As I walk the streets of Jerusalem and watch Israelis passing by on foot or behind the windows of their cars, I muse: You Jews are an endangered species.
I wonder what it is like to be one of you, to be born into a nation that has been targeted for centuries, for millennia, for no other reason than that you are Jews?
Are you naturally afraid? Can fear of anti-Semitism be transmitted in the genes, compounded by centuries of persecution against a people wherever they happened to find themselves on the face of the earth? Do you ever wonder: ~Why me? Why us?
Do you ever contemplate the possibility that the whole world and all the generations of history cannot be wrong; that there must be something about being Jewish that is inherently problematic to the rest of mankind, and that you should, therefore, try to identify that problem and rectify it?
From conversations with a number of you, I determine that there are two main responses to such questions:
From those appreciative of your unique heritage and your distinctive makeup, who recognize that your people have been a blessing to the world, affecting literally billions for the better through your spiritual and material contributions to mankind, the answer is: The problem is not with us as a nation; it lies with the other nations of the world.
From those ashamed of your people's past, who resent your national calling to be God's light to the world, who would much rather just to be like any other nation on earth, the response is: The problem is with us and, if we're to put an end to this, we have to stop being Jewish, and be content to simply be human beings.
To the former group I would say: If only the rest of your people felt as you do, you would be a strong nation, securely established in your land and able to vanquish your enemies and withstand the pressures of the world.
To the latter I feel to say this: From time immemorial, your people have been hated simply because they are Jews.
You have been hated:
- In ancient times and in modern times
- In the Dark Ages and following the Enlightenment
- In eastern cultures and in western cultures
- In primitive societies and in those at the forefront of modern civilization
- In times and places of prosperity and in times and places of poverty
- When you have ruled and when you have been ruled over
- For what you have believed and for what you have not been able to believe
- When you have practiced Judaism and when you have shunned it
- By leftists and by rightists
- By Nazis and by Communists
- By Christians and by Muslims
- In religious societies and in humanistic ones
The list can go on. What it clarifies is this:
Anti-semitism is and always has been a reaction or a response to anything that is distinctly Jewish. It can come from any place, from any people, out of any circumstance, in any time, but it is always aimed in one direction -- at the Jew.
Those trying to explain in human terms the reason for this universal and age-old phenomenon are unable to satisfactorily do so. Humanly speaking, anti-semitism cannot be understood or reasoned out? In spiritual terms, however, it is no mystery:
For it was God Who gave you, the Jewish people, your extraordinary purpose. He called you out, set you apart from other nations and entrusted to you your mission: Through your nation, salvation and redemption were to come to the human race.
From the start your existence has threatened the enemies of God. And it is the enemies of God, all those who oppose His great rescue plan, who have tried to destroy you.
Not because you killed Christ or cursed Muhammad. (Mathew 20:28. Jesus said: The Son of Man did not come to be served...but to give His life as a ransom for many.")
Not because you poisoned the wells of Europe and brought on the Black Death. (Actually brought by sailors to Genoa from south Russia, but the Jews were blamed.)
Not because you keep the Sabbath on Saturday and work on Sunday.
Not because you kill Christian children and use their blood to make matza. (Lie perpetrated by followers of Islam.)
Not because you know how to handle money.
Not because you own the banks and control the world.
Not because you are impure or subhuman. (Promulgated by the Nazis and now currently by Hamas.)
Not because you are communists or capitalists.
Not because you are Zionists.
And not because you have a Jewish state.
Those reasons are all cloaks; they are all deceptive. You are hated, and you always will be hated, simply because of your calling (which is what it is, no matter how much you kick against it) to be Jews.
And the efforts to destroy you will continue, they will not be ameliorated by your liberalism, your humanism, your rejection of your religion, your willingness to make obeisance before the demands of the international community; your readiness to give up land; your withdrawals or disengagements or convergences. All these aspects threaten your survival.
There is only one guarantee of your endurance, your ongoing existence against the ever-mounting odds:
Your God, the God of Israel is your Guarantee. He always has been. He always will be. He offers you the answer to all your fears, all your wanderings, all your wars, all your yearnings for peace. He offers to defend and protect you, to go to war against your enemy and to secure you in your ancient, forever Promised Land.
If only you would return to the LORD and to His Word the Tanach. Not to religiousness; not to rabbinical Judaism; not to your traditions or the teachings of your sages. Only when you are again living in Him will your wars and your sufferings all come to an end.
You have wandered long enough. With a heart overflowing with compassion and mercy, He is waiting for you.
"For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you. With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," Says the LORD, your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:7-10)
Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight. (Hosea 6:1-2)
Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts; look down from heaven and see, and visit this vine and the vineyard which Your right hand has planted, and the branch that You made strong for Yourself. It is burned with fire, it is cut down; they perish at the rebuke of Your countenance. Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. Then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved! (Psalm 80:14-19)