Just recently there have been shootings at a synagogue in Copenhagen determined to have been committed by a man with a violent history. All shootings are done by people of violence and their first act may not reflect their anti-Semitism, but eventually they act upon such hatreds. The unfortunate thing is the authorities will use such histories to claim it was just a violent act, not an anti-Semitic act as such acts are abhorrent and we never commit such acts here, we are civilized. The shooting of three children and a Rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse was simply one of a string of shootings and was not anti-Semitic as much as it was anti-France. He was mentally unbalanced and had severe troubles and was not completely responsible for his actions, thus that was not truly an anti-Semitic act as much as it was the workings of a mentally damaged mind. These are simply two of the more tragic events which recently plagues Europe from the westerly tip of Ireland to the easterly tip of the Ukraine and Russia. Every time such acts occur we hear the Rabbis of the area claim that it would be surrender to the terrorist to leave or change our lives in any way, we must continue on and prove they cannot force the Jews to leave. Please, my fellow Jews, do not believe that atrocities cannot happen in your little corner of the world, it does not end well. The authorities will always talk of how they value having their Jewish members of society and will even place police around your synagogues and schools, but only until everything has quieted, which it will, and then they claim that the Jews are safe now and we can pull the extra security and after all, the Jews can afford to hire security if they feel it is necessary. Even if the synagogue or the school arrange for private security, eventually that too will prove too expensive and you will again be unguarded, but this time it cannot happen to you as you are a valued member of the society. In Israel every Jew is a valued member of society.
Then there is the land of the free across the Atlantic Ocean, the big pond as some in England are fond of saying. Just this week there were fifty or so homes in an upscale neighborhood in Wisconsin where the people woke one morning to hateful messages against Jews and swastikas painted on driveways, garage doors and all over the neighborhood, even across the street from a few prominent Jews living in this multicultural mixed neighborhood. This was the kind of place where one might have heard the phrase we all have heard living in the Diaspora, it can’t happen here, we are accepted in the neighborhood and hold positions of merit and have even had Jews elected to positions, it can’t happen to us, we are safe. But then it happens to you or to another neighborhood just like yours, and close-by too. Or you are a Rabbi visiting relatives in a safe and very Jewish area in Florida. You are simply walking without fear of a threat when two young men approach walking together and you think nothing of it, until. Until they slow as you approach as they close the distance and then, too fast to run or even scream, it happens, one pulls a weapon and almost before one can blink the Rabbi has been struck viscously with fatal wounds which take his life. He was simply walking to Shabbat services without any monies or other valuables but it is still registered as an armed robbery gone bad. Witnesses tell a different tale as they explain that the Rabbi was set upon and killed immediately without any demands for money or valuables and the men immediately fled the scene and never checked the dying Rabbi for valuables, it was as if their aim was to assassinate the man for reasons unfathomable. Still it is registered as an armed robbery gone bad and thus settled and the suspects are looked for but never found. It was not an act of anti-Semitism, it is never an act of anti-Semitism as we do not have such brutish people amongst us here, we accept and value our Jews. There are acts such as these but most never get into the news or if they do, it is only locally and is a single article followed by a rundown of progress which always tails off within a week or two and is forgotten. Still, the acts happen more quickly even in our own areas but it is ignored because we are safe and accepted and anyways, these random acts have been done by mentally damaged or violently compromised or whatever motive makes it just a routine crime and removes any possibility for the act to be anti-Semitic because such acts do not happen here.
This is the story of the township or city and the Rabbi strikes a similar tone and everybody settles back into their regular old routine as if nothing happened, but it did happen and right near to where you live. Almost all of us have had an act which may have been a violent act of hatred, of anti-Semitism and have played out our part by simply ignoring the problem and never adjusting the it cannot happen here because of a million reasons into the new and more alert and awaken comment of it did happen here and there have been those other suspicious acts and perhaps I should take stock of things before dismissing what very well might be anti-Semitism occurring right here in my neighborhood. Perhaps these acts across Europe and America and elsewhere in every place where there are Jews. Sometimes these acts are very easily seen and are blatant anti-Semitism even when the authorities claim otherwise and tell us to go back to sleep, don’t go back to sleep, awaken and see the world for what it really is. There are the few refreshingly honest statements from officials who realize the gig is up and anti-Semitism runs rampant throughout their city. Such was the case when the former mayor of Malmo, Sweden responded to pleas by the Jewish neighborhoods and people of the Malmo area advising that the Jews leave Malmo as they were not safe and there was little if anything he or the city could or was willing to do to keep the Jews safe. He honestly told the Jews of Malmo to leave as it was no longer safe for them in Malmo. Did any of the Jews actually heed this advice? No, not a one. The new mayor is claiming that he can solve the problem; the question is how such can be done. Perhaps for a few weeks if extra police are even deployed to guard the Jewish areas, and even this is temporary and the Jews will once again be vulnerable.
The Jews in Israel do not rely on some non-Jew to provide our safety, the government and the police are almost all fellow Jews and the secure feeling and actual security thus provided is of our neighborhoods and thus covering our neighborhoods with security which is unmatched in its size, level, and quality. In Israel we are the ones who provide for our security and thus we can rely on our security as they are as fast to respond as we can expect. Here in Israel we have the numbers and determine our own fate. In Israel we are the majority and thus we are everywhere and willing to protect each other when and if the time comes one of us needs protection, more often than not there will be a willing and able Jew to intervene and we do protect each other should the need arise. Does Israel have anti-Semitism? The answer is a mixed yes and no. Within the vast majority or towns and cities under complete Israeli security and civilian governance, there we have complete security and are mostly free of anti-Semitism. Even beyond the areas of civilian control which are completely under military control as they are in what the world deems occupied but is more along the lines of contested, if that, these areas have Jewish security for every neighborhood taken from amongst their own population, a civilian patrol, and often the IDF or other governmental security unit is not too distant and are tasked to assist. The difference is in Israel the anti-Semitism is a national issue and is largely a threat from outside the country and within we are safer. Additionally, in Israel you have a different feeling, there is a feeling of family, that every other Jew is a member of your own family and that wherever one goes they are still with their extended family. That grants you with a feeling of peace of mind which is indescribable but also very wonderful and warming. Here in Israel you feel safer than anywhere else in the world and actually are safer than anyplace else I the world. Truth be told, wherever Jews live in the Diaspora, your days of being a Jewish community are limited with very few exceptions. Go to a Shabbat morning service and count the numbers of young people and the truth will distress you. In the diaspora, a Jew slowly becomes a Jews only in name and perhaps, if it is not too much trouble, in some manner of practice. Once in Israel that slipping and backsliding away from your Jewish soul and inner substance reverses and you reattach to your Jewishness and slowly but surely return to your roots. This even works on even the most secular and assimilated Jews from somewhere east of the Rocky Mountains or west of the Appalachian Mountains (Yes, I am aware that such counts a fair number of Jews twice, the Jews residing there are inexorably losing their Jewish nature and would reverse that course simply by residing within Israel. It starts slow but grows within one and makes one feel better about oneself. Why are you putting the move to Israel off? Even your children will benefit from moving to Israel and why not bring the entire neighborhood of Jews from your synagogue Rabbi et al and make a mass Aliyah; it will do your soul good and provide you with a level of safety unattainable outside of Israel. Hopefully we will see all of you soon with the fulfillment of prophesy of final return.
Beyond the Cusp