I would like to begin this article with an apology. In last week’s article, “Where Is Our Al Sharpton?” I concluded with a short list of organizations that can be relied upon to speak up about issues facing Jews in the United States and Israel. I received several communications asking why I did not mention the Zionist Organization of America, led by Mort Klein.
That was indeed an omission. The ZOA is one of the very few (if only) established organizations that vociferously does speak up about anti-Semitism and the ruinous agenda of the left. For this, Mr. Klein has been vilified by many; the ZOA was even threatened with expulsion from the Presidents Conference. Aside from the CJV, and maybe some others behind the scenes, no organization that I am aware of came to his defense. A real shanda.
Back to this week. In this country, we are witnessing the complete disintegration of normal society and its disastrous effects. Putting aside all the societal norms relating to gender issues that have been turned upside down, there is no debating that the progressives have brought us an unprecedented wave of crime. Bail Reform, Defund the Police, etc. have yielded their glorious results. In New York City, we have a woke DA who frees hardened career criminals, yet he jails a shopkeeper who defended himself against a dangerous robber.
We need to ask ourselves: Were those of us who warned about this so smart to see this coming? Didn’t those people, including a former local councilman (wise enough to move to Long Island), who pushed for defunding the police and bail reform, understand that these radical leftist ideas were going to bring disaster to our law-abiding communities?
This extends to Israelis as well. Those with a scintilla of seichel (logic) knew that the Oslo Accords would only lead to emboldening the terrorists and would lead nowhere. Yet it is still politically correct to call for a Two-State Solution, learning nothing from the failed accords.
Regarding the then-impending withdrawal from Gush Katif/Gaza on Tish’ah B’Av of 2006, the Israeli Supreme Court responded to a petition from those opposed to the withdrawal for security reasons, stating as follows: “The Disengagement will reduce the will of the Palestinians to bring violence against the Israeli population. Any notion to the contrary is rejected by this court by a margin of 9-1.” Here we are, 16 years later on Tish’ah B’Av, and Israel is facing for the umpteenth time rocket fire coming from the peace-loving Palestinian citizens in Gaza.
How did not everyone see this coming? How was the Left and even some on the Right so blinded to think that the disengagement would bring peace?
We are accustomed to reading in Hallel (Psalms 115:5): “…Eyes they have, but they do not see.” This is our generation. So many in leadership positions have the same eyes we have. They just don’t see. Or they refuse to see.
But let us open our eyes to the great miracle we just witnessed over this Tish’ah B’Av. As of this writing, 935 rockets were fired by the PIJ. Some 160 fell short and into Gaza, killing some of their own citizens; 775 crossed into Israeli territory, and 300 – heading toward populated areas – were intercepted by Iron Dome at a 96 percent success rate. Baruch Hashem, there were no Jewish casualties! Is this not a reason to sing Hallel?
Sometimes the blind see better than sighted people. Sometimes sighted people are themselves very blind. In T’hilim 91, we are told: “Just gaze with your eyes and you will see the destruction of the wicked.” Sometimes all it takes is the opening of our eyes to see G-d’s control of the world. But if we refuse to see the obvious, eventually we will become blindsided.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, and former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens.