“Do not keep silent, O G-d! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O G-d! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate you have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.'” Psalm 83:1-4
Israel pays a severe price to obey Torah’s command to distinguish itself from all other nations. By “agreeing not to agree” the Jewish people suffer never-ending xenophobic persecution. For many years I have been astounded at the parallels between the above-quoted Psalm, written three thousand years ago, and Israel’s current struggle with Arab neighbors. In fact, I personally believe the ten antagonists listed a few verses later in this Psalm are described elsewhere in the Bible as ten horns and ten kings and are central players of the end times. (This is a contrary view to what many hold about the twelve nation E.E.C.). Whatever our views of biblical prophecy, here we see a diabolical plot to rid the earth of Israel’s name.
The attempt to make the world Judenrein has repeated itself with fanatical dedication through the ages, leading up to the Nazi “Final Solution” little more than a generation ago. In modern Israel, hardly a day goes by without an uneasy remark about “anti-shem-ee-ute” (antisemitism) around the world, and now especially in Europe – again! While the recent Oscar-winning movie, Schindler’s List, is a Hollywood view of history, it has been hailed by many Israelis as a useful tool to remind a doubting world of the unbelievable yet true horror of the Jewish Holocaust in “enlightened” Europe. German viewers of the film shed tears over the cruelty of a previous generation. Many Israelis, like a lady sitting near me in the movie theater, were certainly moved. Yet voices of hate still reverberate. As usual, with the finger pointed at an American-Israeli maniac in Hebron, some still paint all Jewish people with the same brush. Newspapers here in Israel are not speculating “if” there will be an Islamic reprisal for those slain in Hebron, but rather “when” it will happen.*
Baruch Goldstein’s cold-blooded slaughter of worshippers kneeling in prayer must never be excused. Yet certain Hebron Muslims cannot be excused from their responsibility, either. The evening before the massacre, as Jewish worshippers, including Goldstein, were reading the Scroll of Esther in observance of Purim at the cave in Hebron, Muslims interrupted and threatened them with shouts of “It-bakh al Yahud” (slaughter the Jews), a familiar slogan in this part of the world. In Goldstein’s mind the Muslim threats were identical with Haman’s threat to his forefathers and demanded a similar action.
When one thinks about it there is bizarre irony in the fact that last September Israel’s government officially recognized the PLO, a long-time terrorist organization with a “covenant” which calls for the complete destruction of Israel. Yet this same government has now outlawed the ultra-nationalist Jewish “Kach” party (of which Goldstein was a part) which is fanatically dedicated to the purity of the “Holy Seed” (Israel’s national integrity). In 1988 Kach was banned from elections in Israel for being racist, now it is completely illegal to be a member.
Though the massacre side-tracked the current peace process for a time, Israel’s government is still scrambling to implement the Gaza-Jericho First agreement. IDF forces are already beginning to pull out of the Gaza Strip and preparations are being made in Jericho for PLO chairman Yasser Arafat. He has announced that he will be in Jericho within a month. At the same, some Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip who now feel less secure because of the hasty retreat of Israeli troops, left their settlement in Gaza and pitched tents on the other side of the “Green Line” (the pre-’67 boundary) and are asking the government for compensation to be resettled.
In the meantime, Hebron, the ancient city of the Patriarchs for Jews, and revered by Muslims as well, is still in the center of controversy. The four hundred and twenty Jewish settlers living in the middle of a city of 110,000 Arabs have heard rumors from cabinet ministers that the government intends to remove them. These whispers have provoked a rabbinical court of three high-ranking rabbis (one of them, Rabbi Shapira, a former chief rabbi for Israel) which is aligned with the rightist National Religious Party to rule that it is against halachah to uproot Jewish settlements in the biblical land of Israel, adding that such an action will tear at Israeli society. And, as did Rabbi Shlomo Goren a few month ago, this religious court called on all IDF soldiers to refuse to obey any order to evacuate Jewish settlers, rousing a storm of protest from all sides. In fact, other high-ranking rabbis (including Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, a former Sephardic chief rabbi) have dismissed this ruling. For its part, the government has invited an international observer force to Hebron. It is not hard to see Israeli society is being churned by titanic external and inner forces.
Through it all it is possible, even in Israel, to live in a dream-like fog and ignore danger signals. My month of reserve army duty coincided with the Islamic festival of Ramadan, and with the Jewish holiday of Purim falling right in the middle. During the month I listened to fellow soldiers – informed Israelis – who held widely differing opinions about the “peace” process. The first night on duty I listened to a heated two-hour dispute between Zohar and Carmi, representing the political left and right respectively. At one point, Zohar, from a settlement in the valley of Meggido, stood, raised his voice and forced his words on Carmi, “All of you on the right are ‘primitive’, the government has got to give peace a chance.” Undaunted, Carmi, from Netanyah and employed in the territories in the prison system, calmly responded, “You on the left are out in space and are not looking at reality.” Nothing was solved, of course. During the month I talked with two younger officers who seemed convinced the current peace process is the only way, while other older soldiers said Israel is now in real danger. No one except Lt. Shmeel, the assistant platoon commander, a robust, long-bearded Orthodox Jew with a knitted kippah dangling from his fly-away hair, and pistol tucked in beside his big belly, had any hope of a real solution for Israel’s troubles. The Orthodox still look for Biat ha-Mashiah, the coming of Messiah. The Orthodox channel for Qol Israel, Israel’s national radio, continually plays rousing songs about the coming of Messiah. In fact, Hasidic Habadniks, loyal disciples of ninety two year-old Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, expect his miraculous recovery from the critical condition he is now in and that he will usher in the Redemption of Israel and the entire world.
We know Messiah’s return in the clouds of Heaven will end suffering in the world. No longer will the innocent be falsely accused. Antisemitism will pass from reality. Even so, today, while we speak the truth of Yeshua the Messiah in love, we must expose antisemitism as a diabolical lie. Many of you at Baruch HaShem remember the anti-Semitic slogans sprayed on the building several years ago, a sickening experience many Jews around the world have encountered. We know the chosen of G-d have tasted bitter hardship from the beginning. Indeed, Havah (Eve), the mother of mankind, fell prey to cruel satanic treachery, while her son, righteous Abel, perished at the hand of a jealous brother. Diabolical slander and murder of the innocent has at its source hatred of G-d, just as we read in Psalm 83. Satan has truly been a liar and a murderer from the beginning. World history to this very day shows G-d’s chosen are still victims of his malignant lies and plots. We, as believers in King Yeshua, both from the Jewish nation, and from all nations, hold forth a living hope, knowing the days of the “prince of the power of the air” and his devotees are numbered.
“Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O L-RD. Let them be confounded and dismayed forever, yes let them be put to shame and perish, that men may know that You, whose name alone is G-d, are the Most High over all the earth.” Psalm 83:16-18.
*It “happened” on the fortieth day after the Hebron massacre. The Hamas Islamic terror organization claimed responsibility for the “makhoneet tofet” (car bomb – literally “Hell car”) which exploded about 15 minutes past noon in downtown Afula, an Israeli city about ten kilometers south of Nazareth. Eight were killed with more than fifty wounded. The terrorist driving the car was also killed in the explosion. The next day was Yom ha Shoah, Israel’s yearly Holocaust memorial day.
– Hanokh ben Qeshet