Thursday, September 06, 2007

This is a hijacking. . . .

All Jewish passengers please get off at the next stop. This joke made the rounds 31 years ago, after Israeli commandos on July 4, 1976 swooped down on Entebbe airport in Uganda and rescued Jewish hostages that had been hijacked by Arab and German terrorists and brought to Uganda with the active cooperation of its maniacal dictator Idi Amin. It was an electrifying fulfillment of the verse we read in last week's parsha, "All the peoples of the earth will see that the name of Hashem is reflected in you, and they will fear you." No, the peoples of the earth do not fear (and respect) us because we can learn a blatt Gemara, but because we can kick butt, and when we do so God fights by our side.

Thirty-one years later we are still beset with the same enemies we fought then, only now all of Western civilization is in their crosshairs. The world sowed the wind then (it's only Israel, not our problem) and is reaping the whirlwind now. And where are we? When I was growing up it seemed that all our friends' fathers (including my own father a"h) who were not recent immigrants and refugees fought in World War II. Every block in every Jewish neighborhood sported a chapter of the Jewish War Veterans. Today those JWV chapters either no longer exist or are gathering places for the elderly. What part of "Islam or death" don't the American liberal elite, the Democratic Party and the mainstream media understand? More to the point, what part of "Islam or death" don't we understand? Today, kaf-gimmel Elul, is the sixth yahrzeit of over 3000 good Americans, many of them Jewish, murdered by Arab butchers for the crime of going to work in the morning or boarding a plane. The largest Jewish community in the world is centered right here in New York, the city that was attacked by a foreign enemy, and young Jewish men go about their lives as if nothing happened. Shabbat and kashrut in the American military? This is as much pikuah nefesh as World War II, the enemy is going after Americans in general and Jews in particular, and those restrictions fall away. If we learned anything from World War II, it is that when an egomaniac with the power of a modern state says he is going to wipe us off the map we have to take him at his word and deal with him accordingly. And how politically stupid can we get if we don't see that when Orthodox Jews are seen as beating the war drums and leaving the fighting to others, the result is likely to be a spike in anti-Semitism? Or isn't the freedom we enjoy here, and the ultimate security of the State of Israel and Jews around the world, worth fighting for?



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