Entries in the 'Anti-Semitism' Category

“Shavuot: Light In The Midst Of Chaos” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Shavuot: Light in the Midst of Chaos

The Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the celebration for the giving of the Torah, has a special meaning this year. While Israeli society is under missile attacks, there is no festive atmosphere. It is a time to make a seminal decision about the people we want to be and how we want to face the future: in division and quarrels or to become guarantors for each other, to look at our actions through the world’s lens or through a deep introspection of our role as a people that received at the foot of Mount Sinai.

The Austrian Chancellor hoisted the Israeli flag on the roof of his office as a sign of solidarity with Israel. The Czech President tweeted a picture of his country’s flag next to the Israeli flag with a heart. Slovenia, Hungary and Poland expressed support for the struggle against Hamas, and Western governments, the UK, France and Germany, strengthened Israel with words of appreciation.

But the enthusiastic demonstrations of support by world leaders will have very limited affect, particularly if it only stems from personal sympathy with Israel. Politicians send hearts and wave Israeli flags in large cities in their countries, yet simultaneously hordes of enthusiastic people wave Palestinian flags and demonstrate against Israel.

If the clashes on the home field are not enough, then the clashes also spread abroad. In Germany synagogues have been vandalized and Jewish communities in Europe are on high alert for possible attacks and clashes.

This is the real way humanity looks at us, not through the diplomatic smiles and handshakes that come from some world leaders. The hateful demonstrations will far outweigh the expressions of support. Hostility will replace the former friendships until we are not tolerated anywhere in the world; no place will be left where a Jew will be able to live in peace.

But there is a way out. It is through our unity. Rabbi Akiva said, “Love your neighbor as yourself is the great rule of the Torah” (Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim). When Israel received the Torah it received a power that elevated them above their egoism and division—the root cause of all the threats the Jewish nation faces—and made them love each other as themselves. It reminds us that only if we unite will we succeed. Otherwise, the Talmud warns us, “There will it be your burial” (Shabbat 88a, Avoda Zarah)

Mount Sinai, the place where we received the Torah, symbolizes thoughts of siná, hatred toward each other. From the time of ancient Babylon to this day, the ego has not stopped growing and overpowering us, demanding more at the expense of others and tearing us apart as Jews. And there, at the foot of the mountain, we were first required to make a far-reaching decision as a people: either we would be united as one man in one heart or we would endure ongoing suffering and external pressure.

There is no sooner or later in the Torah, these are eternal laws. What we go through in these difficult days is another link in a chain of predicaments we have experienced as Jews throughout generations. The external pressure today requires us to unite and create a protected space between us.

We received the Torah, the method to connect us, the means to cover all crimes with love. This is how we became a people, the Jewish nation or “Israel,” which stems from the Hebrew words “Yashar Kel” (“straight to the Creator”). It refers to a state where we are granted the method to attain the Creator, the quality of love and bestowal, through our freewill.

The connection between us, the Jews, harnesses what the wisdom of Kabbalah explains are the seventy roots of the nations of the world. We are included in them and involved with them after a long exile in which we have absorbed those roots. Therefore, if we connect, we will radiate the power of the connection between us to all of humanity. The roots will all come together and grow into a strong tree that bears fruit for everyone, each and every one. And the stronger we become, the more we will radiate light to the nations of the world, and the more we will gain the world’s support as chaos will transform into peace.

“Coexistence With Arabs? We Can’t Even Exist With One Another!” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Coexistence with Arabs? We Can’t Even Exist with One Another!

The current wave of violence has exposed the fact that the coexistence between Arabs and Israelis within Israel was an illusion. There were economic benefits that both sides enjoyed, but the hatred has festered all those years until a trigger set it off. The painful truth that the riots of Arabs in Israel exposed is that they hate us no less than the Palestinians in the West Bank or in Gaza. The numerous lynching attempts, that miraculously have not taken someone’s life, yet, the burning of Jewish homes, synagogues, businesses, cars, the shots fired into people’s homes, and the stoning of cars on highways leave no room for doubt: The days of tolerance are over.

If we want to stop the violence against us, we must rise above our mutual hatred. Our military edge can buy us time, but if we don’t use the time we are given to build brotherly love above all our differences, the time will run out and we will suffer calamity after calamity until we learn that there will be no peace with our enemies until we make peace with one another. But when we achieve this, we will have no enemies.

Yet, anyone who knows the message of our sages, knows that they do not attribute our woes to our oppressors. Our sages do not attribute the ruin of the First Temple to Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylon, although he was the one who destroyed it. Instead, they attribute it to us, to how we treated one another. They explain that the bloodshed and slander among us brought upon us the conquest of Nebuchadnezzar.

Similarly, our sages do not blame the Seleucid Empire for the war against the Maccabees. They blame the Hellenists, the Jews who insisted on installing the Greek culture and belief system in Judea.

And most notably, our sages don’t blame the ruin of the Second Temple and the two millennia long exile on the Romans, who did the physical conquering of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple. Rather, they blame it on a single culprit: baseless, unfounded hatred among us, Jews.

This truth has not changed since. We bring our woes upon ourselves. When we hate each other, the nations hate us. When the Talmud, for example, explains the reasons for the ruin of the First Temple, it writes that people would “eat and drink with one another,” yet “stab each other with the swords in their tongues” (Yoma 9b). Moreover, the Talmud further states that “Even though they were close to one another, they were filled with hatred for each other.”

Why do we expect things to be different now? Why do we think that the verbal swords we use against each other today won’t translate into physical knives and guns now? The fact is that this is what is happening. As then, so now.

Therefore, if we want to stop the violence against us, we must rise above our mutual hatred. Our military edge can buy us time, but if we don’t use the time we are given to build brotherly love above all our differences, the time will run out and we will suffer calamity after calamity until we learn that there will be no peace with our enemies until we make peace with one another. But when we achieve this, we will have no enemies.

“Where Israel’s Real Might Lies” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Where Israel’s Real Might Lies

The rockets from Gaza are frightening, and they are certainly disrupting our lives. However, the real monster that’s emerged in this round of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the violence of Arabs who are Israeli citizens against Jews. Last night, rioters went through all the Jewish businesses in Old Acre, in Northern Israel, and torched every one of them. Attempted lynches were carried out in Lod, Tamra, and Acre. Jews were also injured from gunshots fired into homes in Lod, as well as from rocks and stones, and Molotov cocktail bottles. In Haifa, 60 Jews were hurt by smoke inhalation after Arabs torched cars owned by Jews, and the list goes on and on. All this comes on top of the hundreds of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, killing several people, wounding many more, and destroying homes and property.

Let me be clear, we must have military power. We must protect ourselves to the best of our ability, and attack those who attack us. However, if we base our confidence on military edge, it will fall apart, as we are seeing now. Israel’s only might always was, is, and will forever be the unity of its people, and nothing else.

Such mayhem is enough to shake up the confidence of anyone, and indeed it has. The Israelis are losing their confidence, but I believe it’s for the best, since now we can begin to base it on a solid foundation.

Let me be clear, we must have military power. We must protect ourselves to the best of our ability, and attack those who attack us. However, if we base our confidence on military edge, it will fall apart, as we are seeing now. Israel’s only might always was, is, and will forever be the unity of its people, and nothing else.

It doesn’t matter how divided we are; it doesn’t matter how deeply we hate each other for our different views or cultures. If we spread a canopy of solidarity over all our differences because of the simple fact that we are Jews and the essence of our peoplehood is unity above division, then no harm will come to us. On the contrary, by doing so, we will win the world’s respect and favor. Below is a piece of Jewish history that tells the tale of unity, division, and ultimate unity, and how it impacts other nations.

During the reign of Antiochus III the Great (222 to 187 BCE), Judea was ruled by the Seleucid Empire but enjoyed almost complete autonomy, as long as they paid their (reasonable) taxes to the king. In fact, in Antiquities of the Jews, Flavius Josephus writes that Antiochus the Great considered it his duty to guard the autonomy of the Jews. To show his appreciation for their assistance and his reverence for their way of life, he wrote a formal letter permitting the Jews to live according to their way: “On account of their piety toward God, [Antiochus decided to] bestow on them, as a pension for their [Temple work] … twenty thousand pieces of silver, in addition to abundance of fine flour, wheat, and salt.” His successor, Seleucus IV Philopator, kept the status quo with the Jews, who continued to live untroubled in Judea.

Even Antiochus Epiphanes, who succeeded Seleucus IV, initially had no intention to change the status quo in Judea, were it not for certain Jews who had decided to incite him against their brethren. Those Jews wanted to force the Hellenistic culture on Judea and take control of the country. To achieve this, their leader, Yason [Jason], paid Epiphanes a hefty sum of money, who, in return, ousted the incumbent High Priest in Jerusalem and handed the position over to Jason.

Jason quickly turned Jerusalem into a polis, renamed it Antiochia, and constructed a gymnasium at the foot of Temple Mount. In addition, the Hellenistic Jews abandoned ancient customs that related to the Temple and began to sow division in the country. In fact, the Hellenists sowed so much division that they even fought among themselves, between supporters of Jason and supporters of Menelaus (who in 170 BCE paid off Antiochus to oust Jason and make him the High Priest). By the time Antiochus Epiphanes wrote his infamous decree that demanded all Jews to become Hellenists, many of the Jews were already in agreement with his demands. In fact, according to The Book of the Maccabees (Vol. 1), “many of the Israelites consented to his religion and sacrificed unto idols.”

But we know the end of the story: The Hasmonean family in Modiin revolted against the decree, and under the leadership of Judah Maccabee, the Jews united and ousted the Hellenists. Moreover, Antiochus V Eupator, who succeeded Antiochus Epiphanes, restored the agreement of freedom to the Jews that his great grandfather, Antiochus III, had signed, and put the final seal on the Hasmonean Revolt when he executed Menelaus as a punishment for luring him into a war he did not want to fight.

Today, twenty-three centuries after the saga, it seems as though we haven’t learned much. As then, so now, we have to fight for our freedom because we didn’t fight for our unity before. Had this been our one and only focus, we wouldn’t have had to worry about anything else, just as the Jews in Judea enjoyed their freedom as long as they had kept their unity.

As long as we still have a country, we must shift our attention to our solidarity, to our unity, as this is our real weapon. While fighting against our enemies, we must fight the separation among us even more, since this, in the end, will determine the outcome of the war against the Arabs.

“Is Israel Technically Becoming An Apartheid State?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is Israel technically becoming an apartheid state?

I’m not interested in all these labels people apply to Israel. My view of Israel is guided solely by authentic Kabbalistic sources that I have been studying for over forty years now.

Nonetheless, taking into account the vast amount of Arabs in Israeli society who share equal rights as Israeli citizens, whom you will find studying at universities and in a whole range of respected professions, such as lawyers and doctors, I would not consider Israel an apartheid state. Apartheid is something completely different.

Yet the various categories that people place Israel into do not matter to me. What does matter is the growing need for the people of Israel to realize their role in the world: to unite (“love your neighbor as yourself”) and be a conduit for unity to spread worldwide (“a light unto nations”).

If the people of Israel would observe this condition, then both the people of Israel and the world would experience a whole new kind of harmony, peace and happiness enter into their lives. If the people of Israel fail to make any motion toward more unification among themselves, then the attitude toward Israel will continue worsening.

Whether you define Israel as an “apartheid” or a “terrorist” state makes no difference because it will not change reality. What matters is our attitude to the law of nature that determines everything: to learn how it determines everything and how we are in relation to it.

I need to realize that as a Jew, I ignite the hatred that others have toward me. In other words, if I fail to work on connecting positively to others, starting from a positive connection to the people of Israel, then I stimulate the massive human ego—the desire to enjoy at the expense of others—which brings division and hatred to humanity. Accordingly, negative sentiment toward Israel and the Jewish people grows from one day to the next, leading to decisions that are based on this growing hatred. Therefore, what do I have to fight if I myself give rise to that hatred against me?

All I see in such negative stereotyping of Israel is that we fail to act as we need to. I attribute nothing to Israel’s critics and haters. If the people of Israel would operate according to what made them the people of Israel to begin with—a group that aims at its increasing unity according to “love your neighbor as yourself” in order to spread unity and love to the world—then the world would respond positively to Israel. By uniting and generating a positive force among themselves, people worldwide would feel a much more harmonious, balanced, happy and confident sensation surface within them, myriad problems and crises would thus subside, and the attitude toward Israel would also invert from an increasingly negative one—as it currently is—to one that respects and loves the people who bring unification and goodness to the world. The nations of the world are like a shadow of the actions of the people of Israel.

“The Israeli nation was to be a ‘transition.’ This means that to the extent that Israel cleanse themselves … so they pass their power on to the rest of the nations.” – Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam), “The Love of the Creator and the Love of the Created Beings.”

Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“The Illusion Of Coexistence” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The Illusion of Coexistence

Israeli cities that were once considered symbols of Jewish-Arab coexistence are on fire. Riots and lynchings perpetrated by both sides have shattered what were perceived as peaceful neighborhoods. The large Israeli cities Haifa, Jaffa, Ramla, Acre, and Lod, burn in the ongoing barrage of thousands of missiles by Hamas terrorists targeting Israeli populations and the following military response in Gaza. Why is the bridge between both communities being consumed by flames of anger? Because there really was no such bridge or real coexistence. It has never been between us.

We need to learn how to create a true friendly existence, how to build it and consistently nurture it. We need mutual desire to achieve it, otherwise it will not work. It requires readiness and a consensual decision that we are not prepared to continue in this constant life of conflict and war.

There were cops and guards who did not let resentment flare up and it worked to a certain extent until now, but this safety valve was simply released and exploded.

We like to whitewash or paint reality pink, but there is hatred toward us on the part of the Arabs, as there always has been. We need to talk about it, admit it, and understand that it is not accidental; we need to realize what the reason for it is. Only in this way will we be able to arrange a fundamentally corrected mutual relationship with the Arabs without clouding the truth with pretty tales and naive exclamations like, “Oh, how did that happen? After all, we got along with each other so nicely!”

We need to learn how to create a true friendly existence, how to build it and consistently nurture it. We need mutual desire to achieve it, otherwise it will not work. It requires readiness and a consensual decision that we are not prepared to continue in this constant life of conflict and war.

Our haters feel deep inside that we interfere with them, like a speck of grit in the eye that they must get rid of because it is unbearable. This is how they feel about us, like we are the cause of all their suffering. Even the small quarrels between them that have nothing to do with us, they still point at us to blame. And it is not just about our cousins in the mixed neighborhoods, but about all the citizens of the world.

In the depths of their hearts, Arabs and non-Arabs feel that we are the source of all their problems, even the most private ones. If they could, they would have killed us a long time ago, only they could not. Not because we are so smart and powerful, but because precisely from the small point called Israel something new needs to spread to humanity, a new form of relationship, a bond of heartfelt inner connection, which is the whole fix for the entire world.

One hundred years ago, foremost Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) wrote that Israel “Must present something new to the nations. This is what they expect from the return of Israel to the land! …Justice, and peace. And this wisdom is attributed to us alone.

“If this return is canceled, Zionism will be canceled altogether…And its residents are destined to endure much suffering. Undoubtedly, either they or their children will gradually leave the country, and only an insignificant number will remain, which will ultimately be swallowed among the Arabs.

“This would certainly prove to the nations the rightness of Israel’s return to their land, even to the Arabs. However, a return such as today’s does not impress the nations whatsoever, and we must fear lest they will sell Israel’s independence for their needs, needless to mention returning Jerusalem.” (“The Writings of the Last Generation.”)

Today the Jewish nation is deeply divided. Nonetheless, it is incumbent upon us to be the people whose connections between its members are the most beautiful, the closest and the most corrected.

The beginning of repairing the rift rests within us and solely between us. From within us the power of oneness will spread in widening circles to the whole world. This is an order that cannot be changed; this is a supreme law of nature. First we need to reach the love of Israel within us, and later reach the love of the world, affection for all humanity, and adherence to the Supreme Power.

“No Victory Without Conviction, And No Conviction Without Unity” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “No Victory without Conviction, and No Conviction without Unity

The State of Israel is unique on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. But perhaps we should talk about how Israel began, because if we know how it began, perhaps we’ll be able to understand the present complicated situation a little better. The idea of a contemporary Jewish state began in the late 19th century after pogroms against Jews in Russia, combined with socialist ideals that many secularized Jews embraced, led to the creation of Hovevey Zion [Lovers of Zion], the first Zionist movement. At the same time in France, the Dreyfus affair, when a Jewish French army officer was falsely accused of espionage for Germany, shook up a Jewish Viennese journalist named Theodor Herzl and drove him to realize that only a Jewish sovereign entity would save them from antisemitism.

We, Jews, are living in the State of Israel not for our own sake. It may appear as if we are, but it is only an illusion. We are here for the rest of the world, and unless we understand this and convince the world that this is so, we will not have the world’s support or the conviction in our being here.

As a result, at around the same time, Jews began to build and settle in Palestine, then an Ottoman province, as well as build political institutions for a future state. The Russians, who were virulently antisemitic, did not oppose the departure of the Jews from their midst, and the Ottomans had no interest in the forgotten province that was mostly marshland infested with mosquitoes and malaria.

During World War I, the British Empire conquered much of the Middle East, including all of Palestine. The British, influenced by Christian values, believed in the Biblical promise to the Jewish people. Encouraged by Jewish Cabinet members, the British government declared in 1917 that it “view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish psshheople” and to “use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

Despite ups and downs in the relationships between the Jewish settlement in Palestine and the British authorities, the national home gradually took shape. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they aggressively urged Jews to leave Germany and go to Palestine. They even allowed German Jews to take most of their wealth with them to Palestine, which was exceptional since Germany had strict currency rules forbidding export of German Marks so as not to devalue their currency. Indeed, much of the industry required for the establishment of an independent country, such as weapons, food producing factories, roadworks, and steel industry, was established thanks to Jewish money that poured out of Nazi Germany with Germany’s and Britain’s support.

Finally, in 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust, the League of Nations voted in favor of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine, and the State of Israel was founded.

We therefore see that in the making of the Jewish state, other nations, and eventually the majority of the world, supported the establishment of the State of Israel. No other country has had such support; no other country was confirmed and recognized by the world’s key establishment even before it was established. In fact, even the victory of the Jews in the War of Independence that followed the League of Nations’ declaration was achieved with the active support of foreign countries who sold weapons and ammunition to the fledgling country, with a few even joining the armed forces.

However, for all the support that the Jewish state received in its infancy, it would not have won the war against the armies of six Arab countries—which were far better equipped and outnumbered the Jews by dozens of times—were its people not convinced that their cause was just and necessary.

Today, the situation is to the contrary. We have lost the support of the world, and, even worse, we have lost the conviction in our being here. In order to renew it, we must understand why we are really here.

We, Jews, are living in the State of Israel not for our own sake. It may appear as if we are, but it is only an illusion. We are here for the rest of the world, and unless we understand this and convince the world that this is so, we will not have the world’s support or the conviction in our being here.

Our only justification for being in the land of Israel is in being the people of Israel. In other words, in the deeper, spiritual sense of the word, the people of Israel are not those who call themselves Jews, but those who agree to unite “as one man with one heart,” just as our ancestors did after they came out of Egypt. They established the people of Israel, settled in the Land of Israel, and were expelled from it when they abandoned their unity and stopped being a spiritual people of Israel.

Therefore, our conviction depends on our union “as one man with one heart,” or at least on striving to reinstate this bonding. If we do this, we will become what we were tasked with being—“a light unto nations.” Our unity will set an example of rising above enmity and will “convince” the world that we “deserve” to be here. We do not need to prove anything or convince anyone. All we need to do is unite among ourselves.

I know that achieving unity among Jews is harder than any task, and that every Jew would prefer to unite with anyone but fellow Jews. No hatred is as deep as the hatred of the Jews for one another. This is precisely why when this hatred is resolved, all hatreds will be resolved.

It therefore turns out that unity is the basis of our success, a precondition for our conviction in being here, which in itself is a precondition for our victory. If we want peace, we must begin with peace with one another.

For more on this topic, refer to the books The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord, and Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour.

“Our Own Worst Enemies” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Our Own Worst Enemies

About a week ago, Amit Segal, a political commentator for Israel’s Channel 12 News, interviewed former Israeli ambassador in Washington Ron Dermer, who served from 2013 to 2021. To me, the most significant point that Dermer put across was that the support for the State of Israel among American Jews is dropping. Moreover, Dermer stressed that some of Israel’s most vociferous and venomous critics are Jews. When I look at those critics, it seems to me that they are not only hateful toward Israel, but that they take pride in their hatred.

Until we, Jews, overcome the hatred we feel for one another, there will be no healing for the hatred toward us. Throughout the centuries, we have been hated for every conceivable reason, as well as for some inconceivable ones. Hatred needs no reason or reasoning. The hatred for the State of Israel is only the latest in the series, but it is the same Jew-hatred that has tormented our people for centuries.

Indeed, the greatest antisemites are the Jews themselves. In antiquity, it was the Jew-turned-genocidal-anti-Semite Tiberius Julius Alexander who slaughtered 50,000 Jews in Alexandria, Egypt, and led the Roman army into the Temple through the Golden doors his own father had built. In the Middle-Ages, it was Cardinal Juan de Torquemada, a descendant of Jews, who initiated and oversaw the Spanish Inquisition that led to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain. In modern times, Jews have been acting against Jews on countless occasions, but perhaps one of the most notorious among them was Rabbi Stephen Wise, the leader of American Jewry during World War II, who helped President Roosevelt hamper the immigration of the Jews from Germany and Austria to the US while they could still save themselves from the persecution of the Nazi regime.

In order to understand how it is possible that Jews would hate Jews so vehemently, we need to understand that the root of the Jewish people is connection. We became a nation at the foot of Mt. Sinai when we agreed to unite “as one man with one heart,” and we lost our nationhood, along with our land, when we succumbed to unfounded hatred. Since then, and for the past two millennia, we have been in exile from each other, from our most basic tenet, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The State of Israel represents a chance we have been given to restore our nationhood, namely our unity. Jews who oppose the State of Israel are actually opposing unity. Perhaps subconsciously, they do not want to unite “as one man with one heart,” and certainly not to love their neighbors as themselves. They preach justice for others, but they exude hate for their own. In the name of equity to all, they promote prejudice and discrimination against their folk.

It will not help. Until we, Jews, overcome the hatred we feel for one another, there will be no healing for the hatred toward us. Throughout the centuries, we have been hated for every conceivable reason, as well as for some inconceivable ones. Hatred needs no reason or reasoning. The hatred for the State of Israel is only the latest in the series, but it is the same Jew-hatred that has tormented our people for centuries.

However, here, in sovereign Israel, we finally have a chance to reinstate our unity, and regain our nationhood. This is our duty to ourselves, and our onus toward the nations. Unity is the only way we can become “a light unto nations.” If we want to win the world’s favor, we must focus on internal unity. When we display hatred toward each other and sympathy for others, they see it as sycophancy, and no one likes a sycophant. I think it is time we started looking more at each other and built some inner strength, and less at others and what they might think. They will think about us what we will think about each other.

“The Pending Victory” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “The Pending Victory

The Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II was a great victory. The recent 76th anniversary celebration of the important historic event should be also a reminder of the atrocities of the Nazi regime which acted with visceral hatred towards entire populations and especially against the Jews. Humanity overcame the rise of this pernicious force, but there is still work to be done to defeat the underlying origin of wars and conflicts: our egoistic human nature of self-benefit that causes division and hostility.

We must remember and relearn that we, the Jewish people, have a special role among the peoples of the Earth—to defeat the evil instinct that separates us from one another, and to strive tirelessly for connection that will defeat hatred forever. In this way we will fulfill our mission in the world and claim the most important victory ever: lasting peace and prosperity.

We have not learned much from history, neither the people of Israel nor all the nations. Even today Nazi parties can be found everywhere, and somehow we come to terms with the situation that antisemitism is rising again, albeit not as it was then. We should be clear that based on the growing manifestations of hatred against Jews, that there will be no problem in establishing a government today similar to what existed in Germany before. Such a scenario would not necessarily threaten just the people of Israel in the State of Israel, but Jews everywhere in the world.

Russia’s Victory Day was a huge success against the destructive Nazi regime, against the well-oiled war machine that came out of Germany, but the ideology itself was not defeated; it is alive and kicking. On May 9, 1945, the world received a beautiful lesson, that if many peoples stand together in unity against those who break all agreements and conventions of human civility—like the actions perpetrated by the German regime—then they will succeed. However, we must recognize that we are still lacking treatment of the root of the problem that is still in our midst.

The Russians are by nature a people capable of connecting in a time of need and of standing up against their haters. Hitler was a fool to try to go against them, and many advised him not to, but he thought he would succeed, that he would be the only one in history who could defeat them. He failed.

One and a half million Jews from Russia also joined the Red Army, enlisted in the struggle and fought against the Nazis. In spite of that, over the years the Russians became distinctly antisemitic. They learned from the Germans to hate Jews, and the growing hatred, together with the plethora of difficult living conditions in the former Soviet Union, built within the Jews a strong desire to leave Russia and move to Israel.

I myself was among those who immigrated—I remember well those times. It was the late 1960’s, from the Six Day War and onwards. It was already felt than that the emerging Jewish state had a solid foundation. It was felt that Israel could endure the rising challenges it faced through the determined mindset of soldiers and hard workers needed for the new nation to thrive. Many Russian Jews related to this vision and expressed a desire to join this cause and call to action. But even the establishment of the state of Israel did not help to remove the hatred that still clings within our hearts, and it continues to haunt us.

Russia’s Victory Day over Nazi Germany is a day worthy of respect for the heroes of that war who stood together and fought bravely. And at the same time, we need to ask a very important question: Why does the same hatred still stand with all its bitterness, and how do we begin to sweeten it from this day on?

We must remember and relearn that we, the Jewish people, have a special role among the peoples of the Earth—to defeat the evil instinct that separates us from one another, and to strive tirelessly for connection that will defeat hatred forever. In this way we will fulfill our mission in the world and claim the most important victory ever: lasting peace and prosperity.

“With Our Hands On The Valve” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “With Our Hands on the Valve

Wherever you look around the world, antisemitism is on the rise. In Argentina, the police prevented a deadly attack on a synagogue that was planned for a Saturday when synagogues are packed. In France, the Court of Cassation absolved the 2017 murderer of a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, of criminal responsibility because he took cannabis before he brutally beat her and threw her out the 3rd floor window yelling in Arabic, Allahu akbar [God is great]. According to the Anti Defamation League, in 2020, there were more than 2,000 antisemitic incidents in the US. Similarly, the German Federal Criminal Police Office reported that the number of antisemitic crimes across the country was 2,351. Even the news about the Mt. Meron disaster, where 45 Orthodox Jews died in a stampede, including quite a few children and youths, was met with vitriol on social media. The many responders audaciously wrote such comments as “God send Your wrath on the Jews” and “Thank God, they’ll continue their festival of fire in Hell.”

If we look into the reason that our sages and the world place the responsibility for our woes in our laps, we will find that both refer to our internal division as the cause. While the nations blame us for sowing division among them, our sages point to our hatred of each other, which prevents us from spreading love of others to the world.

Antisemitism has always been ubiquitous and has always led to violence against Jews, but never was it so pervasive all at the same time. On the personal and social levels, individual Jews and Jewish communities around the world are facing a spike that has many of them looking for alternative places to live, but there aren’t many options. On the international level, institutional antisemitism cloaked as anti-Zionism expresses itself through coordinated attacks on Israel in the UN and other international organizations.

Additionally, America’s support of Israel is fading; its focus has shifted to renewing the accord with Iran, whose explicit goal is to obliterate the State of Israel. Europe, too, whose anti-Israel stance has long been a challenge for the Jewish state, supports Shi’ite, Iran backed Muslim organizations which the EU itself has defined as terrorist organizations.

Why does the world blame Jews and Israel for its every woe? Why do people accuse us, for example, of creating the Covid-19 virus, and before that the HIV virus? Why did it accuse us of wanting to destroy the world and take control over it during the 2008 Great Recession? Why do many people feel that Israel is an ally of Al Qaeda? In short, why do people feel that, as actor Mel Gibson fumed, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” or as retired General William Boykin blustered, “The Jews are the problem; the Jews are the cause of all the problems in the world”?

Interestingly, our sages seem to be somewhat in agreement with antisemites that the world’s troubles are somehow our fault. The sages of the Talmud wrote, “No calamity comes to the world but for Israel” (Yevamot, 63a). Rabbi Shimon also writes in The Book of Zohar that Israel’s wrongful actions “bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world” (Tikkuney Zohar, Tikkun No. 30). In the early 20th century, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Arie Altar, the ADMOR of Gur, wrote in his principal composition Sefat Emet: “The children of Israel became responsible for the correction of the entire world … And it is to that that they replied, ‘That which the Lord has said, we shall do’—correct the whole of Creation. …In truth,” he concludes, “everything depends on the children of Israel.”

If we look into the reason that our sages and the world place the responsibility for our woes in our laps, we will find that both refer to our internal division as the cause. While the nations blame us for sowing division among them, our sages point to our hatred of each other, which prevents us from spreading love of others to the world.

Accordingly, in his composition The Book of a Few, Rabbi Hillel Tzeitlin writes that “If Israel is the one true redeemer of the entire world, it must be fit for that redemption. Israel must first redeem its own soul, the sanctity of its soul.” And how does Tzeitlin propose that we will achieve this? “For this purpose, I wish to establish with this book the ‘unity of Israel’ … If founded, the unification of individuals will be for the purpose of … corrections for all the ills of the nation and the world.”

Similarly, the great 20th century kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag wrote in his essay “Mutual Guarantee”: “It is upon the Israeli nation to qualify itself and all the people of the world … to develop until they take upon themselves that sublime work of the love of others, which is the ladder to the purpose of Creation.”

So, when you look at the world and see the enmity among people and nations spreading like brushfire, and there is no water around to put it out, you realize that we have our hands on the valve, and we are the ones keeping it shut. Consciously or not, people evidently feel that the Jews are responsible for their troubles, but they don’t understand in what way. They cannot see that we are responsible for their troubles through our internal division and mutual hatred, which prevents them from achieving unity among themselves. Indeed, this lesson is for us to learn, and for us to execute. Because at the end of the day, as the great Rav Kook points out in his book Orot, “In Israel lies the secret to the unity of the world.”

For more on this topic, refer to the books The Jewish Choice: Unity or Anti-Semitism, Historical facts on anti-Semitism as a reflection of Jewish social discord, and Like a Bundle of Reeds: Why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour.
[282040]

“Why It Is Suddenly “Open Season” On Israel” (Linkedin)

My new article on Linkedin “Why It Is Suddenly “Open Season” on Israel

This week Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, was “the latest watchdog to accuse Israel of perpetuating a version of the racist legal system that once governed South Africa,” according to The New York Times. The HRW 213 page report, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” claims to present “the present-day reality of a single authority, the Israeli government, ruling primarily over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, populated by two groups of roughly equal size, and methodologically privileging Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians, most severely in the occupied territory.”

We need to understand that the world wants to get rid of the Jewish state. Therefore, the hiatus we were given while Trump was in office was only a temporary pause. This pause has ended, and the world will use every pretext to portray the Jewish state as evil.

The position of HRW has not changed for years, and this report is nothing new. What has changed, however, is the world’s response to it, embracing the report as solid truth. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the equivalent of the State Department) lambasted the report as baseless and biased, but no one really cares what Israel is saying. For years, the Israeli government’s strategy has been to state the fact that it has offered the Palestinians sovereignty over 97% of the territories three times over the past twenty years, but the Palestinians rejected all of them. Israel reminds the critics that Israeli Arabs are equal citizens and are represented in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and even if they speak explicitly against the existence of the State of Israel, they are not silenced because of the democratic principle of freedom of speech.

But facts and reason do not matter. When it’s “open season” on Israel, everyone joins the hunt. Israel’s apologetic strategy will not abate the animosity toward it, and it doesn’t even matter if it’s guilty or not. When there is hatred, some blame will always be found to place on the hated one. Especially now, when the dweller in the White House has changed and Israel is no longer the favored country there, it is as though the world has been given a green light to attack, and this is exactly what it does.

We shouldn’t be surprised. We should be very worried, but most of all, we should get very active. Unless we act now, things will become worse, and soon. We need to understand that the world wants to get rid of the Jewish state. Therefore, the hiatus we were given while Trump was in office was only a temporary pause. This pause has ended, and the world will use every pretext to portray the Jewish state as evil.

Since it is useless, we should stop focusing on others and start focusing on ourselves. It is time to work on our inner solidarity, our social cohesion. The division we project sends a clear message to the nations: Get them now while they are weak!

If we were united, they would not only stop accusing us of whatever evil they can concoct, but they would finally see some benefit from our existence. After all, the only purpose of our being in the State of Israel, Jews from all the exiles, is to set an example of uniting all the cultures and ethnicities. If we unite, it will reignite the latent feeling within every person in the world that the Jews have a purpose in this world: to be “a light unto nations.” When our ancestors joined Abraham’s company, they were strangers who joined him only because they subscribed to his teaching that unity above hatred is the right way to live. When the offspring of those strangers united under Moses’ leadership at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they pledged to bond “as one man with one heart.” Only then, when they achieved this level of unity, were they given the task of being “a light unto nations.”

Our current disunity, our unfounded hatred, tells the world that we are not a light unto nations. In fact, we are the opposite of it: sending a constant message of division and mutual derision. This is why they hate us.

Here is a great example of the transformation that will take place if we unite. Ukraine born Vasily Shulgin was a senior member of the Duma, the Russian Parliament, before the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Openly and proudly, he proclaimed himself an anti-Semite, and often reiterated that statement. In his book What We Don’t Like About Them, he analyzes over many essays his perception of the Jews and what he thinks they are doing wrong. For instance, Shulgin complains that Jews are “very smart, effective, and vigorous at exploiting other people’s ideas. However,” he protests, “this is not an occupation for ‘teachers and prophets,’ not the role of ‘guides of the blind,’ not the role of ‘carriers of the lame.’” In another essay, Shulgin becomes almost poetic as he describes where the Jews can lead humanity if they only unite and rise to the challenge: “Let them … rise to the height to which they apparently climbed [in antiquity] … and immediately, all nations will rush to their feet. They will rush not by virtue of compulsion … but by free will, joyful in spirit, grateful and loving, including the Russians! We ourselves will request, ‘Give us Jewish rule, wise, benevolent, leading us to the Good.’”

The writing is on the wall; we can unite of our own volition, or we can be pushed to it against our will. If we refuse to do it either way, it will not end well. In 1929, Dr. Kurt Fleischer, the leader of the Liberals in the Berlin Jewish Community Assembly, stated that “Anti-Semitism is the scourge that God has sent us in order to lead us together and weld us together.” In 1929, we would not listen. I hope this time we will.
[281741]