palestine and recreated, with our own hands, the nation that the world has tried so hard to destroy.
The sovereign State of Israel is one of the greatest miracles of modern history. It is the miracle of a people reclaiming their land, building up the world’s most ethical army, innovating in fields of science, and recreating a country that serves today as a haven for the Jews of the world and for the Middle East’s persecuted minorities.
It is of utmost importance that we remember that neither the British nor the United Nations gave the Jews our state back. We took it back for ourselves.
The existence of the State of Israel serves as a reminder to Jews worldwide that our success and freedom come when we demand it.
Not living in Israel, most of the world’s Jews are ruled over by non-Jewish governments. They, the Jews of the exile, cannot forget that their leaders have abandoned them before and will do it again. When President Obama and Vice President Biden did not attend a rally in Paris to show worldwide solidarity against growing Islamic extremism manifested in the form of terrorism, American Jews must be furious at their government.
When on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, (the train tracks to which the United States refused to destroy) President Obama and Vice President Biden met with the new King of Saudi Arabia instead of attending a ceremony at the death camp, American Jews cannot give them excuses.
The time has come for Jews to realize that we only ever receive protection when we demand it from our governments. We cannot give excuses for leaders who let us burn in the ovens, then miss the funeral.
In the words of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, “Jews neither can nor should ever depend on any else for permission to stay alive.”