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Jeffrey Levine
CFO | Seeking a just world I Author

Parsha Veyashev – The Moral Call

It’s interesting when looking at Pasha Vayeshev, Jacob seeks to dwell in peace and serenity, and we lsrael, who represents Jacob, seek to dwell in peace and serenity.

But we are not destined to do this. Rabbi Sacks z”l brings an interesting comparison between Mozart and Beethoven. What is the difference? For composing Mozart came very smoothly to him, he was a natural composer. Beethoven had to struggle to find the right composition, and after many revisions and ups and downs, he eventually found it. It would seem like most of the world has the attribute of Mozart, living in tranquility, and we, the Jewish people, have always had these trials and tribulations.

Throughout our history, we see this struggle culminating in the Holocaust, and Israel in its fight to defend itself. Where all the other nations has the right of its own country, we Jews are questioned despite that there is so much history and connection to this land, and in our  daily prayers.  It is  ironic that the world is challenging us, and obviously there is a higher purpose, which means bringing light of God into the equation and recognizing the higher calling of Israel. We talk about Israel, Jews being the chosen people, chosen to do what? And today we can see that we have been chosen to bring a moral clarity to the world, which is so lacking, This is clear from our history as well. We have chosen to be different, to bring the moral law or conscience, and give the world a conscience. That is one idea.

The second idea is sometimes what is random events and what is meant in our lives.

The events in our lives, small events, big events, like in this week’s Parsha, We have the unusual story when Joseph went to seek his brothers, he was lost in his journey, and a “stranger” directed him on the path to find his brothers and the rest is history, From that point Joseph was sold into slavery and that is a the start of the Jewish story. You can imagine what happened if that didn’t happen and the stranger wasn’t there?

We have these small acts, bigger acts, positive and negative, that affect us personally, affect our national society.

When you look at the events of the last two months in history, we have what’s called October 7th and we don’t need to go into that, or how it could have been avoided, that’s not for me to say, but we also have the events of November 30th  1947.  This followed the UN Partition vote of 29th of November, with the partition of the land of Palestine. So, what do we make of this?

The 30th November

The next day, on November 30, 1947, the Arab Higher Committee, which acted as the governing body of Palestine’s Arabs, called for protests and a strike. Arab gunmen ambushed two Jewish buses near the city of Petah Tikva, killing seven, and Arab snipers shot at buses and pedestrians in Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

The Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran  is a National Day of Commemoration in Israel, observed every year on November 30 to memorialize the departure and expulsion of Jews from Arab countries and Iran.

With the birth of the State of Israel, over 850,000 Jews were forced from Arab Lands and Iran. The desperate refugees were welcomed by Israel.

Everybody obsesses about Palestinian refugees who left in 1948,  which one report listed with 156,000 people in total, Palestinians in Israel now number 2 million people. And they say that we ethnically cleansed, we colonize, but no one talks about ethnic cleansing in the Arab countries, the population transfer of people, where 850,000 people left, forced to be left, dispossessed of their possessions. And as I reflect on November 30th and all this going on with keywords like decolonization, occupation, and whatever word you want to call it, I need to pause and take stock, and look how we got here.

Israel is our homeland, the land that we prayed to, prayed for Jerusalem, and we came back here after a terrible holocaust, terrible suffering, and the British even turned many thousands of Jews away, back to Europe, who knows, to wherever. And what’s interesting is that prior to 1948, the Jews somewhat lived in peace in these Arab countries, and sort of overnight, these Jews were forced to leave. The tides were turned, tables were turned over, and so we there was a population transfer back in 1948. Israel despite many challenges, integrated these refugees , and the other one is used these refugees as an eyesore a weapon of war. I have to further look at the role of Jordan in this whole picture. And when the slogan of Jordan is Palestine, and Geert Wilders the leading Dutch politician, was quite right to call out this, that the solution has to be in the hands of Jordan. Maybe it’s now time to re-look at the population transfers, instead of a two-state solution. Who wants a State as a neighbour where 75% of the population want to exterminate Israel, which is untenable. So, it’s not racist to think like this. Maybe it’s realistic. Kahane has been proved right, but we are too western in thoughts to realise this.

Let’s look another November 30th event took place last week, which is now fading from our memory, and the news.

The 30th November 2023–4 dead + Unborn baby died from a Terror Attack in Jerusalem

In the last X number of years there have been many, unfortunately, attacks, terror attacks on civilians, shootings, bombings, whatever it is, and chills, the  sends shivers, the 1929 Hebron massacre and many others. What is clear that there is trend of Arab Terror, killing of civilians from the 1920’s.

We fail to see the Evil of these people. They blame 1948 and keep scores of  people in refugee towns, refuse to build a peaceful state — all this is bolstered by their leadership, the UN and it agencies , Arab States and media etc.

It took for us Jews, the 7th October to recognize this Evil. The world unfortunately has whitewashed this, calling us the Terrorists, the Oppressor, The Colonist, to make us like the New Nazis.

Well shame on them.

The events of October 7th, whatever, woke us out of our slumber and created a new national unity and focus on what we call the sole reason, that is to fight evil in this world and fight for our existence. This battle is not easy and it took these events of October 7th to wake us up. Now as we contemplate the second phase or third phase of this war, we need to be clear and I stand to resolve you to fight this evil. Yes, this is not an easy situation.

One side has chosen war and destruction and death and the other side, who have chosen peaceful coexistence, are labelled, with their exact words, as being due to genocide. And when you look at the world with the media and even our allies waving and our supporters not calling a clear message for Hamas to surrender, it’s very disturbing. And we need to learn from our history and the teachings of our Pasha how to act.

This is what I wrote last year

The Day after — the 30th of November

On the 29th of November, the United Nations General Assembly in a historic voted in favor of a resolution that adopted the plan for partitioning Eretz Israel. This resolution led, in effect, to the declaration of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.

What struck me was the day after. This Date, the 30th of November, is the day chosen to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran.

This is what is written on Wikipedia.

“The Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab countries (Hebrew: יוֹם לְצִיּוֹן הָיְצִיאָ,ה וְהַגִרוּשׁ שֶׁל הַיְהוּדִים מֵאַרְצוֹת עֲרָב וּמְאִירָאן) is a Memorial Day that is marked in Israel every year starting in 2014, on November 30 to mark the departure and expulsion of Jews from Arab countries and Iran. November 30 is the date that was chosen since it is symbolically the day following November 29, a day the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was adopted, and when many communities of Jews in Arab countries and Iran started to feel the pressure and hostility from their Arab and Persian neighbours and as a result of that were forced to leave their homelands.

Yes, immediately after this vote, anti-Zionism and antisemitism combined reached an even higher level of hate.

Unfortunately, we are in a war of hate. It is not about land or human rights but the power of that little hill in Jerusalem.

Last Shabbat morning, I went for a walk at around 7 am on the Tayelet in Arnono which overlooks the old city and Har Habayit. I asked myself — what is the fuss about this little hill? Why is the world so focused on Jerusalem? I have been doing a lot of reading and learning about murder and cruelty, persecution in the name of God or Religion.

Religion should be a force of good and unifying factor. I read one article this week that one of the reasons for the terror attack last week in Jerusalem was the increase of Jews wishing to pray on the Temple Mount. So, they chose to murder an innocent young boy. How sic!!

Murder in the name of God or Religion is an oxymoron.

I also pondered on the beautiful sculpture of the Zebib family from Yemen: the iconic photo captures the family making Aliyah on foot from Yemen in 1949.

On the monument, it was written that the 30th of November is the day of remembering the 850,000 Jews who were forced to leave the Arab countries where they had been living for centuries. Talk about ethnic cleansing.

And again, here is the crucial difference. These Jews and their descendants were absorbed together with the Survivors of the Holocaust in the new country of Israel. Contrast this to the Arab refugee camps still being kept alive. These Refugees comprised many people from the neighbouring countries who came in the 19th century to seek work, and in 1948 when they fled (many at the instructions of the Arab leadership) were not absorbed in the neighbouring countries but kept in the camps, which are now cities but still called camps and is subject to an annual US$ 2 billion funding from the UN https://www.unhcr.org/. And from their Website — The Global Appeal, provides information about UNHCR’s plans for the coming year and the funding it needs to protect, assist, and empower a record number of forcibly displaced and stateless people, and to help them find solutions to their situations. Well, these Refugees were not exactly forcibly displaced.

At our local park, I met a lovely lady from Spain who lives with her family in our neighbourhood. She told me she works at the UN and engages in fundraising for the refugee camps. And I thought — that is a nice job for a Jewish girl.

These camps and the Palestinians are looking at the past and not trying to build a better future. They are living on handouts.

While the Abraham Accords and other Inter-faith provide a beacon of hope, examples of Anti-Semitism and anti-Israel worldwide, especially in what we are seeing in the US, are extremely worrying. The World and some Arabs have not put past prejudices behind them. Palestinian Terror in Israel continues unabated. The Oslo process, which heralded much hope, is broken and has been abused and broken repeatedly by the Palestinian Authority. Israel’s “extreme right Government” is criticized by our friends in the US. But there is a blind eye to the terrible and extreme language of the Arab politicians in the Knesset and the Palestinian leaders.

And why? I will repeat that it is not only about Land. There is plenty of Land in Israel, and more so in the Arab Countries. It is about which version of God is correct. If the Jews control Israel, then they are losing. Through Persecutions & inquisitions, Jews were killed in the name of Christ. Today, Jews are killed in Allah. History is just a repeating circle of hate and murder.

It is time to look beyond hate and look for common principles of human decency. Each person and religion have the right to be different. And, with all talk of racism, the right to be different and to practice your belief in peace is a fundamental right. Indeed, In Israel today, there is freedom of religion and secularism. Yes, secularism is very much alive as well.

It is time to look forward and not dwell on past prejudices. It is time to bring in an environment of vision of a better world for humanity.

 

All images sourced on social media- the photo was taken by me , not on Shabbat

About the Author
Jeffrey is a CFO | Seeking a just world I Author -living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and six grandchildren. Jeffrey is promoting a vision for a better and fairer world through https://upgradingesg.com and is the author of Upgrading ESG - How Business can thrive in the age of Sustainability
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