Explanations of the Holocaust at Zion Square

Two weeks ago from today, I along with 4,000 human beings of all stripes, colors, nationalities and religions (and lack thereof), the majority of whom were Jewish, were marching peacefully down central Jerusalem when Yishai Schlissel stabbed six participants and murdered sixteen-year old Shira Banki.

In the week that followed, something happened in Jerusalem that had never happened before, there were daily protests at Zion Square, the main square for political demonstrations in Jerusalem, by the LGBTQ community, showing Jerusalemites that we exist and we would not exist only in the closet.

Some people were friendly, some were curious. Some spat out of disgust, some started to make fun by touching their friends and mocking gays. Some people were verbally abusive, some came to light a candle in memory of Shira Banki, while some came to show their support for the gay community.

There were many discussions, some were civil and respectful others were unacceptable. I could go on and on with the discussions we had, but they make for many more interesting blog posts.

This past Thursday night I went to the Square once more.  One of the persons’ there was a young and very angry yeshiva bochur from the United States. He repeatedly expressed his love for all people, yet his words of hatred seeped out of his eyes and lips. It was obvious he was a troubled individual, and like most troubled religious individuals from the United States he invented words and sayings from the Good Book, God, and whoever or whatever justified his worldview.  He told me not only were gays called ‘disgusting’ in the Bible, but that it also said that we were ‘not-normal’. (On a side-note this sounds exactly like what many people write on many online talkbacks for the Times of Israel or Fox News! But I explained to him, “excuse me, but where does the Bible say that gays are disgusting or not normal?” Because the Good Book does not say anything other than saying it is abominable.  The words ‘disgusting’ and ‘not normal’ were put there by the individual, a very out of place interpretation which more shows his worldview, and not the Bible’s.  (As anyone who knows their bible would know, shrimp is an abomination, yet as a lover of shrimp I must say you would be a fool to say it is disgusting to eat it!)

After this conversation with this individual went nowhere, I decided to walk around and hear the many bizarre conversations going around me. Later, however, I became deranged when I heard the American yeshiva bochur tell a girl that God caused the Holocaust because Jews had abandoned and rejected God’s Holy Torah and assimilated into European society.

This is not the first time I had heard this lunacy, for unfortunately it is a widespread view among many elements of Jewish society.  This view is nothing but evil and must be condemned.  This view that our all-powerful God allowed for the murder of six million Jews, including 1.5 million children is an evil fallacy of a sick society. If anything, I can say that it makes no sense that my very Reform German-Jewish Great Grandma, the apparent reason why God allowed the murder of babies to take place, was able to flee Germany with her husband and daughter, and survive. It makes no sense using this deranged worldview that she, my Great Grandma Lotte, lived out the war in the United States, yet after the war often visited her non-Jewish German love of her life in Europe, and lived to the ripe old age of 103.  Apparently our God prefers that sinful little old ladies live long lives, while her sins are transferred to those of young babies.  This view is not only problematic, but extremely disturbing and makes no sense to a rational mind.

Fortunately there are other views when it comes to God and the Holocaust.  In civil discussions, I prefer to believe that we should just not try to explain or justify the Holocaust. The Holocaust happened, yet it cannot be explained, and it is better to keep any mention of God out of it!

However, if anything, I like many Jews before me, do not explain the Holocaust as God allowing for the murder of six million of our people due to our assimilation and sin. If anything, using a rational mind it seems that either our God does not exist, or if our God does exist, that He is nothing but an evil God. However, since we have no tradition of our God being evil, I’m pretty sure that He just doesn’t exist and the Holocaust is one of the main reasons why I am indeed an atheist.

The Holocaust was a game changing event in modern Jewish history. Some people managed to keep their belief in God, many others lost it. Jewry was annihilated in everyplace that Hitler managed to conquer. The only Jews who managed to survive Hitler’s wrath were those that had managed to flee or lived elsewhere. Had Hitler invaded the Americas, the Middle East, well, I wouldn’t be here now. This has nothing to do with God and sin, but with the outcome of War and the unfortunate evil workings of men.

About the Author
Aviv Benedix lived in Israel from 2006 until March 2016 and was a licensed Israeli Tour Guide. He made aliyah in 2007 from Florida and has a B.A. in History from the University of Florida. While studying to become a Tour Guide he worked in the largest archaeological excavation in Israel, the Givati Parking Lot Excavation in the City of David, the history and archaeology of the Land remain one of his biggest passions. He is also fascinated by the complicated status quos of this amazing country. He left Israel in March 2016, currently lives in Florida and is still trying to (but is closer to) figure everything out.
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