Just like that, the world is a different place. Its scary times ahead. As a 47-year old, in my lifetime I cannot remember a more serious time of conflict. Like many worldwide praying for Ukraine, I worry about what Russia’s action means for the State of Israel.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett avoided condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine — or even mentioning Russia by name – saying “The world order as we know it is changing. The world is much less stable, and our region too is changing every day.”
And while the world has changed, Ukraine is fighting alone. Not America and not NATO will be coming to its rescue. Against this backdrop, surely many realize that Israel was created so that never again would Jews be dependent on anyone else for their security.
It is also fitting to remember that so many worldwide blamed tensions between Israel and the United States as a “personality” issue of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Yet, with a different government now in place, Iran remains a major problem for Israel.
And Israel alone must determine Israel’s security.
Against that backdrop its fitting to remember some quotes through the years from various government officials.
As Menachem Begin stated many years ago:
Our right to exist – have you ever heard of such a thing? Would it enter the mind of any Briton or Frenchman, Belgian or Dutchman, Hungarian or Bulgarian, Russian or American, to request for its people recognition of its right to exist?
We were granted our right to exist by the God of our fathers at the glimmer of the dawn of human civilization four thousand years ago. Hence, the Jewish people have an historic, eternal and inalienable right to exist in this land, Eretz Yisrael, the land of our forefathers. We need nobody’s recognition in asserting this inalienable right. And for this inalienable right, which has been sanctified in Jewish blood from generation to generation, we have paid a price unexampled in the annals of nations.
Because our Jewish state needs no American affirmation of our right to exist. Our Hebrew bible established that right millennia ago. Never, throughout the centuries, did we ever abandon or forfeit that right. Therefore, sir, we alone, the Jewish people – no one else – are responsible for our country’s right to exist.
Today, surely Israel’s leaders are facing sleepless nights remembering that responsibility.
And how about the anti-Israeli United Nations? As Prime Minister Golda Meir said,
I look around me at the United Nations and I think to myself we have no family here. Israel is entirely alone here, less than popular and certainly misunderstood. Why should that be? Why? Why?
Who cares today about the United Nations condemnations? Surely not Russia.
No more needs to be said. Arms matter. Weapons matter. Security and self-determination matters.
Today, surely Israel’s leaders must remember the words of Ze’ev Jabotinsky:
We were not created in order to teach morals and manners to our enemies. Let them learn these things for themselves. We want to hit back at anybody who harms us. Whoever does not repay a blow by a blow is also incapable of repaying a good deed in kind. The Latin proverb says “of two evils choose the lesser. When we are in a position where – through no fault of our own – physical force dominates, only one question can be asked: what is worse? To continue watching Jews being killed and the conviction grows that our lives our cheap, and among the whole world that we are spineless?…the blackest of all characteristics is the tradition of the cheapness of Jewish blood, on the shedding of which there is no prohibition and for which you do not pay.
A new commandment must enter our hearts: that even where there is only one Jew, the word ‘Zhid’ must not be heard without response. Wise people will come and try to dissuade us – But it is not our purpose to win in every single incident. Our objective – to create about us the belief that a slur on our national feelings is no longer what it once was, a small diversion free of cost – but will rather, with an absolute certainty and a mathematical precision, result in a sharp and unpleasant confrontation.
Let us pray for Ukraine, the Jews of Ukraine, the West and the State of Israel.
Thankfully the State of Israel knows its responsibility.