I found out something a few weeks ago that I should have known for decades. When the Roman Legions left Israel, having slaughtered thousands and sent thousands more out into what would become known as the Diaspora; they left behind dozens of Jewish villages that continued to survive.
These enclaves of biblical era Jewish life, continued to exist and do until this day. So, first of all, it should put to rest the idea that Jews in any way are newcomers and interlopers on that land. We never left.
Israel today is a heterogeneous mix of Orthodox, Semi-Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, traditional, Reconstructionist, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. Throw in the Christians, the Arabs and the hippy kids banished by their parents to find real life in the land of their ancestors and you’ve got the joyous mess that is Israel today.
Conflict and division in the land of Israel? Yeah, no question, this is the Jewish Homeland. Find me one Jewish community in the world where every Jew agrees on the politics, community life or even the food at a given restaurant. Right. There are none.
Israel’s major problem is that it does so well. It was a bereft desert for centuries after the Romans drove out the majority of the population. Now it is a fertile model that could make most of the world hunger free. It continues to pile up Nobel Prizes and patents on everything from a high tech toothbrush to sophisticated medical marvels. It has the twelfth largest GDP in the world with less than seven million residents.
Despite what the despicable Rabbi Eckstein would have you believe, there are not that many “starving Jews” in Israel. Even the videos on his infomercial are deceiving in that many of them are not from Israel. Poor people? Of course. Look at the number of souls the State absorbs every year—it would overwhelm the inadequate systems of the U.S.
Go to Israel and see the pulsating nightclubs of Tel Aviv. Spend time at the Western Wall and on the crowded streets of the Shuck in the Old City. Visit the large houses of Netanya and Sabayon. Go to the Negev and see the Bedouins still in their tents and the booming new neighborhoods of Beersheva. Visit the high tech startups at the Technion or Hebrew U.
Spend a day on Masada; take a ski trip to Mt. Hermon. Float on the Dead Sea. Cool yourself in the Oasis called Ein Gedi. Then tell me: What is Israel?
Never in the history of mankind has a small piece of land created so much emotion, so much controversy, so much anger, so much pride. You hear an argument in favor of Israel that would say: The Jews needed a homeland. No, the Jews had a homeland. It had been denied to them for most of modern history. But it was there—the Jewish homeland of Israel.
Suppose, God forbid, that Germany had won WWII and as a punishment to the French people, had cast them all out of the land. Anne Roiphe makes an excellent point about this in her recent article in Tablet Magazine. Would they still be French? Would the nation of France still be their homeland? Would songs and testament to the land be written about returning to the land of their “ancestors”? You betcha.
If that impossible tragedy had come to pass and then the French returned to their land, the world would have blessed the return. So, we took a little longer. And the nation is smaller in size than the one we left. But it’s there, it’s ours.
We will live through the lies that the UN and the Arab world heaps upon us. We will even, with heavy heart, listen to the lies and self-hatred of those Jews who claim to be anti-Zionist. You’re a Jew? You’re a Zionist, much as you may deny it.
The French without France would still be Frenchmen. If they returned to a smaller France, it would still be France and those who disapproved of the way it was governed would still be Frenchmen.
Our small country is under attack. By lies, by malevolent forces on the southern and northern borders. Hamas is preparing for yet another war. A war they again, will not win. But the world will do little to stop them. That again, will be up to Israel, to the Jews. Iran, the real great Satan lurks in Lebanon to the north. They are present in every Shia attack group throughout the Middle East. The group of nations, including our own, seeking to make a “deal” with them on their nuclear threat say nothing of the real threat that takes no time to develop, no technology to be refined.
They are the leading exporter of terrorism in the world. Israel knows this. In their heart of hearts, so does the American, French and English negotiators in Lausanne. Yet it is not on the table. No more than was the slaughter of the Jews before the declaration of World War II. But, the people of the book are back in the land of the book—and this time we are not leaving.