Years ago, during some other war that Israel was engaged in, the great Shlomo Carlebach began a song with: “The holy people of Israel are all alone. Am l’vadad yishkon!” (“A nation that will dwell in solitude” – BaMidbar 23:9). These words were first uttered by none other than our biblical nemesis Bilaam, who was commissioned by the king of Moav, Balak, to curse the Jewish people.

When Bilaam’s mission was thwarted by Hashem, he instead observed the Jews from afar and was motivated to make some of the keenest assessments of our people. This includes “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob…” (ibid 24:5).

If we did not know it before, this has been driven home to us now. We are indeed a nation that dwells in solitude. We live in the greatest non-Jewish country on earth. We have support from the political front and most of the population, as high as 80%, which supports Israel in its fight against the evil Hamas.

Yet we tremble in fear as the raging Hamas supporters in the streets and college campuses seem to have woken us to the fact that we are still temporary guests in this country. The support for Jews can turn on a dime. The fact alone that Israel is scrutinized as to whether it is being careful of harming civilians is a reminder that only Jews are monitored for every move they make in a totally justifiable war. Am l’vadad yishkon. That the Ivy League colleges, the bastions of free thought and liberal idealism, are the sources of incomprehensible support of the most barbaric and anti-liberal people on earth defies all logic. This is unless we conclude that we are in a different class – a class that is subject to different treatment than any other people on this planet.

As an aside, I have a question: If it is never justified to kill civilians during a war, then why does the US have nuclear missiles? We know they will destroy untold thousands, if not millions, of civilians. If we are not allowed to respond to brutality with a war that will cause the enemy to suffer civilian deaths, then why don’t we just give up our nukes?

Permit me another question. Where is the ADL and anti-Semitism Czar Deborah Lipstadt to aggressively tackle the college hate? Ms. Lipstadt is AWOL. Don’t forget her ideology is very left, so she may have trouble dealing with leftist hate. The ADL is great at collecting statistics of increased anti-Semitism. It is good for their fundraising. But where are they when you need them?

What the ADL and other organizations should be doing is pressuring politicians to declare rallying for Hamas illegal. If that is not possible, then at least declare that screaming for Palestine to be free “from the river to the sea” is calling for genocide of the Jewish people. Thus, anyone arrested for this violation should be investigated as to their citizen status in the US. Those who are here illegally or on some type of visa should immediately be deported. That should blunt these protests. If you have trouble working on that, I suggest you contact Florida Governor DeSantis to advise you.

It is relatively easy to accept that non-Jews and Arabs hate us. It is painful, though, to grasp that there are many Jews among our antagonists. Last Friday night, hundreds of Jewish kids inexplicably filled Grand Central Station to voice criticism of Israel and its battle with Hamas. It is a cataclysmic failure in education in the non-Orthodox world. It is reported, although unconfirmed, that perhaps the most evil Jew on earth, George Soros, is the funder for most of the organized hate against Israel. That a nation can produce so many self-haters is, in a twisted way, a sign that we are unique in the world of man.

Here in Baltimore, there is a popular frum publication called Where What When. In the Letters to The Editor column last week, a person named Josh wrote a very heartfelt letter. Josh begins by writing that he is a young professional brought up Reform and progressive. He then goes on to write as follows:

“When tragedies have happened to various groups – like George Floyd and BLM – I reached out to my friends to make sure they were okay. But now, with the savage attack by Hamas, no one is calling me. No one seems to care. I see the college I attended protesting for the Arabs, and I am embarrassed to say I went there. I feel lost, broken, and disillusioned. I don’t know where I belong.”

Poor Josh. He learned the hard way that am l’vadad yishkon. We as Jews have always been at the forefront in support of every minority and its rights, including Muslims. Yet we get paid back with rejection and hatred. For liberal Jews, this is a very bitter pill to swallow. Unfortunately, I am afraid that most left-leaning Jews (including many in the Orthodox community) are addicted to that pill and will never give it up – even at their own peril.

On the other hand, here I am, watching over and over a video of chasidim together with a variety of religious and non-religious Jews dancing together in the streets of Kiryat Gat, sporting an Israeli flag in celebration of the chayelet who was rescued by the brave soldiers of the IDF.

Let’s not forget. Am l’vadad yishkon was said, perhaps unwittingly, as a brachah. We are indeed different from all other nations. We are one!

Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi Emeritus of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.