A Love of Israel

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“Jews never relinquished the dream of return. Wherever they were, they prayed about Israel and facing Israel. The Jewish people was the circumference of a circle at whose centre was the holy land and Jerusalem the holy city. For centuries they lived suspended between memory and hope, sustained by the promise that one day God would bring them back.” Jonathan Sacks

“In Israel in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” David Ben Gurion

“And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Gen. 12:1- 3)

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:12-14)

“Jews never relinquished the dream of return. Wherever they were, they prayed about Israel and facing Israel. The Jewish people was the circumference of a circle at whose centre was the holy land and Jerusalem the holy city. For centuries they lived suspended between memory and hope, sustained by the promise that one day God would bring them back.” Jonathan Sacks

“In Israel in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.” David Ben Gurion

“And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses you. And in you shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Gen. 12:1- 3)

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:12-14)

“I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest.” Isaiah 62:6

“Pray for Jerusalem’s peace!
Prosperity to all you Jerusalem-lovers! Friendly insiders, get along!
Hostile outsiders, keep your distance!
For the sake of my family and friends,
I say it again: live in peace!
For the sake of the house of our God, God,
I’ll do my very best for you.” Psalm 122 (6-9)

“Israel stands out in the Middle East not only as the only non-Arab
or non-Muslim state, but as the only country to boast a robust, vibrant and enduring parliamentary democracy. Sometimes, sitting in parliament, I wonder if any other chamber in the world is able to peacefully contain such a mind-boggling spectrum of opinions and backgrounds. Israel’s free press frequently gives voice to even the most dissenting of opinions, including those calling for the state’s dissolution. Meanwhile the country’s justice system is, as it should be, a hyperactive obstacle to the abuse ofpower, placing necessary and constant checks on the government and army.” Einat Wilf

“The people and the story of Israel stir some of the deepest and most mysterious reaches of the American soul. The idea of Jewish and Israeli exceptionalism is profoundly tied to the idea of American exceptionalism. The belief that God favors and protects Israel is connected to the idea that God favors and protects America.” Walter Russell Mead

“We owe to the Jews a system of ethics which, even if it were entirely separated from the supernatural, would be incomparably the most precious possession of mankind, worth in fact the fruits of all wisdom and learning put together.” Winston Churchill

“The stones of a palace erected by King David himself are even now being unearthed just outside the walls of Jerusalem. Everything that makes a nation state legitimate — blood shed, soil tilled, international agreements — argues for Israel’s right to exist, yet that is still denied
by the Arab League. For many of their governments, which are rich enough to have economically solved the Palestinian refugee problem decades ago, it is useful to have Israel as a scapegoat to divert attention from the tyranny, failure and corruption of their own regimes.” Andrew Roberts

Why Israel Matters Now More Than Ever

 by Rabbi Evan Moffic 

Last year I attended the Irish Fest in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The music and ambience make it one of most unforgettable days of the year.

Listening to a concert, I struck up a conversation with someone standing next to me. I told him I was a rabbi, and once we got past the usual incredulity and discussion of why I don’t have a beard, he turned serious.

“I’m Irish,” he said, “And I love Irish music. I’m here celebrating being Irish. But I don’t plan to move to Ireland. I don’t talk about it all the time. Why do Jews care so much about Israel? It’s all I hear—Israel, Israel, Israel.”

Judging by his tone and manner, my new friend did ask this question in a pejorative way. He simply did not know. He thought Israel functioned for American Jews in the same Ireland functioned for Irish-Americans or Italy for Italian-Americans. A place of fondness and sentiment, but not of existential concern.

Many Wonder

His question is asked by many others. And it is of critical importance today, when Israel faces existential concerns and attacks from so many quarters.

I found the very best way to sum up my answer is with an insightful joke from Israel’s first president Chaim Weizmann. Someone asked Weizmann why the Jewish people would only accept a state in the land of Israel. There are so many other places where you could live.

Weizmann replied, “That’s like asking why you would drive 50 miles to see your grandma, when there are so many other nice old ladies in your neighborhood.” 

Israel’s Blessing

Israel is not just another country. It hold a unique place in our hearts. It is where the Bible was written. It is where Moses led a people scarred by slavery but enlivened by God’s promise. It is the place the prophet Isaiah described as God’s holy mountain, the source of truth and righteousness.

The Jewish people left only because they were forced out. And each time they were forced out, they sought to return.

Without Israel the Jewish people may not have survived the physical and psychological destruction of the Holocaust. Without Israel, there would be no Judaism, and the world would be poorer for it.

Feeling the Pain

Robert Frost once defined “home” as the place where “when you have to go there, they have to let you in.” Israel is that place for the Jewish people. Even those of us who do not live there recognize this truth.

Israel is not perfect. No country is. But Jews care about Israel in the some way a mother cares about her children. The Prophet Isaiah makes this very comparison, proclaiming “As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you and in Jerusalem you will find comfort.”

Finding ways of peace.