Here’s to This Object of Jealousy
The State of Israel celebrates its 59th year.
What a rocky ride this has been, a ride that started nearly 150 years ago, when this land was nearly entirely a rocky wasteland, a land of which all contemporary travelers said, with certainty, “It will never bloom, it will never come again to what it once was, to the description of it we read in the Bible”.
And also, that which He said, “And your enemies that dwell therein shall be astonished at it” (Leviticus 26:32) is a good tiding proclaiming in all the lands of exile. For our land does not accept our enemies. That too is a great witness and a promise unto us, for you will not find in all the inhabitated world a land that is good and wide and was inhabited and is as much in ruin as it. Because, ever since we got out of it, it has not accepted any nation and tongue; all make an effort to inhabit it and do not succeed.
HaRamban (Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman, 1194–1270), in his commentary on the Torah (Leviticus 26:16)
This state has been the home of Jewish culture, whether religious or secular. With G-d’s favor, the Jewish people have made it bloom, and with G-d’s favor it has been the source of copious innovations, including the microprocessors that power countless computers today, and advanced irrigation systems, and medical inventions—the list is exceedingly long.
And it has withstood surprising challenges. Recall, that after September the 11th, there was vocal opposition to the PATRIOT Act because of “the risk of having individual liberties curtailed under the pretext of wartime” (thus from the cowardly appeasers on the American Left). The state of Israel has been at war for every decade. It cannot be said that the history of Israel is punctuated by wars; the opposite is true: it is punctuated by ceasefires. Going by the logic of those who opposed post-9/11 measures against terrorism, the state of Israel should have turned into a dictatorship long ago—could have done so as far back as 1956. Instead, emergency governance was rescinded as soon as the war ended, every single time. A noteworthy achievement not just in the Middle East, but among democratic nations worldwide.
This state, situated in a cruel region of the world, surrounded by enemies bereft of any morality, could have retaliated terribly, and be justified at that. It did not: 20% Arab population in the Jewish state, despite all claims of “ethnic cleansing”; Cairo, Amman and Damascus still standing, although they could have been, and justifiably, reduced to ruins in 1967 and 1973; the population of the 1967 territories, far from being decimated as the accusers of “Zionist genocide” say in their blood libel, has grown exponentially. Arab members of the parliament; an Arab minister; autonomy for all non-Jews in their religious affairs (Muslims have recourse to shariah courts); and the best place a woman could live in, in the entire Middle East.
The state of Israel reflects the glory of nearly 150 years of achievements—thanks be to G-d!
It is only natural for such a state to provoke feelings of jealousy among those who are less constructive.
There is the Jewish joke about how Moses, in his stuttering, meant to say, “Canada”, but couldn’t, thus landing us in Canaan. Golda Meir of blessed memory quipped that, of all the states in the Middle East, Moses brought us to the one without oil. But aside from these jokes, these instances of Jewish humor making the troubles bearable (as opposed to the attitude of Ayatollah “There is no humor in Islam” Khomeini), there is a good reason for this, given by G-d in His Torah:
For the land whither thou goest in to possess it is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou didst sow thy seed, and didst water it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs; but the land whither ye go over to possess it is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water as the rain of heaven cometh down; a land which the LORD thy God careth for; the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:10–12)
The yearly rise of the Nile brought the Egyptians to complacency and total self-reliance, and their pharaohs to think themselves deities. The daily flow of oil from the fields of Arabia brings the Ishmaelites to lethargy—the existence of unearned, effortless wealth is inimical to progress and constructivity. The towering skyscrapers of Qatar are the residue of petrodollars, and nothing else; Qatar cannot boast of any other achievement, and those Muslim states without oil are the living hells of the world, with no prospect for the morrow but… jihad.
Jihad, and Communism—two facets of the same pernicious stone. Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach; and, it is all too clear, those can neither do nor teach, steal from others who have been industrious enough to do both. The failures of humanity, having been chronically unable to achieve anything of their own, have opted to steal those of others. And, to make it acceptable, to hide the naked truth of its being daylight robbery, they cloak it under the mantle of social theories, religion, post-colonial discourse and the talk of “justice” and “morality”. Marxism and Islam, two systems of legalized theft, are spared the condemnation of the world (apart from a few righteous who see the truth) because they are disguised as such positive movements. Justice, equality, fairness—who could object to such concepts? But it pays to reveal the diabolical reality lurking behind the curtain.
The fact is, the bare truth, arrogant though it may sound, shrill screams though it may elicit from the bien-pensants, is that most of the states of the world aren’t fit to lick the USA’s and Israel’s boots. The United Nation departments for “justice” and “security” and “welfare” are populated by the representatives of tin-pot dictators and oil-complacent sheiks whose subjects enjoy nothing in the way of justice or security or welfare. Those states that dare to place themselves on the tribunals of the world are the ones most deserving of being put in the dock. 22 existing Arab states and 57 existing Muslim states are hardly in the position to complain of “dispossession” and “land theft”. But they do. All the time. Greasing it all with oil-money, at that.
It is the mark of a man-made religion that it gives its followers exactly that which they humanly desire. The man-made religion of Islam gives its followers the most extravagant and gaudy of carnal pleasures in the afterlife; and in this life, it entitles them to the entire world. Conquer, pillage, burn and murder in all the lands and properties of the infidel, says this religion, for they are all yours. Legalized theft. That which every man dreams of—being king over others, possessor of endless riches, sampler of infinite pornography—this man-made religion promises him. The eye sees and the heart covets and the body commits the transgressions, as Rashi said. And Marxism is the same: all is yours under the fabled “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, all the wealth plundered from the non-Marxists.
What a contrast to this is Judaism! It would be expected, by dint of common sense, that those who believe themselves to be G-d’s Chosen would believe themselves entitled to the whole world. But G-d says: only the Land of Israel, and nothing else. Only this (even under its most expanded borders) minuscule strip of land on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Only this tiny land, without a regularly-flowing river to irrigate it, without oil to export, with nothing but the promise of flowing with milk and honey on condition of doing what G-d says.
One single, solitary state for the Jews! One state, whereas the Arabs already have 22, and the Muslims 57. Surely no one could be so stingy as to begrudge such a thing? Surely no one could imagine refusing this tiny strip of land? Surely this single, small, prosperous Jewish state would be fine with everyone?
No. In truth, no. It would be, if common sense were all there is to it, but it isn’t. No, the state of Israel is the one single, solitary state in the world of which it is acceptable to say, “It should never have been set up in the first place” at the very best, and “It should be fixed in the name of justice” (or tack “wiped out off the map” [G-d forbid] for the acceptable-sounding “fixed” and you get the true sentiment) in the now more common case, ever increasing in its fashionability. One single state for the Jews, set up on what was, nearly 150 years ago, an almost totally desolate land, and the nations do not want to hear of that. For Jews to inhabit Judea, Samaria and Gaza has now for long been the mark of the “Jewish extremist”, while the Muslim who “only” says that the discussion of the “Palestinian Right of Return” should be postponed for a later date is crowned a “moderate”.
“We made this desolate land bloom.” – “Listim atem!” (“Ye are robbers”, from Rashi’s commentary on Genesis 1:1)
“We created a new life and culture on this land.” – “Listim atem!”
“We are the only democratic state in the Middle East.” – “Listim atem!”
“We are the only state in the Middle East where women have equal rights.” – “Listim atem!”
“We are the only state in the Middle East where minorities are actually given a voice.” – “Listim atem!”
“Ours is the only state in this region whose culture is the same as that of America and Europe.” – “Listim atem!”
“Israel is the only state guaranteed to stay pro-Western, no matter what happens—remember Iran before and after 1979.” – “Listim atem!”
“Ye are robbers!”, “ye are robbers!”, “ye are robbers!”, again and again and again. Not a shred of consideration toward Israel’s achievements and culture and orientation and humanity in this hell-hole of a region of the world. Not the tiniest movement of the ear to listen to the truth that this is the only Jewish state, in a sea of Arab and Muslim states, situated on a really, really tiny strip of land. “This land is not yours”, the cold, hard, unrelenting wall of Jew-hatred keeps on saying.
While, in the meantime, those who think themselves entitled to the whole world get preferential treatment everywhere: self-censorship of Western artists, halal meals at schools, toilets facing away from Mecca, two attentive ears and one full heart toward their “legitimate grievances”, a multitude of excusations of their crimes by the pretext of “resistance to Western imperialism”, a call to “respect their culture”, warnings against stereotyping, all in all a snow-white moral check for the most depraved actions, such as raising children to detonate themselves in the midst of enemies or to behead them. All this, remember, is happening while the state of Israel, the one single, tiny Jewish state, the only modern and reliably pro-Western state in the Middle East, is decried as an “outlaw state”, and people shamelessly advocate its demise (G-d forbid), to much applause.
The word, “preposterous” doesn’t even scratch the surface in describing this state of affairs.
By natural, material merit alone, there should be no question about the state of Israel—about its right to exist, and about the right of the Jews to inhabit it without obstruction. But then those “reality-based” people, those “historical materialists” who likely as not believe religion to be “the opiate of the masses”, ignore the material achievements of the state of Israel completely, and supernaturally cling to non-material arguments: “Ye are robbers”. “Justice”. They speak of “justice”, a concept that falls well outside the bounds of the discourse of historical materialism.
Very well, then. If material arguments do not sway them to support the one single Jewish state, if they fall back to the abstract, airy, idealistic argument every single time, then we have no recourse but to our spiritual argument:
G-d, Creator-Owner of this entire world, says the Land of Israel is ours.
He says that, of the entire world, His Chosen are entitled to this tiny strip on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. This land and no more! Only this! The Jew-haters prefer to be stingy. Not even this tiny strip of land for the Jews. But they do not know, they do not know yet, that theirs is an affront not to the Jewish people—it is an affront to the Creator Himself.
And the consuming fire of His wrath will grip them unless they repent.
The righteous Victor David Hanson says:
Israel serves today as the ethical barometer in the western collective mind. Support for it brings no oil, no ingratiation with terrorists, no psychological lift of the usual easy bullying of a small democracy, but it does reveal respect for democracy, confidence in the history of the West, and respect for a humane culture and an accomplished people under terrible assault. So, I confess, as I age I sort of judge Westerners I meet now by their degree of fairness toward Israel. I’ve gotten to the point when I hear a rabid Leftist or a creepy Right-wing nut rant on Israel, I just pack it up and walk away. Life is too short for such nonsense.
On you, Victor, will G-d shower His endless blessings, as He has promised (Genesis 12:3).
This is the 59th birthday of the Jewish state. Enemies encircle her, but her only concern should be the question whether it is faithful to G-d’s commands. “A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this: When the wicked spring up as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they may be destroyed for ever.” – Psalm 92:7–8, by King David, from whose lineage the Messiah will come, through whom G-d will save Israel, speedily in our days, amen.