Elhanan ben-Avraham May 2, 2011
Today- Holocaust Memorial Day- some 80,000 aged survivors of that Nazi horror recall the nightmare, which was no dream. The rest us who do not carry such memories daily stood in silence as all the air raid sirens in Israel blasted a long three-minute wail over the Holy Land. It was the wail of some six million Jews who were silenced by the Nazi death machine. All traffic stopped and drivers got out of their cars and stood in silence. I watched some Arab workers who did not stop as I stood and looked up to Heaven.
Then the roar of Israeli air force fighter jets shattered the silence of the skies. My dog nobly barked at them. I thanked G-d for that sound of those Jewish knights of the sky. Soon after I heard the voice of Israeli children at school singing the Israel national anthem, Ha Tikva- the Hope.
It is forgotten by our enemies and critics that the State of Israel was founded on the human ashes of that Holocaust. Those that are daily attempting to deligitimize the existence of the Jewish state proclaim that our living here is the reason for the trouble of the region, if not the world, as if this world was a better and more peaceful place before its founding three years after the Holocaust and the violence of World War II.
Today we face the same threats of destruction daily from our neighbors, close and far. The Hamas on our southern border and the Hizbullah on our northern border and Iran a few miles to our east all have armed and regularly proclaim their desire to annihilate us from the face of the Earth. But we remember, and we take those threats seriously. Perhaps it is no coincidence that this very day we received news that the arch-terrorist of the Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, enemy of Zion and the West, has been killed by American forces.
Next week we will celebrate Yom Ha Atzmaut- Israel’s 63rd Independence Day- with picnics and celebrations and music and prayers. On June 6th we will remember the 6-Day war of 1967 when Israel defeated the Arab armies that attacked Israel unprovoked, declaring our annihilation. They did not succeed and, instead, the whole of the Biblical Land of Israel, including the Golan and Jerusalem, was delivered back into the hands of the Jewish people after 2000 years. That fact is forgotten by much of the world who proclaim that the reason for the problems of the Middle East are the Jewish communities existing now on the West Bank, and the presence of the Jew in the Old city of Jerusalem. It is conveniently forgotten that in 1967 there were no settlements on the West Bank and no Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem, which were both under Arab sovereignty. Nonetheless that war intending the destruction of the Jewish state was launched. But we remember.
Interestingly, Yom Ha Aztmaut becomes Yom Ha Atzemot by switching a couple of letters. “Atzemot” are “bones”, and recall the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 37 of the “atzemot ha yaveshot”- the Dry Bones. This prophecy declares that G-d will re-gather the dry bones of the House of Israel who say, “Our hope (tikva) is lost”, but G-d in His sovereignty and faithfulness to His covenant with Abraham will bring the Jewish people back to the land of their forefathers. And here we are, back in the New-Old Land.
It is with sadness and with joy that we remember, and do not forget.