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Chana Pinto
Am Yisrael Chai

The best – or worst – joke: UNRWA

Courtesy Times of Israel
Courtesy Times of Israel

Have you heard the latest joke? UNRWA was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I could end this post right here, with just that one statement.  Repeat it over and over again out loud. It could make you laugh, which it should, and it could also make you cry. Which it should, as well. It should also make you sick.

As I have previously written on these pages, the world hates us. Or rather, after October 7th, it’s clear as day that the world hates us. While we have been ignoring this fact for nearly 80 years since the (official) end of the Holocaust in Europe, trying as hard as we possibly could to immerse ourselves in everything our host countries had to offer us, we gradually let down our guard. We became American, Canadian, British, Australian, (It is not lost on me that all of the above are English-speaking countries. But that’s a topic for another time.) and began to feel very comfortable in our adoptive lands. True, the first generation after WWII had it harder than we did, trying to assimilate and throw off the “Jew” label that they were forced to wear in Europe (in the literal and metaphorical sense). But many did assimilate, while others kept the traditions going and stayed in tight-knit communities. The Jewish community in the diaspora after the Holocaust succeeded in many areas of public life: academia, science, literature, entertainment, medicine, law, government, business, as well as others. Yes, we Jews have been successful at succeeding. Which is also the cause of many of our troubles.

The Ten Commandments were read aloud in this past Shabbat’s Torah portion of Yitro. The last Commandment is “Thou shalt not covet”- basically, don’t be envious of anything your neighbor has. This commandment is especially difficult to keep, because it’s instructing us not to feel something. But if it is not followed, there can be disastrous consequences. In the simplest of explanations, envy can cause a person to transgress other commandments, and cause a slippery slope into a life of sin, of stealing, adultery and even murder.  Therefore, even having a feeling of envy is a transgression, as it holds so much more power than we might be aware of.

While the commandment of “Thou shalt not covet” is in the Ten Commandments, i.e. for Jews to adhere to, it is not found in the Sheva Mitzvot Bnei Noach, the seven  “Noahide” laws, which were given to all humanity after the Great Flood in the time of Noah. These laws, which were intended as a moral standard for the world, included the prohibitions on idol worship, cursing G-d, murder, theft, forbidden sexual relationships, eating a limb from a live animal, and the requirement to establish a justice system with courts, to enforce the other six laws. In my humble opinion, I think that “Do Not Covet” should be in there too. This is something the nations of the world would do well to keep. Not that they are always keeping the other laws anyway. Hamas seems to think that morality in and of itself doesn’t apply to them at all, and they continue to teach their offspring that murdering and raping Jews is good and that that’s what “Allah” wants. But for those nations that do try to uphold a basic level of decency, morality, and justice among their citizens, they should try keeping one more: Don’t be envious of your neighbor.

In case you haven’t figured it out, we are that neighbor. The Jewish nation. Am Yisrael, both here in Israel and wherever we are found all over the world. The world suffers from a dangerous resentment toward us. I see no other explanation for the sickness of antisemitism which is rapidly spreading all over the globe. Those holding up signs and protesting have no idea who or what they are rallying for. They only know that it is against Israel and the Jews, and that is enough to get thousands of them out on the street screaming.  It is nonsensical. Why are they against us?  Jews, as a people, have always tried to live peacefully in whichever country we were living in.  Though there are always a few rotten apples in every basket, for the most part, we have upheld the laws of our host countries and contributed to society in ways that go above and beyond what would be expected, given our small numbers. Incidentally, that includes Nobel Prize winners.  Jews have won 22% of all six Nobel Prize categories together (and even more individually – 41% of the Economics prize winners were Jewish). That’s a lot to be jealous of. But these awards were well-deserved, and all the successes came with hard work and diligence. It sounds like I’m trying to justify why one student received a higher grade than the other. Childish? Ridiculous? Pathetic? All of the above.

But that’s the point. This envy has caused people to go literally insane. A Norwegian MP has just nominated UNRWA for a Nobel Peace Prize. A peace prize. PEACE. It is so absurd that I keep having to say it out loud so that I can actually believe it. UNRWA, the useless organization that has been keeping the Gazan Arabs in a perpetual state of poverty and victimhood. UNRWA, whose schools are used to indoctrinate the next generation of Gazans to become terrorists. UNRWA, whose own members have been proven to have actively taken part in the October 7th Massacre. This has reached a new level of idiocy. It is bad enough to fabricate reasons for hating Jews and calling for our destruction. But to award barbaric killers a prize for committing murder?

This is a new low, and ironic that it comes from Norway, the home of the infamous Oslo Accords. It’s envy. The world hates us because they are jealous of us. And as our Ten Commandments teach us- jealousy is a slippery slope.

About the Author
Chana Resnick Pinto made aliya from Toronto in 2005 with her family and has lived in the Sharon area of Central Israel ever since. She earned a BA from Yeshiva University and an MSEd from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Chana works at Eric Cohen Books in Ra'anana and loves living in Israel. She encourages everyone to stop and smell the flowers and always appreciate the small things.
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