April 16, 2024
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Israel’s War Has Polarized the World, And Exposed Right From Wrong

The calls for ceasefire have shown the inability of some in the Western world to call out basic truths and stand on the side of good. And these faults are not going unnoticed.

I’ve never wanted to subscribe to Al Jazeera until now.

There’s an old joke about two Jews, each reading newspapers while sitting on a park bench. One is reading a Jewish periodical while the other reads an antisemitic publication. The one reading the Jewish paper admonishes the other, “How can you be seen reading that in public?” The other replies, “In the Jewish paper, the world is against us. In mine, the Jews run the world. Why wouldn’t I want some good news?”

For the last few weeks, the news has been tragic, with story after story of antisemitic incidents throughout the world. They range from a comedy show in Soho turning into an antisemitic rally to a man being stabbed six times in Paris, to an active US military member self-immolating outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. The world seems to be tearing apart at the seams over the Israel-Hamas war.

 

Global Polarization
Over the Middle East

But in some ways, that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. Israel’s war is meant to polarize the world.

A sizable majority of the Jewish community is uncomfortable with the idea of being a “chosen people.” This discomfort stems from the misunderstanding that this notion means God loves us more than any other nation. If this were true, it would only lead to disaster.

Our chosen status is for one purpose alone. We are meant to deliver a message to the worldthat God demands all nations heed His moral call. There is no such thing as ethical relativism. There are rights and wrongs and objective truths. And God cares about our obedience to these dictates, whether we’re Jewish or not.

This message is what’s splitting the world in two. There has never been a more necessary battle undertaken by a sovereign nation than the one Israel is currently engaged in. The attack we endured on October 7 was evil incarnate, the likes of which we haven’t seen since Hitler.

In the past, if something like this had happened to one of the allied nations, the Western world would have rallied support without hesitation. But times have changed.

So much of the world has not only hesitated in supporting our cause, it has condemned our defensive actions. These condemnations have come in the light of demonstrative evidence of the evil we face. And it is well known that if left in place, the terrorist groups would carry out these and worse atrocities until the Jewish people were eradicated. But they would not stop there.

The negative reaction to Israel’s war has displayed the rotten underbelly of the world’s moral compass. The calls for ceasefire have shown the inability of some in the Western world to call out basic truths and stand on the side of good. And these faults are not going unnoticed.

 

Governing From Fear

But there is something worse happening than just a disagreement about facts and the proper course of action. There are those who recognize what’s transpired and know what needs to be done but are still paralyzed by fear.

The UK Parliament has ceased to function as a government of the people. Cowering to the pressure of Islamist extremist mobs, the MPs are no longer voting for what they know to be right and for what is in the best interest of their constituents. They are making their decisions solely based on fear. Death threats and acts of terror carried out by these extremists are now the norm and don’t seem to be diminishing.

Critics might say, “How can you blame the members of Parliament?” But this is a long fall from Churchill’s pronouncement: “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end […] We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be.” Any leaders who consider their personal safety before doing what is right have abdicated their role of leadership. Great Britain must actually defend its island from the infiltration of radical Islam, just as Israel is doing.

This global polarization will not stop in Europe. Radical Islam wants the world. Just as we believe that it wants to kill all the Jews, it should be believed when it says it desires world conquest. Its goals are not to bring peace and equality to the masses. The jihadists only seek subjugation and death. The Jewish people are not the cause of this behavior. We are just the first target.

There has been an uplifting news story in the past few weeks. A study found that Israelis’ belief in God has increased significantly since October 7. This may seem trivial in light of all that’s been discussed, but it’s not. In fact, belief in God is the antidote to all of these challenges.

This is not to say that God cures all woes with no human participation. We must defend ourselves and our way of life. But a recognition of the Almighty focuses our attention on what is important, both in regard to our values and our call to action. We must know there is a greater power and a greater purpose to all we do, or our actions will simply devolve into nothing more than self-interest.


Haim Leiter is a rabbi, wedding officiant and mohel who performs ritual circumcisions and conversions around the world. Based in Efrat, he is the founder of Magen HaBrit, an organization protecting the practice of brit milah and the children who undergo it.

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