Israel at 66: Should we be Jews of Silence?

 50 years ago, Elie Wiesel, then a little known Israeli news correspondent in the US. wrote a book that shook the soul of a generation: THE JEWS OF SILENCE. Wiesel described two kinds of of  silence: Jews in Galut who were silent about the fate of their brethren in the USSR… the Jews who were silenced in the USSR.

 At Akiba, the high school I attended in Philadelphia, our student council asked Wiesel to speak  for the school commencement ceremony for the class of 1967 , the year before I graduate. And  Wiesel did speak – on the night of June 6, 1967, the 2nd day of the six day war, following a 3 week siege of Israel which had frightened the Jewish world.

Wiesel tossed out his prepared text, and addressed “an Israel that stood alone” in May 1967.

 Where was France, Israel’s only ally”?, Wiesel asked. Wiesel said that the moments of trepidation in May 1967 brought him back to World War II. when Jews stood alone and to the fate of his family in the crematoria- when no one cared, and when few spoke out when it counted.

 Indeed, Wiesel’s message that night was that we are indeed alone. which meant that we cannot be silent in the face of overwhelming odds..

 Fast foreward 47 years: The Palestinian Authority, a nascent entity, has emerged on Israel’s frontiers, carved out of the PLO – the Palestine Liberation Organization- created by the Arab League in 1964 to galvanize local Arabs to liberate Palestine, all of Palestine, under the war whoop of the “right of return

Twenty years ago, with the launch of the peace process and the Palestinian Authority, you could not discern that the message of the PA was one of peace…Yet the people of Israel hoped for the best, because this was a peace process. Today, the nascent Palestinian Authority does not mask its genocidal purpose, to wipe out the state of of Israel and to replace it with an Arab Palestine.

All you have to do is to watch PA TV, listen to PA radio, read PA newspapers peruse PA school books used in UNRWA schools and follow  public statements of the PA. Most people prefer not to see the PA for what it is.

Most people do not know that the Arab League pioneered the PLO to continue the 1948 war… to exterminate the entity that is Israel.

The people of Israel hope for the best, listening to news anchors who speak every day about a peace process and about an entity which is described as a peace partner.

It would seem that Jewish people, even when they are sober, cannot tell the difference between Mordecai & Haman. Perhaps that is the reason why Purim and Pesach are obligatory. On both festive days, Jews cope with the reality that in every generation, there are those who really want to exterminate the Jews…

To paraphrase Wiesel, Does God want the people of Israel to become “Jews of Silence”.


About the Author
David Bedein, who grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Israel in 1970 at the age of 20, is an MSW community organizer by profession and an expereinced investigative journalist. In 1987 he established the Israel Resource News Agency, with offices at the Beit Agron Int’l Press Center in Jerusalem, where he also serves as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research. In 1991, Bedein was the special CNN middle east radio correspondent. Since 2001, Bedein has contributed features to the newspaper Makor Rishon. In 2006, Bedein became the foreign correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. He is the author of " The Genesis of the Palestinian Authority" and "ROADBLOCK TO PEACE- How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict: UNRWA policies reconsidered"and the director and producer of the numerous short films about UNRWA policy which can be located at: