By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz
The Israeli people are very proud of their nascent country’s many accomplishments. A sheep among seventy wolves, it perseveres despite all obstacles placed in its path. Its enemies have fought valiantly to destroy it, yet the Jewish state carries on with valor.
Age-old anti-Semitic tendencies of the nations of the world die hard, and as hard as little Israel tries, it rarely enjoys much worldly support. Its leaders are educated, well-spoken, hard-working people, who have set as their life mission the well-being of the state. Believing that once the Jews would have a country of their own anti-Semitism will cease to exist, the Zionists have poured everything they have into the enterprise.
Prior to the country’s founding, Jews were vilified because they were stateless, Zionists claimed, and the prevailing Zionist notion was that once they would have a country of their own, the hatred of the world toward the offspring of Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov would vanish.
Once again, the Jewish state has been set upon by bloodthirsty terrorists. Only this time they didn’t have to kill anyone to score a major victory. They didn’t have to issue any press releases. They didn’t have to summon the media to their dens. In fact, they didn’t have to say a word. All they had to do was pull a simple stunt, tricking the vaunted Israeli navy into a clever trap. The world’s leaders and media did the rest.
Using peace activists and humanitarian do-gooders as foil, the terrorists armed themselves with guns, knives, metal rods and other assorted implements of death. They filmed suicide messages pledging their fidelity to Allah, and sat back in waiting. When the well-trained Israeli navy commandoes rappelled down onto their ship, the Jewish soldiers were beaten, robbed of their weapons, and shot at.
The state had invested a fortune training these skilled soldiers for combat, yet they sent them into a trap armed with a pistol and paintball gun. Though they sought to stop a ship from running a blockade and intended to prevent the delivery of weapons to a sworn enemy, it seems that the Israelis fell for the ruse that the boat was occupied entirely by peaceful people.
Once again, Israel was labeled the aggressor by the entire world. The country which fights each and every day for its security against men who have no compunction about blowing up innocent people in pursuit of its stated goal of driving the Jewish people into the sea is the subject of international derision for sticking up for its rights.
A little history is in order. The Israeli government was convinced by world pressure that were the Jewish state to dismantle the towns it built in Gaza and clear out all Jewish residents and soldiers from there, a new day would dawn in the Middle East. Peace would reign and prosperity would be showered upon Jew and Arab alike. In 2005, Ariel Sharon spat in the face of everything his party stood for. The world praised his great “courage” for turning his back on the very principles he lived his life by. Peace was about to spread across the region, everyone said.
Israelis supported Sharon in his venture. He formed a new party, Kadima, surrounding himself with members of Likud and Labor who supported his plan.
In truth, what happened was that the withdrawal granted terrorists bent on Israel’s destruction a new permanent platform from which to launch a jihad against Israel.
Adding further insult to great injury, upon the instructions of then-President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, democratic elections were held in “Palestine.” Strangely, Hamas was permitted to run, even though it had not forsworn violence and refused to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. Israel didn’t think Hamas would win anyway – another intelligence failure – and Rice posited that even if the terrorist faction did win, governing would force them to act responsibly and come around to the American position.Needless to say, these predictions were wrong. Thousands of rockets were shot from the newly vacated territory, aimed at inflicting damage upon innocent people going about their daily lives. In fact, it was in an effort to prevent the Hamas terrorists who rule Gaza from stocking up on more powerful weapons that Israel established the blockade which the “humanitarians” attempted to break through last week.
The world neither remembers nor cares why the blockade is in place. The world neither remembers nor cares that Israel is entitled to do all it can to protect its citizens from constant bombardment. The hypocritical world never mentions that were its own cities under terror attack, it would act in the same fashion. Israel is held to a different standard. Israel is expected to suffer all blows for the sake of peace. Israel is expected to vacate territory for peace. Israel is expected to allow its citizens to be slaughtered for the sake of peace.
The current American administration has let it be known that Israel is ignoring the security concerns of its major ally and benefactor and is engaging in activity which is endangering the US. The administration is looking at Israel as if it is a strategic liability and is increasingly looking to Israel to cease actions which threaten American interests. Never mind that those actions are vital to an ally’s security. Never mind that those actions are ones which any nation in a state of war would engage in to defend itself.
America now blames Israel for ruining its relations with a key Muslim ally, Turkey. Yes, that same Turkey which is drawing closer to Iran. The same Turkey which is eschewing its democratic traditions and rapidly spiraling into an Islamic state. The same Turkey which has turned from Israel in its bid to gain preeminence in the Islamic world. The same Turkey which was complicit in sending a ship laden with terrorists to clash with Israel in international waters. Yes, that same Turkey. Yes, its Israel’s fault that Turkey is angry at America because the Israelis had the nerve to fight back. And now, America is upset with Israel for causing a rift with Turkey. The truth of America’s already deteriorating relationship with Turkey is not important.
The New York Times reports that America is also angry at Israel because “the Gaza fight also makes it difficult for America to rally a coalition that includes Arab and Muslim states against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.” Until “the Gaza fight,” the New York Times would have you believe, Barack Hussein Obama’s attempts to organize a coalition against Iran were seeing much progress and he almost forced Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions. It was Israel that upended his plans.
And if you believe that, there are even more reasons to be angry at Israel. The Times reports further: “Mr. Netanyahu’s refusal to stop Jewish housing construction in Arab East Jerusalem also strains American ties with Arab allies. It makes reaching an eventual peace deal, which many administration officials believe is critical to America’s broader interests in the Muslim world, even more difficult.”
What does that mean? The Times explains: “During a press conference in April, Mr. Obama drew an explicit tie between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. General Petraeus sounded a similar theme in Congressional testimony earlier this year, when he said that the lack of progress in the Middle East created a hostile environment for America.”
When American soldiers get killed in Iraq, it is Israel’s fault. When American soldiers are blown up battling the Taliban in Afghanistan, it is Israel’s fault. It is Netanyahu’s fault that Obama’s war in Afghanistan isn’t going according to plan. It’s because frum Jews are building apartments in Ramat Shlomo.
So, as Israel sits on the front lines of the worldwide battle of militant Islam against the West, Israel is faulted for battling the radical enemies of everything the civilized world holds dear. As long as this administration remains in power, expect more of the same to continue. As long as Jews are in exile, expect the world to judge us differently than they judge anyone else. Expect rational judgment to take a vacation when it comes to the way they view Jews and the Jewish state.
What are we to do? How are we to battle them? How are we to survive? It is only by remaining loyal to our heritage and our convictions that we can triumph in the end. We dare not sink to the level of our oppressors. We dare not succumb to the urge to adopt their tactics.
The Gemara in Maseches Avodah Zara teaches that when Moshiach comes, the nations of the world will stand up and protest the punishment they are about to receive for their treatment of the Jews. They will all proclaim that everything they did was only to benefit the Jews and their service of G-d and Torah.
The Gemara says that Poras, Persia, will claim that everything they did was to help the Jews. “We built many bridges, conquered many towns and waged war,” they will say, “to enable the Jews to learn Torah.”
It is easy to understand that they will claim that they built bridges and other infrastructure to enable the study of Torah, but how does waging war help the Jews learn Torah? Perhaps it can be understood to mean that they waged war in order to scare the Jews into doing teshuvah and returning to Torah study.
Poras, Persia, is the present day state of Iran. When the ruler of that country rises up and repeatedly proclaims publicly to the entire world that he intends to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, who in their right mind would doubt that he means to do just that? When he continues his maniacally feverish race to arm himself with nuclear weapons to carry out his bloody intentions, we must raise our voices in passionate prayer that Hashem spare us from his evil intents.
But we also must utilize every opportunity we have to study and support Torah and thus create more zechuyos for ourselves and our people.
And there is more. This week, finally being allowed to present a defense to the charges leveled against him, our dear friend Sholom Mordechai ben Rivkah Rubashkin triumphed in a court of law. Until now, everything has been stacked against him. For the past two years, he has been the object of pubic loathing and contempt; he’s been tried and convicted for trumped up charges that paint him as a monster.
Indicative of this was the statement from no less an authority than President Barack Obama, who, according to the WCF Courier, said while campaigning in Davenport, Iowa, on August 25, 2008, “We’ve got to crack down on employers who are taking advantage of undocumented workers. When you read about a meatpacking plant hiring 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds, that is some of the most dangerous, difficult work there is. They have kids in there wielding buzz saws and cleavers – it’s ridiculous. And the only reason they are hiring these folks is because they want to avoid paying decent wages and providing decent benefits.”
The government accused him of 9,311 counts of child labor. Mr. Rubashkin was roundly condemned and threatened by gentiles and Jews alike. There was no doubt as to his culpability. In the end, the government couldn’t try him on more than 67 counts. The jury, when presented with the facts, cleared him.
The trial was held in Waterloo, Iowa. Just as Napoleon was stopped 195 years ago in June, 1815, in Waterloo, so too, we pray that the results of the trial handed down June 7th in Waterloo will be the beginning of the end of Sholom Mordechai’s torment.
We pray that the judge in the federal trial will exercise judicial restraint and intelligence when she finally hands down her sentence, bearing in mind that when Sholom Mordechai was finally permitted to present a defense, the prosecution crumbled.
We pray that just as the truth was finally revealed about the child labor charges, so will the truth emerge regarding the bank fraud charges.
The lesson here is that through it all, Sholom Mordechai has maintained his faith in Hashem. He hasn’t lost an iota of his integrity and dignity. Klal Yisroel rallied to his side, davened for him, and contributed funds to enable him to present his defense. Klal Yisroel united with much achdus and proved once again that when we are united, there is no force that can break us.
Let that be a lesson for us everywhere in golus. All those who set out to destroy us will have their date in Waterloo if we can remain united, honest and with hearts full of bitachon in Hakadosh Boruch Hu.
The Gemara in Maseches Brachos (7a) states that Rabi Yishmoel ben Elisha retold that once, as kohein gadol, when he went lifnai velifnim on Yom Kippur to offer the ketores, he saw Achteriel Kah Hashem Tzevakos sitting on a high and mighty throne. Hashem asked him for a blessing. He said the following: “May it be Your will that Your mercy will conquer Your anger and that Your mercy will cover over Your more stern middos, and that You behave with your children with the middah of mercy, and behave with them beyond the letter of the law.”
The Gemara goes on to state, “Veniyana lee berosho – He nodded to me with His Head,” signaling His approval.
The yahrtzeit of Rabi Yishmoel Kohein Gadol was on 25 Sivan, the day Sholom Mordechai’s verdict was delivered. May it signal that Hashem was menanaya lonu berosho and that we will all see yeshuos gedolos, leklal uleprat, bekarov.