While visiting Tzfat, Israel I was told to be extra mindful of what I prayed for while there because prayers said from that mystical city were more likely to be answered. So what did I catch myself requesting from Heaven? I prayed that my children would always support Israel no matter how much of the world around them did not.
Like any woman, I like to receive an occasional compliment. It might surprise you, though, what I consider one of the highest compliments I could be given – to be called a Zionist. My prayer in Tzfat for my children came from the depth of my heart and gut and represented one of my greatest desires – for my children to follow in my footsteps and be Zionists.
Zionism is not a popular ideology these days. At least not according to the anti-Zionists who are very vocal regarding their revulsion to Zionism and all it represents. Those who track political and social trends have labeled anti-Zionism as the newest form of anti-Semitism; the latest mutation of a deadly virus that unfortunately keeps spreading. People who don’t want to be called out for being anti-Semitic, but who are clearly biased or discriminate against Jews, are quick to try to explain that they are not against Jews, per say, but are against the policies of the state of Israel.
The problem with that flimsy explanation, though, is that most of the policies of Israel that anti-Zionists are against are policies of survival and self-defense. For instance, anti-Zionists oppose security walls, checkpoints, blockades, and the “disproportional” IDF responses in Israel because they believe it creates hardships for Arabs. What they fail to mention, or even realize at times, is the necessity of the security walls, checkpoints, blockades, and military intervention in order to prevent terrorism, i.e. to prevent Arabs from murdering Jews.
If I could drum one fact into the populace it would be this: a Jew who kills an Arab simply for being an Arab is an anomaly. And when, God forbid, it happens the majority of Jews and the Jewish government condemn the murder. But an Arab who kills a Jew simply for being a Jew is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. And when, God forbid, it happens many Arabs and Arab governments celebrate the murder and compensate the murderer’s family. From the moment of its modern inception, Arab nations, Arab leaders, Arab terrorist groups, and individual Arabs have threatened to destroy Israel. Their rhetoric has not remained mere empty threats but has been acted upon ad nauseam. It is not an anomaly. It is a reality.
It has been 70 years since the U.N. voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. In the days leading up to the vote, Arab leaders around the world warned that Jews in Palestine and Jews living in Arab nations would be killed if the vote passed.
“The lives of a million Jews in Muslim countries would be jeopardized by the establishment of a Jewish state,” an Egyptian representative warned. Iraq’s prime minister opined that if the resolution passed, “Severe measures should be taken against all Jews in Arab countries.” A Palestinian Arab delegate predicted that the fate of Jews in Arab lands would be “very precarious” because the Arab governments would be unable to prevent mob excitement and violence.
His prediction came true not because an Arab government was unable to prevent mob excitement and violence, but because the government actually encouraged it. At the time of the 1947 U.N. vote, about 10,000 Jews lived in Aleppo, Syria. Their presence there dated back 2000 years. But suddenly because the Jews in Palestine were given a sovereign state, the Jews in Aleppo “deserved” to die. Immediately after the U.N. resolution passed, Arabs in Aleppo, under the organization of the Syrian government, attacked the Jewish population killing almost 100 Jews and burned ten synagogues, five schools, an orphanage, a youth club, many Jewish shops, and 150 Jewish homes. Jews’ presence and existence were deemed a target for destruction, simply because they were Jews.
The Iraqi government followed suit and made Zionism a punishable offense and passed laws to deprive the Jews living there of their national and property rights. Similar treatment and patterns in other Arab nations such as Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Algeria, and Jordan led to the expulsion of 850,000 Jews.
Meanwhile, as even a history novice should know, while Jews were being expelled from Arab nations, Arab nations were warring against the newly formed state of Israel. From its inception, Jews in Israel had to become master defenders of their nation and of themselves. They had to become masters of survival since an existing Jew, once again as had happened throughout history, became a target of destruction for simply existing as a Jew. The fact that Israel is currently accused of committing genocide while in reality they are defending themselves against slaughter is one of the most absurd ironies and slanders of modern history.
I am not Jewish, but I feel as if I understand to some degree the importance of Israel’s defense and fight for survival. Israel has to win. There is no other feasible option in my point of view. There can’t be, must not be, a world without Israel being a sovereign Jewish state.
Although I might sound extremely idealistic in my support of Israel, I realize that Israel has been less than perfect in its growth, survival, and defense as a nation. But what person, much less an entire nation, could be perfect under the duress and always-on-alert circumstances caused by the decades old threat and on-going war against Israel?
Of course Israel has made mistakes in defending itself. Arm-chair analysts and anti-Zionists are quick to shine the spot light on these mistakes. Sometimes far too quick, even when their analysis is extremely flawed, as in the case of the Goldstone Report. What they are sloth-like in doing, if they do it at all, is give credit to the unbelievable measures Israel employs to fight fair or at least ethically against individuals and groups who want to destroy them. No other nation goes to the extent Israel does against its enemy, sometimes at the peril of their own soldiers’ lives, to warn of impending military strikes. Israel uses leaflets, telephone calls, text messages, and “roof knocking” to warn civilians of impending attacks. Due to terrorists usage of civilians as shields, however, often Israel’s warnings are in vain as civilians are prevented from leaving the area by the terrorists fighting from their midst. Israel has not been perfect. Again, what nation, or individual has ever been perfect in the midst of war? But thank God that Israel has never made the fatal mistake of not defending itself. I pray that they will never make that mistake.
Whether religious or secular, any Jew with the desire to live and who defends that desire, is living according to the highest ethics of Torah – he or she is choosing life. And self-defense is one of the highest forms of choosing life. How utterly insane of the anti-Zionists to think it is fathomable for a collective people, especially a people who lost 6 million of its own, to be willing to give up its right to sovereignty to please and comply with politicians who are temporarily in power and who think that peace negotiations with a “partner” who hates Jews is a possibility even though terrorism has increased under such negotiations; revisionists who slant history and narratives according to their political motives and agendas; propagandists who continue libels started by the father of modern-day terrorism, Yasser Arafat; and liberal millennials who base their opinions on the most popular tweets or hashtags of the day rather than on historical context. Thank God that Jews are tough on the exterior and often even tougher on the interior. They require an inordinate amount of resilience in order to deal with the daily barrage of anti-Zionists who are trying to destroy them with policies and false narratives and with terrorists trying to destroy them with weapons.
And thank God that many of the Jews in Israel and Jews outside of the land, who support Israel, live by the tenet engraved on the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. which states, “Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
Godspeed to Israel in its continued stance to negate the efforts of anti-Zionists and terrorists by not being a bystander regarding its own demise. Israel is only as strong as its people. So once again, thank God that most Jews are the epitome of strength and the antithesis to perpetrators of death. Godspeed to Israel’s continued sovereignty and may Israel go from incredible strength to even more incredible strength until the day when peace will prevail throughout every inch of its land. And may my children and I, and all other Zionists cheering Israel on, live to see the day of its peace and exultation.