Beyond the Cusp

February 22, 2014

The Necessity that is Israel

There have been periods through history of every grouping of people by race, religion, national origins, political persuasion and every other group distinction has been utilized to make a distinction by casting them as the “other” who was responsible for whatever horror or difficulty currently plaguing the majority or those in power. One of the groups of people who have had what some agree more than a fair share of being singled out as the “other” has been the Jews. Their otherness began with their lives in Egypt where Pharaoh’s fear of them led to their enslavement. It has hit some deep levels which should have signaled the end of their existence. Under the oppression of the Assyrian Greeks they faced potential extinction when they rose up and fought for their freedom. The Romans dispersed them throughout the length and breadth of their empire, a punishment intended to break their spirit and through isolation cause the end of their identity. This was the tried and certain method Rome utilized to break the will and terminate those who posed a threat that refused to cower. Some historians would point to the fact that the Jews by rising up against Rome twice brought their exile and dispersion upon themselves and were deserving of their fate. The Roman solution did succeed in one way of eradicating the Jewish nation as it resulted in almost two millennia spent as a people without a nation of their own. Their modern existence until middle of May of 1948 was spent living almost entirely in what became known as their Diaspora. Despite the vast majority of Jews lived in the Diaspora, there has always been a small number, a seed, which resided in their Promised Lands and in Jerusalem and the other holy cities. The other result was the Jews in every land faced a time, or multiple times, where they became the “other” and were persecuted or driven from their homes. When the Spanish through off the yoke of Muslim occupation and began their purification of their society which became known as the Spanish Inquisition, they also forced the Jews into exile along with the Muslims. England drove their Jews from their island twice through history. Russia had their pogroms. Germany instituted the “Final Solution”. Everywhere the Jews settled they were either driven into exile or were persecuted for perceived evils. The Jews were blamed from place to place for plagues, economic disasters, and any other problem or difficulty throughout the world and its history. The real difficulty was throughout these years living in the Diaspora was that there was no place of refuge where the Jews could reside and be assured they would not be driven out or slaughtered almost without warning, a place where they were home. This is the importance of Israel, it is the Jewish homeland, the only homeland they have ever known or desired.

 

It is this little stretch of land painted on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea, a strip of land hugging the coast and the hills squeezed between that sea and the Jordan River that is all the area the Jews have ever desired as their refuge, their destiny tied to what they believe is a holy gift. As a percentage of the world’s land masses, it is an insignificant and unnotable land except for it minute size. When these lands were bereft of its Jews the lands were unforgiving and deserted and overlooked by the rest of humanity. Often its plots were awarded as a reward which no sane person ever occupied leading to the majority of these plots to be left uncared and unloved, starved to be trodden left unplowed and nonproductive. When American author and humorist Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) traveled these lands which he referred to as the Holy Lands, he wrote of their barrenness and their lacking signs of human care or influence significant in its emptiness and lacking of residents. The starkness and desolation he wrote of gave a feeling of destitute loneliness leaving the Promised Land looking so completely unpromising. Within one century of Mr. Clemons’s writing that description a land lacking any signs of development a transformation produced a nation with plentiful farms and fully modern cities and a thriving people and economy. The transformation was so complete that now the land is enviable to the point that its neighbors jealously look to conquer the land to reap its wealth and vitality. What they do not realize is should they succeed and gain ownership of the lands, they will withhold their bounty and they will thus be denied of the treasure they seek. These lands only produce once its people have invested greatly and poured their love and souls into the land, then does this land, this otherwise unforgiving land give forth its treasures. And in return for the love and effort this land offers refuge for the Jews and serves as their sole life raft in a world of stormy seas. That is the spirit and truth that is Israel.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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