We are now into autumn (fall if you are an American) and in our part of the Promised Land in the hills of Judea, evenings and nights have a distinctly chilly feel to them.
With all this year’s Festivals running a month later than usual (because of a leap year) eating and for some sleeping in the Succah is likely to call for warm clothing. Normally we can rely on semi-balmy conditions, a distinct difference to the climatic conditions we experienced the week of Succot (Tabernacles) during our 45 plus years down under when it was always guaranteed to rain accompanied often by gale-force winds. Since making Aliyah twenty-eight years ago we now understand why the command to dwell in booths is uniquely suited to the climate of Israel. In anticipation of our prayers for a rainy bountiful winter which we recite on the last day of the Festival, we have already had an unexpected shower. Hopefully, the major downpours will hold off until after we have concluded our festivities.
The weather is not the only thing which is cooling. As we transition seasons and are ending the chagim, anyone who follows developments locally and overseas cannot but notice that the climate affecting Jews worldwide and Israel, in particular, is taking a decidedly chilly turn. One does not have to be a qualified meteorologist to predict that we face squalls, storms and foul winds of a political kind. We have already had a foretaste this past year of likely turbulence which unfortunately will only increase as we progress into this new Jewish year.
Preparing to face this expected onslaught should be a top priority because pretending it will never happen (again) is futile. All the signs clearly indicate that we are in for a rough ride. Hunkering down is one option but based on past experience that is not a recipe for success or long term survival.
The gathering storms are already clearly visible on the horizon and in many countries have already made themselves felt.
In the UK noxious fumes of Jew-hate have wafted from the polluted sewers of the Labour Party and escaped into the general political atmosphere. The stench of knee jerk anti-Israel policies generated at the party’s recent annual conference should be putrid enough to alert even the most complacent British Jews. As one ex-pat told me now is the time to start making plans to evacuate. When floodwaters rise one either barricades the house or leaves while there is still time. Just as altering the destructive force of the weather is futile so is altering the course of a rising tide of hate especially when it is accompanied by political double standards.
Meanwhile, across the ocean, American Jews face foul winds from both the right and left of the political spectrum. Once the sole prerogative of extremists espousing right-wing conspiracies, Jew and latterly Israel hate has now transmuted to a multitude of left-wing groups and is slowly but surely infecting the Democratic Party. It is no surprise to learn that some of the leading lights in this chilling campaign of demonization are disaffected and hitherto unaffiliated Jews who like so many in our past history delight in leading these crusades of extreme political correctness.
Elsewhere Sweden stands out as a source of cyclonic danger against its Jewish citizens. Not content in banning Shechita there are now moves afoot to ban Brit Mila (circumcision) which if enacted would mean the end of Jewish life in that country. The rest of Europe is already being severely buffeted by storm-force winds. Unfortunately, like previous generations of European Jews, most of today’s communities prefer to batten down the hatches and hope that the tsunamis of Jew-hate will eventually abate. We should all know by now that this is not a recipe for survival. No amount of dollars expended on yet more community centres, schools and museums will insulate them from the destructive forces already raging and once more growing stronger.
In truth, no country is now immune to this infectious pandemic.
This includes Israel where a combination of extreme leftist self-hate and endemic Islamic denial of Jewish rights go hand in hand. We have endured our own self loathers for generations but thank goodness they remain an insignificant blip. Their malign ability however to wreak carnage thanks to a willing media and political facilitators means we need to fight on several fronts.
There is a definite cooling in the air and those of us attuned to early warning signs are taking note. Whether it is the clueless decisions in Washington whereby Iran gets away with hijacking, breaking sanctions and developing nuclear capable missiles or the latest incredible US sellout of allowing Turkey to invade Syria and massacre the Kurds the omens are bad. If the USA can blithely abandon hitherto allied Kurds to the nascent Ottoman sultan what trust can Israel place in any American pledge of security? Do we put our blind faith in another piece of paper or do we instead take steps to ensure that never again are we sold down the river?
At this time of the year when we celebrate one of the three pilgrim Festivals, it is critical that we take notice of the latest blasts of intolerance issuing forth from our erstwhile “peace” partners. Succot witnesses enormous numbers of Jews from Israel and other countries going up to Jerusalem to pray at the Kotel. In addition, increasing numbers of Christian believers also visit Jerusalem and demonstrate their support. Now, just imagine if the sites holy to Jews were once again under the control of Jordan and the PA. No problem says the hallucinatory UN. Perhaps they should take note of this latest forecast:
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: “We bless you, we bless the Murabitin (those carrying out Ribat, religious conflict/war to protect land claimed to be Islamic), we bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every Martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah. The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours, and they have no right to defile them with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”
The Palestinian Authority’s “ministry of endowments and religious affairs” condemned the decision of the “Israeli occupation authorities” to close the Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs) during Yom Kippur, which will begin at sundown on Tuesday.
Husam Abu al-Rob, director general of the “ministry of endowments”, called for the Ibrahimi Mosque i.e. the Cave of the Patriarchs to be “rescued” and for an end to all the damage that is inflicted on it on a daily basis.
He described the closure of the site and its “desecration” by the “settlers” as “a blatant attack on Muslims and every Islamic site.”
The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron belongs only to Muslims.
He delivered this speech on Sep 17, 2015 and repeated annually since then by PA media. This is a continuous theme which is trotted out every Tisha B’Av and Rosh Hashanah/ Yom Kippur/ Succot when Jews gather at Cave of Patriarchs and Temple Mount to pray.
We ignore these straws in the wind at our peril. The year ahead promises to be stormy and therefore we need to be prepared not only to weather the elements but overcome them.