Thursday, April 16, 2015 was the day Israel remembers the Jews murdered in the Holocaust. There were speeches, remembrances, memorials. At 10AM, a siren sounded all across Israel. For that one-minute moment, virtually everyone in Israel stopped.
Drivers stopped their cars. They and their passengers exited their cars. They stood beside their cars, silent.
Pedestrians stopped. Busses stopped. Truck deliveries stopped. Workers in offices stopped.
The siren wailed its eerie wail. Wherever we were, we stopped. We stood in somber silence. We honoured those murdered because, like us, they were Jews.
Holocaust Day reminds us of Jew-hate: what it is and where it leads. Jews know about Jew-hate because it won’t go away.
Look at Europe. In 1930, before Hitler came to power in Germany, there were some 9.5 million Jews in Europe. After the war, there were 3.5 million Jews. Now, there are 1.4 million Jews (“Jews continue to leave Europe, says report”, YNET, February 9, 2015).
The number of Jews in Europe goes down. As that happens, the number of anti-Semitic attacks go up.
This is why Holocaust Day is so important. Nazi-style Jew-hate hasn’t gone away.
This is why some Jews have begun to say that Jews no longer have a future in Europe (“Anti-Semitism Means The Future Of Europe's Jews Is Under Threat, Says Natan Sharansky”, Huffington Post, July 31, 2014). It’s why Jews in France have begun to leave France (“After Attack, Some French Jews Question Future in France”, The Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2015). It’s why most Jews in England believe their future is in danger (“Majority of British Jews Polled Feel They Have No Long-Term Future in Europe”, Time, January 14, 2015).
Here’s how Europe deals with Jews in the 21st Century:
-A German court rules firebombing of synagogue is a ‘protest’ (Mark Steyn, “No Jews to See Here”, SteynOnline, Feb 10, 2015).
-A Belgian teacher tells Jewish student: 'we should put you all on freight wagons' (ibid).
-The European Jewish population continues to plummet (ibid).
-A British Vicar blames JOOOOOOOS for 9/11 (ibid).
-Anti-Jewish attacks in UK at highest levels ever recorded (ibid).
-A Teacher quits French school citing anti-Semitism (ibid).
-The Prosecutor for the city of Linz, Austria ruled that a Facebook post praising the killing of Jews was legal (Daniel Greenfield, “Austria: Calls for Killing Jews Legal, Calling Mohammed a Pedophile, Illegal”, Front Page Mag, February 12, 2015).
-In Poland, police defended anti-Semitic shouts (“Police say "Death to Jews" on Krakow streets is not anti-Semitic”, The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (February 8, 2015).
None of these incidents happened in 1930s Germany. They all happened in 2015. In the 21st Century, anti-Semitic violence returns with a vengeance (Kim Hjelmgaard “Anti-Semitic violence surged 40% worldwide last year”, USA Today, April 15, 2015).
America isn’t exempt for this surge in Jew-hate. Across America, anti-Semitic attacks increased by 21 per cent last year (“Anti-Semitic Incidents in 2014: A 21 Percent Increase Across the U.S.”, adl, March 30, 2015). In fact, for America, 2014 was the first time in nearly a decade of declines where the overall number of incidents had substantially risen (ibid).
Here’s what America’s Jew-hate might look:
-There’s an unprecedented surge of Jew-hate on college campuses (“JewHatredOnCampus.Org”, Front Page Mag, February 12, 2015).
-Attacks against US Jews represent 60 per cent of all reported hate crimes (“Anti-Semitism now ‘fashionable’ in the US, warn experts”, Times of Israel, February 18, 2015).
-The President of the United States has seemed so insensitive to Jew-killing that he sparked outrage over a comment he made. When Jews were murdered in Paris (January, 2015) by an Islamic terrorist who had specifically gone out to kill Jews, the US President refused to acknowledge the hate-crime element of the attack (“Obama outrages by calling 4 Jewish victims of Paris terror ‘a bunch of folks’ shot randomly”, Washington Times, February 10, 2015).
This is why Holocaust Day is important: the cause of the Holocaust hasn’t gone away.
It’s all connected—Jews staying in exile, the rise of more Jew-hate, the attacks, the growing fear and the resultant growing interest in turning to Israel (Liam Hoare, “Brazen Anti-Semitism Sends French Jews Racing To Leave in Record Numbers”, The Jewish Daily Forward, July 16, 2014). Connect the dots: it’s all part of the Jewish Destiny.
Jews have refused to leave their exile. They don’t want to return home. But now, under attack, they begin to pack.
Our Tanach speaks of the ingathering of Jews to Israel. Jews have refused to do that. These attacks make Jews rethink that refusal.
Will you come home now?
-A special offer: Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) is next week. You might be interested in a new Yom Haatzma'ut and Yom Yerushalayim Machzor (prayer book especially for these two days) published by Koren.
This Mahzor is the first-ever English-Hebrew prayer book for Israel's national holidays. It includes complete services for Israel's Independence Day and Jerusalem Day according to the practices established by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The mahzor features an introduction by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, translation by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, commentary by Rabbi Moshe Taragin and Rabbi Binyamin Lau. It includes a collection of essays by leading scholars in the world of Religious Zionism.
To receive a gift along with this Mahzor, contact Pomeranz Booksellers in Jerusalem. Tell them you saw this offer on the Tuvia Brodie blog. With your Mahzor purchase, you’ll get a unique gift—a Yom Ha’Atzmaut pamphlet written for Israel’s 25th Anniversary, in 1973, before the Yom Kippur War. You’ll get a perspective of Israel-Zion-Redemption written by our fathers you may not have seen before.
Contact Pomeranz at Pomeranzbooks@netvision.net.il (if the link doesn't work, please type it manually into your search engine)
Their Israel phone number is 972-2-623-5559
Their Israel phone number is 972-2-623-5559