Sunday, September 17, 2006

I'm Proud, Too

This is making the rounds...

With war raging in the Middle East, with global terror reaching new heights, with global anti-Semitism on the rise, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on why I'm proud, more than ever, to be a Jew.

I'm proud to be a Jew because Jews don't kidnap.

I'm proud to be a Jew because Jewish education does not consist of teaching martyrdom and hatred.

I'm proud to be a Jew because my religious leaders and religious services don't whip me into a frenzy to kill others.

I'm proud to be a Jew because in the middle of a war, Jews still demonstrate and protest to protect the rights of the Arab-Israeli minority to voice their opposition to the war.

I'm proud to be a Jew because even when Israel is wrongly and falsely accused of killing innocent civilians, Jewish leaders apologize immediately for any loss of life-instead of celebrating these deaths by passing out candy and shooting celebratory gunshots into the air.

When the world accuses Israel of massacre in Jenin-when the world accuses Israel of bombing civilians on a Gaza beach-when the world accuses Israel of shooting a child cowering against a wall-when the world accuses Israel of bombing a Lebanese apartment building killing 56 civilians-when all of These accusations turn out to be totally false-to be vicious anti-Semitic lies-and when all along I knew in my heart that these stories just could not be true-and I'm later proven to be right-then I'm proud to be a Jew.

I'm proud to be a Jew because the Israeli Army is so, so good, that when it takes more than four weeks to wipe out a sophisticated enemy who has prepared six years for this war, the world criticizes the IDF for not getting the job done quickly.

I'm proud to be a Jew when my army, the Israeli army, drops leaflets and makes calls to Lebanese citizens on their cell phones to warn them to evacuate before bombing begins.

I'm proud to be a Jew when the democracies of the world talk about fighting the war on terror, but only Israel is left alone to bear the burden of eradicating Hezbollah, the proxy army of Iran and Syria.

I'm proud to be a Jew when entire Israeli towns in the north-Nahariya, Kiryat Shimona, Safed, are reduced to ghost towns due to the constant shelling, and yet not one looter has appeared to empty out the property of others.

When Israel must defend its very right to exist, when it must fight a well armed enemy representing the Islamic fascists, as President Bush has called them, when Israel must conduct this war on terror with its hands tied behind its back so as not to take an innocent life lest the media have something true to report, that it must fight this war of survival under the cloud of "disproportionality", as if thousands of Katusha rockets falling on its citizenry is somehow "proportionate"-when Israel simultaneously pushes back these threats both in the North and in the South under the added pressure of a biased media, then I'm proud to be a Jew.

I'm proud to be a Jew when the Edinburgh Scottish film festival tells an Israeli director to stay home although his film is being screened and the director says "No, I'm coming."

I'm proud to be a Jew because Mel Gibson is not a Jew.

I'm proud to be a Jew when the UN's Human Rights Commission consists of countries like Syria, Libya and Iran and Israel is not asked to join.

I'm proud to be a Jew when magician David Blaine announces his trip to Israel next week to entertain the children living in bomb shelters and tells the press he's doing it to encourage other performers to stand up for Israel and its right to defend itself.

I'm proud to be a Jew when a Russian/Israeli businessman single-handedly creates not one but two tent cities on the beach to house Israelis fleeing the North and provides shelter, bedding, food and drink, showers and bathrooms-all done without red tape in a matter of 24 hours-to house over 6,000 Israeli's, one of whom described it as a "poor man's Club Med."

I am proud to be a Jew when Israelis on the left and on the right support the government's decision to fight-when 97% of the country is united in its own defense-when Israeli's from Jerusalem give shelter to families from Haifa-when food from the Negev is donated to feed soldiers at the front-when the IDF deploys soldiers on special assignments to deliver diapers to shelters and to entertain and calm the frightened children.

I'm proud to be a Jew when the three weeks preceding Tisha B'Av reminds us of the terrible things we have endured as a people, and, as a nation-and yet immediately thereafter, Hashem offers us consolation, redemption and hope-plus the promise that we shall defeat our enemies, that we shall endure, that Am Yisrael Chai.

And I am proud to be a Jew because when we proclaim that God is on our side, we have the book to prove it.

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