By Bill Mehlman and Kim Johnson
“O Israel hope in the Lord For with the Lord there is mercy And with Him is plenteous redemption And He will redeem Israel…”
Thus ends Psalm 130, a cry from the depths of a soul whose yearning for the sight of God is as that of the “watchman for the morning.” Mr. Prime Minister, you are the “watchman” the Lord has set on the walls of Jerusalem. The coming of a weary Israel’s long-delayed “morning” has been placed in your hands.
You confront a world grown almost universally hostile to the only God-given state on the face of the globe – the state of the Jewish people.. With a single, qualified exception, the nations –democracies and dictatorships alike — with whom this tiny gem shares its place on the world’s map have chosen to cast their lot with the barbarians who seek its extinction. With a breath-stopping audacity, “they have consulted together,” as the Psalmist relates “with one consent:” To make a covenant against the Lord’s Covenant with Abraham.
Mr. Prime Minister, you have tested the limits of what any head of state could be asked to do to appease the blood-lust of Israel’s enemies – far beyond those limits, some would argue – all to no avail. Indeed, every concession and accommodation made to these forces in the name of an illusory “peace process” have merely heightened their appetite for more. And now, as a final, ignominious “reward” for its security risks and the curtailment of the rights of its people to grow and flourish in their land, Israel stands aghast at the unconscionable weakening of support of the one government that has stood by it for all of the 62 years of its existence — the United States of America.
The growing antipathy of the present administration of that government toward Israel, the humiliation it has inflicted on the only state in the Middle East that shares its democratic and humanitarian ideals, the additional concessions it is demanding of that state in further satisfaction of the patricidal intentions of its enemies represent the blackest mark on the face of the United State since its founding. You know and the world knows that the satisfaction of those demands – the creation of a Jihadist cancer in Israel’s Judean and Samarian heartland, the truncation of Jerusalem, the surrender of the Golan Heights to Iran’s partner, Syria — would set the stage for a final Arab-Muslim assault to the death on Israel. We cannot imagine Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton being innocent of these facts, which makes their determination to bend Israel to this suicidal course all the more horrific.
Is this it, then — the end of the line for Israel? Only in the minds of those who believe its destiny is bound to the whims of the mandarins temporarily in control of the White House and the State Department, only in the wishful thinking of those counting on America’s having lost its moral compass. No, an aroused America will prevail over the revisionists and reductionists seeking to recast its role as mankind’s last best hope, and no, Israel’s greatest days are not behind it, but are yet to come. Israel need but grasp the hand being extended toward it –the hand of the God of the everlasting Covenant with Abraham and his descendants.
Mr. Prime Minister, the miracles we have witnessed in the six decades since Israel’s rebirth – the rebirth itself and its survival against seemingly impossible odds; the astonishing military victories over its would-be annihilators; the ingathering of 1.2 million exiles from the four corners of the earth; the transformation of a desert into a virtual Edenic garden, and the ascent to the loftiest peaks of science and technology –those miracles will be as but a prelude to those God is trembling to evoke if you would simply grasp the hand being offered to you. In so doing, you would be recommitting Israel to fulfillment of the mission to which its Biblical forebears pledged themselves 4,000 years ago at Mount Sinai – to become, on this narrow bridge between east and west, a light unto the nations, to recreate the world in God’s image on an immutable foundation of truth, justice, compassion and righteousness.
With a public embrace of the Torah and mitzvot that constitute Israel’s inalienable, irrevocable charter to its land, you would effect an impact of metamorphic magnitude on the nation and its self-perception. Such a step would in no way preclude Israel’s dedication to secular education, economic growth and other national goals. On the contrary, it could only serve to empower them.
Transformation proceeds from the top down. We were recently privileged to share with you the pride you exhibited at the crowning of your son Avner as winner of the 2010 National Bible Quiz for Youth, a renowned contest that attracted some 12,000 entrants. We could also not help noticing the knitted “kippa” – symbol of the national religious Zionist movement and its reverence for the Land of Israel – atop Avner’s head as he graciously accepted his reward. We take it as his personal commitment to Torah, mitzvot and the inviolability of God’s gift to us… In the Haftarah of Shabbat Hagadol (Malachi III. 23-24), the prophet speaks eloquently of sending Elijah to “turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers…before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” It is through the prism of your son’s masterful embrace of the Torah and the mitzvot it enunciates that we pray you will view the critical role you have been chosen to play in determining Israel’s future. If you will reach out boldly to grasp the hand being extended to you, Israel need fear no power on earth.
*Bill Mehlman represents AFSI in Israel. He and Kim Johnson co-edit the Jerusalem-based internet magazine ZionNet (www.zionnet.net).