“I Will Be Your Shield, Abram!”

 For it is a rebellious people … who say to the seers, “See not,” and to the prophets, “Do not see true visions for us! Speak pleasant things to us; prophesy deceitful illusions that we will enjoy! … Remove from our presence [the word of] the Holy One of Israel!” – Isaiah 30:9-11

Americanized, non-Orthodox Jews claim to be pro-Israel even though the Pew Survey finds that Israel is seventh on their list of priorities. Still, they believe they know what is in Israel’s best interests. After four contentious, confrontational years, and with Barack Obama’s approval rating in Israel hovering around 12 percent, that didn’t matter to the non-Orthodox Jews of America. In 2012, almost 85 percent voted for Obama, who consistently blamed Israel during an illusory peace process, invariably taking the side of the “Palestinians” whose leadership constantly incited its people to kill Jews.

Rabbi Danny Gordis, certainly no right-winger, wrote about an experience he had with a liberal, non-Orthodox, Americanized, self-righteous Jew:

One can already hear the lip smacking, the self-congratulatory satisfaction of those who believe that in helping to force Israel’s hand, they’re doing Israel a favor. … A North American Jewish woman said to me, “I’m working to make Israel better.” Really? The hubris of the certainty was astounding. Are you sure that Israel is “better” when it has both less land and 170,000 rockets pointing at it? Are we sure that Israel is “better” when settlers, some of whom represent the most vibrant, selfless form of Zionism, will be told that their project is to be abandoned? … Are we sure that a move to the never-recognized pre-1967 lines will not then lead to a push to the oncerecognized 1947 lines? One day, we are likely to have only choices even worse than the ones we have today. (“A Dose of Nuance: A Tale of Too Many Certainties,” 2/6/14)

But the year 2017 holds great historical significance, marking 50 years since the Six Day War, the reunification of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of Jewish communities in our Biblical homeland, Judea/Samaria. Dearest Jewish “cupcakes,” also known as Jewish liberals, we Jews are not occupiers of Arab land. We are the inheritors of a covenant made long ago. “I will remember My covenant with Jacob and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember, and I will remember the Land.” (Lev. 26:42) Does your heritage mean so little? Read the Book!

For 19 years, Jordan had controlled and governed the area west of the Jordan River, having taken control of it, along with the Old City of Jerusalem, in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. For 19 years, this area was in Jordanian-Arab hands. No one heard a word about “Palestinians” let alone a Palestinian state. Sources written prior to 1967 never reference the word “Palestinian.” They didn’t exist. Historically and factually, they became “a people” in 1974.

The Palestine Liberation Organization was created in 1964 by then-president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, as an Egyptian “freedom-fighting” organization to attack Israel on behalf of Egypt. Nasser had selected Ahmad Shukairy, an Arab born in Lebanon, to lead the organization’s attacks against Israel. There were no claims by so-called “Palestinians” to return to “their homeland.” No mass demonstrations against being forced out by the evil Jews. No dangling of keys from lost houses or tears over lost lemon trees and “a once-great heritage.” The land was considered part of Jordan—period. It was only after 1967, and ultimately after the Yom Kippur War of 1973, that a rabbit popped out of a hat and a “distinct people” emerged who had never existed in history. According to the new narrative, they had lived on the land “for thousands of years”— except that no one knew it. As Goebbels the Nazi said, if you repeat the lie often enough, (with each succeeding generation), the lie will become reality.

This year, Jews in Israel and around the world will commemorate with great pride the fifty-year anniversary of the unanticipated and miraculous Israeli victory called the Six-Day War of 1967. A moment when G-d’s promise to Abram – “I will be your shield; your reward shall be great!” – became part of world history. G-d was to test Israel. And it was “after these things” that Israel defeated five Arab armies. No “Palestinians” in sight.

And it brings to mind a story in our Torah. Abram had left Haran with his nephew, Lot. A family conflict ensued, and Abram told Lot it would be best to go their separate ways. But upon hearing that Lot had been taken hostage by the four kings, Abram seems to ask himself our eternal question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Although they had argued, Lot was still family. So Abram gathers together 318 of his warriors. — No UN Security Council meeting. No “two Jews, three opinions.” No show of hands. Off he goes to rescue Lot. I would love to have seen Lot’s face when he saw his estranged uncle coming to his rescue. He probably never expected to see his uncle again, and yet here was Abram, risking his very life to rescue this “familial ingrate.”

And it was only after testing Abram and seeing his devotion to his fellow Ivri, his brother’s son, in spite of their disagreements, that G-d made His promise to Abram that would resonate for the millennia: I will be your shield, Abram; your reward is very great. (Gen. 15:1) But the implication in G-d’s promise was that Abram and his inheritors must be willing to act with courage — to be the sword. If you are willing to take action for your people, I will be your Protector. But if you come up with excuses and fear leading to cowardice (such as believing that the land “devours its inhabitants and is filled with giants”), I will allow your enemies to defeat and subjugate you. I have put before you good and evil, life and death. I command you this day to choose life.

Our people were challenged in 1948 and again in 1956 as the world stood idly by, expecting a bloody slaughter. But the pivotal moment in our people’s modern history came to the world’s attention in 1967 when the word of G-d reverberated unambiguously in a memory from our past: And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army and the Egyptians shall know I am the L-rd! (Ex. 14.4) In that week in 1967, the Egyptians understood and He gained glory!

The world had heard the unambiguous words of the newest Pharaoh, President/General Nasser, and the world expected that Israel would be wiped off the map. Contrary to the signed armistice agreement after the Suez War of 1956, in 1967 the United Nations had eagerly withdrawn its peacekeepers from the Sinai in order to enable the five Soviet-supplied Arab armies to carry out a latter-day genocide of Israel. And the fact was that the United States – with that “rock-solid relationship” – betrayed the written agreement it signed in 1957 to defend Israel if Egypt ever crossed the canal again. In then-president Lyndon Johnson’s perfidious words, “Israel will only be alone if it goes it alone.” But President Johnson had forgotten a few verses in his Old Testament. “I will be your shield, Abram!” Will you be willing to be the sword?

And there stood David, alone once again. With the Shoah still fresh in the world’s guilt-ridden collective memory, with men and women with blue numbers tattooed on their forearms and six million murdered fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles and a million and a half children—Jews once again stood alone. And as Americanized Jews, fearful of accusations of dual loyalty, held their breath in silence, the G-d of Abraham … the G-d of Isaac … the G-d of Jacob … gained glory through a new Pharaoh, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had proclaimed, “I don’t know this G-d of yours! Slaughter the Jews!” And little David, his stones locked and loaded, was again ready to take on the Goliaths of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq for the honor and glory of our G-d.

And what I found most interesting is that immediately after Israel’s victory, Islamic commentators throughout the Muslim world began to ask, “What have we done that Allah did not come to help us defeat the infidel Jews?” From their mosques, they interpreted their defeat religiously and they realized they had experienced the glory of the G-d of Israel! If only the liberal Jews…

So here we are, fifty years later, and our Biblical homelands are still the subject of contention in the UN, the EU, the US State Department, and within the Americanized, non-Orthodox Jewish community whining that “we must be sensitive to our Arab brothers, for all men are created in the image of G-d.” Yes, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Mao Tse-tung and too many among other evildoers were all created in the image of G-d. But so too are all men given free will – to either sanctify or desecrate that G-d-given image.

At a Hartman Institute learning session, a well-spoken, kippa-wearing attendee asserted with conviction that Israeli society today is split over what to do about the “occupied” territory. This followed a discussion about a recent Wall Street Journal article by Yossi Klein Halevi, a Hartman Institute senior fellow. In 1991, Yossi wrote an article claiming that a Palestinian state could no longer happen now since there were 100,000 Jews living in the so-called West Bank. Today there are 500,000. And another 300,000 in Jerusalem.

A 2013 survey conducted by New-Wave Research in Israel found that 62 percent of Jewish Israelis believe settlements to be legal and that Israel should extend sovereignty to all the Jewish communities in Judea/Samaria. Only 16 percent considered the communities of Judea/Samaria illegal. A 2017 poll by the Maagar Mochot Research Institute in Israel found that 75 percent of Israelis now support sovereignty in Judea/Samaria, with only 7 percent supporting a Palestinian state. But leftist American Jews know better.

Re-read “yes…but” Gordis, the equivocating leftist, who hopefully has finally come to his senses. Can Americanized Jews be so arrogant as to believe they know better than Israelis themselves what is in Israel’s best interests? A Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll recently found that 65 percent of those calling themselves Palestinian have no faith in the creation of a Palestinian state. Many of the Arabs I have personally talked with want nothing to do with the Abbas “mafia,” are well aware of the systemic corruption of their Arab leaders, and have no desire for a separation from Israel. Could it be that they know better than Americanized Jews what is best for themselves and their families? Yet, Americanized, non-Orthodox Jews, led by their universalist rabbis and failing Jewish institutions, have the arrogance to tell Israel what is in Israel’s best interests. Arrogance amid ignorance – a toxic combination.

In 1967, a miracle of historic proportions came to pass as the entire world anticipated Israel’s annihilation—but Israel disappointed them. In 1967, G-d returned our people to our real homeland, expressing His intimate connection with His treasured people with His words, “I will be your shield, Abram; your reward is very great.” Judea/Samaria and Jerusalem – not a bad gift for six days’ work!

Slavery offers the comforts of knowing the boundaries of your freedom and being absolved of responsibility for your actions. Freedom comes with obligations and responsibilities.

The re-establishment of a Jewish state after 2,000 years defied the world’s imagination. We are not occupiers, as some have said. The land is ours, safeguarded in a promise made long ago. Our people never forgot our covenant; and over the last 50 years lots of Jews have been re-settling the land that was promised to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob and to Moses and to Lord Rothschild in 1917 and promised again in 1922 from the League of Nations at San Remo. In 1967, G-d kept His word. “I will be your shield, Abraham.” But inherent in that promise is that our people must lovingly embrace the Land of our covenant. Do not forget: Amalek is still out there… waiting.

Shabbat Shalom, 05/19/2017

Jack “Yehoshua” Berger

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About the Author
Educated as an architect with a Masters in Architectural History, Jack Yehoshua Berger became a practicing architect and real estate developer. In his late 30's he met a Rabbi who turned him on to the miracle of Israel and he began learning how the amazing country, against all odds, came to be the miracle of the modern world.