What would happen if Jews never existed?
Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold and is testing its Shihab-3 long-range missile. King Ahmadinejad has just delivered a TV address in which he celebrates Iranian invincibility and lets it be known that he has no intention of sparing the Zionist entity. The United States has issued a carefully-worded reproof while at the same time extending the hand of peace and assuring its allies that containment, sanctions and dialogue remain the best policies under the circumstances. But no one in Israel sees a silver lining in a mushroom cloud and all prepare for the inevitable. Fearing abandonment from above, the rabbis raise their voices as one, in humble prayer to the God of Israel.
And lo! their prayers are miraculously answered, for the Lord has taken pity on His suffering people at last and His heart has softened. An iridescent rainbow arches across the sky and suddenly the Heavens open and a golden stairway reaches from Jerusalem to the empyrean. A Voice is heard over all Israel commanding, “Come, My people! Hearken to My Word!” And one by one, family by family, neighborhood by neighborhood, religious and secular, scholar and laborer, leftist and rightist find themselves in Jerusalem, as if Time had contracted to an eternal instant, and all proceed to climb the golden staircase into the Lord’s beneficent embrace.
A silence covers the land. A heavenly wind arises, the earth begins to shake, and cities, villages, farms and buildings vanish as if they had never been. Not even a Starbucks remains. In the twinkling of an eye gardens, groves, orchards, greenhouses, vineyards, every cultivated field, all the work of industrious Jewish hands turn back to desert and malarial swampland, leaving only desolate hamlets and clumps of shriveled lemons and puckered olives. Bewildered Palestinians, foreign journalists, NGOs and European plenipotentiaries look about in stunned disbelief for there is nothing there any longer to slake their enmity—except locusts, mosquitoes, drought and barrenness, as it was before the great aliyah. Even the tree and the stone are perplexed at the disappearance of the Jew hiding behind them, sheltering from Abdullah who is equally nonplussed.
At the same time, the world’s infrastructure collapses. Every Israeli invention that has ever been adopted by mankind—cell phone components, computer algorithms, firewalls, voice mail, wireless LAN, search engines, SMS (texting), video platforms, desalination plants, insect control methods, agricultural drip technologies, medical applications, chemical discoveries and more, indescribably more—cease to exist. The world is bereft. The nations send up a plaintive wail. The General Assembly disbands for lack of a purpose. The United Nations Human Rights Council packs up and goes home, as does the Organization of the Islamic Conference. There is nothing left for them to do. In despair, men look about for someone to blame but find only themselves and their cankered resentments. Even Iran has begun to tremble.
The Jews in Heaven look down and are overcome with sorrow. They plead with the Lord to forgive erring humankind but His heart has now hardened. Men will reap the desert, winnow the dust and harvest destitution. Then the gates of Heaven close, although the jubilant strains of Havah Nagilah sung by the choir of angels can still be discerned, growing ever fainter.
King Ahmadinejad sits forlornly on his throne, pining for the bomb he would lovingly stroke before bedtime to inspire his dreams. It too has evaporated. Beside him, the Hidden Imam, the Mahdi, who has chosen this moment to make his long-deferred appearance, with a mixture of fury and resignation addresses the hapless monarch. His words echo in King Ahmadinejad’s ears.
“Why couldn’t you wait, you idiot?”