Reading the Headlines

“Defiant One”. “A Failed Leader”. “Calls Them Criminals, Not Terrorists”. “France Declares it a War; U.S. President Calls It A Setback”. “Needs to Be More Bellicose: Where is His Anger Over Paris Massacre?”

These are headlines in many American newspapers read aloud by television news commentators.

Anyone who has a reading knowledge of English has seen these headlines in the American press. The American people are disgusted with their president and his lack of strength in the face of threatened attack on Washington by Isis. Even his Democratic colleague, Diane Feinstein, of the Intelligence Committee has defied and denounced her president for his lack of action. It is not a conflict, as he says. It is a war. An act of terror which seems to have no vision of ending. Yet the American president does not know how to say or to pronounce the word t-e-r-r-o-r !

The Cairo speech of the Arab Spring opened wide the doors which led to revolution, rebellion, and death to those who opposed the idea of a Caliphate rebirth.

Never before has the Western world seen a leader who, when informed by his security and intelligence sources, seems to pay little heed to the information. Never sine 9/11 has the United States been faced with such threats of destruction. Isis has promised to demolish Washington. And Isis is known for keeping its promises.

In remarks he made yesterday at the G-20 Conference in Antalya, Turkey, the American president announced that he would be admitting 20,000 refugees from Syria by the end of the coming year. When questioned by members of the press he responded “we Americans don’t ask who is a Christian or who is a Muslim. We open our doors to those whose needs we have determined to be true.” (He forgot to mention the Jews whose American doors were closed to them from 1939 – 1945).).

Sixteen governors of American states have so far defied the president and have declared that they will not permit Syrian refugees to enter their states. The “war” between the Executive branch and the States’ Rights will soon begin in earnest.

The Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau has likewise determined to welcome Syrian refugees into his vast country. The Premier of the Province of Saskatchewan has announced that no Syrian refugees would be welcomed into his province. Other provincial leaders are considering following suit.

There is no legitimate or logical reason for refugees from Middle East countries to seek refuge or asylum in western Christian countries. They surely can find safety in the Gulf State nations which are removed from the Syrian conflict. Living in lands which share the same language, same religion and same culture, if not the same history, must assuredly be more comfortable than acclimating to alien tongues, faiths and cultures on distant continents.

We, the oppressed Jewish people, fled from persecution in the German-speaking lands and in those countries which sympathized with German policies. Few countries on the European continent open its doors to fleeing Jewish refugees. America’s doors were shut tight. Denmark, as a moral example, saved its Jewish citizen by ferrying them across the waters to neutral Sweden. The Danish Lutheran church leaders gave warning to the Danish Chief Rabbi Melchior of a round-up to take place on the eve of the Jewish holidays. Rabbi Melchior made the announcement from his pulpit urging the Jews to return home and pack up a few of their precious belongings. Danish fishermen were waiting to board the Jews in their small ships and ferry them to Swedish safety. Almost every single Danish Jew survived the Holocaust.

In Bulgaria, an ally of Nazi Germany, anti-Semitism had hardly ever existed. When the Nazis informed King Boris of their intention to have the Jewish population of Bulgaria deported, there were riots in the streets of Sofia. His Eminence, the Pope of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church informed the Germans that any train transporting Jews out of Bulgaria would first have to cross his body as he lay on the train tracks. Bulgaria’s Jews were saved by the righteousness of the Bulgarian Pope, the clergy and the decent citizens of that country.

In 2007, I was honored with an audience with His Holiness, Patriarch Maxim, Pope of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church at the Patriarchal Residence in Sofia. Through our interpreter, Bishop Naum of the Holy Synod of Sofia, I was humbled to express my gratitude to the Bulgarian church and its religious leaders. In presenting the Bulgarian Pope with a silver menorah which I had brought from Jerusalem, I told him that it was my wish that the lights to be kindled in it would symbolize the leadership of decent men and women everywhere .

Bishop Naum translated the Pope’s response, “Alas, there are too few good leaders in the world today”.

Reading the headlines of the world press in English, French and German, I am filled with praise for our Israeli journalists and news commentators who print and speak the words the world does not wish to hear. Kol hakavod lahem. All honor to them.

Recently, an American friend asked me if I could vote for a new strong president, who would be my choice.

And without hesitating, I replied “Vladimir Putin”.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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