Nathan Grynberg Sissa

Awakening Intolerance During Times of Conflict

October 7th marked a turning point in my life when the terrorist group Hamas committed the most ruthless and terrifying terrorist attack of modern history in the land of Israel. Women were raped, children and the elderly were kidnapped, and the civilian population fell victim to cold-blooded murders. The ocean of images and videos from that day displayed the darkest aspects of human nature, challenging our understanding of how far hatred can go.

A clamorous cry of pain has been heard in the sky.

This cry of pain, however, has triggered an equally alarming phenomenon: the resurgence of intolerance. An ancient dragon, which seemed to have slumbered for years, has risen with force, providing comfort and protection to those who openly communicate their hatred of the Jewish people.

Throughout history, Jews have experienced episodes of hatred and antisemitism, but what is happening today, in the year 2023, seems to defy all logic and comprehension.

It is bewildering to see how those who advocate for human rights, feminist movements, freedom of expression, the LGBT+ movements, and other minorities suddenly change their standards when it comes to Israel. They defend or excuse Hamas, even though this organization represents the opposite of what they support. During these moments, it appears that the aversion for Israel and the Jews outweighs the causes they endorse.

The same cry of pain has also prompted something within every Jewish soul. We have come together like a magnet that attracts everyone, regardless of where we come from or how we got here. Despite the dark episodes throughout history, the Jewish people have survived. We have faced the Babylonians, the Roman Empire, the Inquisition, the pogroms in Europe, and the horrors of the Nazi Germany.

This war has highlighted the presence of thousands or even millions of people who wish to harm us and end our existence, as has happened throughout time. Nevertheless, let us remember an ancient prayer on Rosh Hashanah: “May it be Your will, our God and the God of our fathers, that our enemies, our adversaries, and all who seek our harm be destroyed,” and let us hope to celebrate the year 5785 with our families in peace and quiet.

During these challenging times, pride in my Judaism, in the State of Israel, and its courageous army, the IDF, soars. While I mourn the fallen and long for the return of the kidnapped, Jewish people around the world demonstrate their unwavering determination. Today, more than ever, I cry with conviction, “Am Israel Chai!” The people of Israel live.

With tears in our eyes but our hearts full of hope, our identity and values remain faithful despite the adversity.

In the deepest darkness, we find the resilience and strength to prevail. Israel lives, and our Jewish spirit shines with a determination that defies hatred and intolerance.

About the Author
Nathan is the Executive Director of the Zionist Federation of Mexico. He holds a Master's degree in Nonprofit Management from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Bachelor's degree in Mass Media and Communications from the Universidad de las Américas in Mexico City. His extensive global experience spans Mexico, Israel, Ghana, and the United States. Nathan drinks coffee like there's no tomorrow, plays the drums, and shares his life with his wonderful wife.
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