Many of you may be familiar with Pastor Niemoller’s famous words, “First they came…” I will not tire you with the whole quote. You can easily find it via basic search on the Internet. I will only cite those words that matter to me as a Jew as an Israeli and should matter to the West and whatever else is left of the free world that values liberty and democracy in it various forms.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me
I beg to differ with Niemoller. As history, old and recent, teaches us, it is generally the Jews that they target and come for first.
Swedish Christian member of the Swedish parliament, Annelie Enochson, a great friend of Israel, once said: “It always starts with the Jews but it never ends with them.” And please believe me, I do not take pride nor draw any joy from her observation. Being an Israeli Jew endows me with many and far better other reasons to be proud of my people, my nation and my Home. We are leaders and great contributors in many fields of World Civilization.
Ms. Enochson’s words, however, amplify what I hope many will incorporate. Those who wish to see a safe future for themselves and their children, in particular, and the world, in general, need to understand that one way to achieve it is by keeping Israel strong.
A bird’s eye view of recent world history shows that Israel was the first to experience what the rest of the world ended up facing and what awaits it in the coming years. It is Israeli planes that were hijacked first. It was their Jewish and Israeli passengers that were taken hostage to faraway lands and threatened with death by ruthless terrorists first. It is Israeli pizzerias and buses where our innocent young and old civilians were blown to pieces that were targeted first by modern day barbarians who celebrate the culture of Death. And it is Israeli communities along a hostile border that are shelled incessantly by those who refuse to learn to build, develop and grow.
Israel and its people had already learned to live with such calamities when many of the readers of these words were still in their cradles. We, Israelis and Jews, have not only learned our lessons. We have also shared with others our knowledge and gained expertise as a result of such learning.
“Israel is the Canary in the Coal Mine,” Geert Wilders, another dear friend if Israel and the Jewish people once defined us. Like the Canary bird whose help was enlisted by early coal miners to detect any dangerous gas build-ups, so is Israeli always in the frontline of any danger that is likely to face the world. As long as the Canaries continued to sing, the miners were safe. Unlike the actual Canary, however, which had little control over its fate, Israel was able to shape its destiny, become stronger and through its strength help a lost world shape its own. Since its inception in 1948, Israel has been and continues to be a bastion defending Western Civilization. It has been the bulletproof vest to a world that more than often refuses to wear it.
The Jews and Israel are a symbol of resilience. A once defenseless nation who in the words of Dimitri Shostakovich embodied all of “man’s defenselessness” rose from the ashes merely seventy years ago to fulfill its historical role in the chronicles of mankind. Like a pillar of smoke, it is here to guide the world and serve as its compass.
Whatever one, Jew or non-Jew, chooses to define Israel, the Jewish Homeland, as, there is one truth that remains unchallenged. Regardless of how imperfect Israel may be at times, the world needs a strong Israel. In the words of Niemoller, the world needs to speak out for Israel now if it wants someone to be there to speak out for it when “they” come for it. Because if there is one fact I am certain of, it is that one day, “they” who come for Israel will also come for the world.