Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Hanukkah – The Battle That Never Ended

Hanukkah is the story of a time in Jewish history when the world was covered in darkness. When the joy of a people was snuffed out. When the dreams of a nation had been squashed. And when the hopes of all of us were suffocated under the weight of oppression.

But from the darkest moments in our history, comes our greatest light.

More than 2000 years ago, the Land of Israel was under Syrian-Greek occupation and Antiochus, the Greek ruler of the time had declared war against the Jewish people. 
He wanted to destroy the individuality of the Jews, who stubbornly refused to give up their ways and traditions by outlawing all Jewish religious traditions and rites. He replaced the righteous High Priest in the Jewish Temple with a Hellenistic Jew, which was basically an assimilated Jew who had rejected his own culture to embrace the Greek one. He then enacted a series of harsh decrees against the Jewish people by making it illegal to keep the Sabbath, perform circumcisions and keep kosher dietary laws. His servants even tried to force a 90 year old man, Rabbi Eliezer, to eat pork and when he refused, was put to death.

Thousands of others were murdered when they too refused to abandon their traditions.

Antiochus’s servants went from town to town, village to village, forcing the Jewish population to worship their false idols.

There was only one area that remained a refuge, an area in the Judean hills – the same area today which the world likes to call ‘occupied palestinian territory.’

Here, the Jews refused to bow down to the false gods of Antiochus – and so they revolted, started by a man called Mattityahu and then continued by his son, Judah Maccabee.
The line had been drawn, and loyal and courageous Jews fell in behind the Maccabees, determined to keep their way of life alive.

Antiochus was enraged and sent in his generals with tens of thousands of men to wipe out Judah and his Maccabean followers and although the Maccabees were vastly outnumbered, they succeeded in defeating the army, armed by a strong spirit of faith and belief.

But despite this unbelievable military victory, this wasn’t even the miracle of Hanukkah.

The miracle occurred later when they managed to liberate the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and after clearing out all the idols, and cleaning up all the destruction and the vandalism that had occurred, they wanted to rededicate the Temple, but the golden menorah had already been stolen by the Syrians, so they built a cheap metal one instead.
With a small vial of oil that they had discovered, enough for just one day, they lit the menorah.

Except instead of flickering out in the morning light, it continued to burn for a further seven more, until more oil could be produced.

The darkness of the time has been vanquished and replaced by the simple light of a flickering flame that wouldn’t die.

So too are the Jewish people, who somehow fight against a world in which many want to snuff out their light as well, want to vanquish them from their land, want to remove them from history and somehow pretend they didn’t exist.

Just like that flickering flame, they too refuse to die, refuse to lie down, refuse to be defeated and refuse to succumb to harsh dictators who want to destroy them.
We fight back not simply to survive, but to live as Jews in our own land, carrying out our own traditions and our own ways of life, allowing our one small light to illuminate the world.

The story of Hanukkah may have taken place over 2000 years ago, but that wasn’t the end of the story. 

It was only the beginning.

Because the same fight led by a bunch of crazy zealots in the Judean hills is happening today. And every time we stand up for our way of life, for our land, for our people and for our freedom, the spirit of the Maccabees lives on in all of us.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Israel's "risks for peace"

I am sooooo tired of hearing how Israel must "take risks for peace." Israel is a tiny little country surrounded by countries hundreds of times bigger with some of the most despicable regimes in history. Around them are dictatorships that have ethnically cleansed Jews and Christians from among their population. The palestinian authority tortures its own people and puts them in jail if they don't like what they say about their corrupt criminal leader Abbas. Hamas executes people through their fake inJustice system, uses women and children as human shields, and then complains about being labelled as a terrorist organiation. Saudi Arabia chops off womens heads in the streets, makes all other religions illegal, denies entry to non-Muslims, funds fascists mosques who preach hatred around the world, and then somehow convenes a commitee to fight terrorism. Seriously?? Lebanon is run by a terrorist entity called Hezbollah, which has built up its arsenal to higher levels than before the last war with Israel, despite the UN resolution that was supposed to make this illegal. And the UN forces on the ground... well... they kind of just drive around in their jeeps "keeping the peace" by doing what they are very good at doing: nothing. Egypt kicks people out of their homes to declare a 2 kilometer security buffer zone with Gaza, builds walls - and then still leads the UN in resolutions condemning Israel for anything that can come up with. Jordan, the hypocritical fake regime, goes on about being the custodian of religous freedom in Jerusalem, yet ethnically cleansed Jews from the Old city of Jerusalem and destroyed and desecrated all the Jewish religious institutions, including tombstones. How low and sick can you go? Arab countries have kept the so-called Palestinian refugees in camps, denying them access to healthcare and employment while still bleating on about "justice for the palestinians." There is no justice in these countries. There is no freedom. There are no rights. Gays are thrown off buildings. Women have minimal rights - if any. There is zero democracy and zero accountability. And you know what the crazy thing is... these are considered the 'moderate' Arab countries!! Meanwhile, despite all these nightmarish countries, who salivate at the thought of carrying out another genocide against the Jews if given half a chance, Israel remains a country that is vibrant with freedom and democracy. Israel contributes so much to the world, while these fascist entities around it contribute nothing. So I don't think Israel should take any "risks for peace" at all. I don't think they should take one single risk that endangers one single citizen. If the Arab world want to benefit from the success Israel has, it is THEY who should take 'risks' - 'risks' that cost them nothing, it is THEY who should make peace, the way Israel has tried for almost 70 years. It is THEY who should give up on their dream of destroying the Jewish state, whose history goes back further than any of theirs. The world has confused itself in thinking Israel is the heart of the problems in the Middle East. It is the exact opposite, Israel is the only beacon of stability there.

Because the problems of the Middle East is not caused by Israel, but by the multitude of fascist Arab countries around it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Star of David is Burning Once Again

The Star of David is burning in the streets of Europe once again. In Berlin, Israeli flags are set alight. And in Sweden, synagogues are attacked by mobs, while children hide inside in fear. Outside the US embassy in London, there are protests calling for "Death to Jews.' They are shouting “Jews, remember Khaybar the army of Muhammad is returning” referring to the battle of Khaybar in the year 628, in which a Muslim army massacred Jews in the town of the same name in what is now modern day Saudi Arabia. Now people will tell you, it's because America recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital. They'll tell you that this recognition has inflamed the world! They'll say Trump wants war! But they'd be wrong. Because there is a reason they call antisemitism the oldest hatred of all. And well before Donald Trump's announcement, antisemitism had already risen to levels not seen since before World War 2. In France, Jews cannot walk openly wearing religious garb without fear of attack. And in Germany, Jewish community leaders tell their people to remove their kippot and avoid any signs that show they are Jewish. In America, Jewish college students cannot openly support Israel for fear of being violently attacked by anti-Israel student mobs, who tell you they are liberal and believe in freedom. These violent groups are supported by professors who espouse the same hatred of Israel in their lectures. Jerusalem is just another excuse in a long line of excuses for anti-semitic violence. Two weeks ago ‘Death to the kikes’ was painted on a Jewish charity in Ukraine. French synagogues have been attacked and Jews have been murdered at a Jewish school in Toulouse, including young children. In many parts of the Arabic world and the Muslim world, Israeli flags are constantly burnt, the holocaust denied, and antisemitic television shows is commonplace. There is no corner in the world safe from the long reaching tentacles of antisemitism. And yet, we are told it's because Israel exists - THAT is the reason. The world was fine before then. But you see...before there was such a thing as the State of Israel, Jews were being burnt in the ovens of Europe. Jews were being massacred by people who they used to live with in peace as neighbours. Jewish men, women and children were shot down in ditches, while many local people stood by, quite satisified to have their "Jewish problem" solved. People are quite happy to ignore the inconvenient fact that the leader of the Arabs of palestine worked quite openly with Hitler to carry out his "Final Solution" hoping to replicate the 'success' of Europe against the Jews in the Holy Land too. Countries who could have saved their lives, shut their doors to these desperate people trying to flee Europe, saying they didn't want an 'alien element' that would cause trouble. "Jews get out!" they shouted in the streets of Europe. "Go to palestine" they sceeched, laughing as they were driven from their homes. It's because of Israel that antisemitism exists. That's what people say. That's what they want you to believe. That's what they tell each other to make themselves feel better. It's just another excuse in a long line of neverending excuses. The Star of David is burning in the streets of Europe once more. Except it's not 1938 or 1940 or 1942. It's 2017 and the oldest hatred of all is alive and well.