Voice from Hebron -- March 23, 2000

An Unprecedented Decent Into
The Depths of National Self-Contempt

By Gary M. Cooperberg

Pomp and pageantry are always impressive. Whether it was feeding Jews to lions, breaking their bones on the rack, or burning them at the stake in efforts to wrest them from their religion, pomp and pageantry were always a hallmark for the Roman Catholic Church. It was a bit a bizarre however to see this particular symbol of persecution of the Jewish people over the last millennia to be received with such honor and respect in the Jewish State, or actually to be received at all here.

I suppose that, after our leadership divested itself of all remnants of self respect with the embracing of terrorist chieftain Arafat and his murderous PLO, bowing down to Rome should come as no surprise. Clearly were Hitler alive and well he too would be a welcome guest in Israel today.

Aside from the historical abominations committed against the Jewish people by the papacy over the generations, even this particular pope, with all his compassionate words at Yad Vashem, clearly displayed his inability to accept the reality of the Jewish people as the Chosen of G-d. His partnership with Arafat is an understandable one. Both he and Arafat have an interest in removing Jewish sovereignty from the Jewish homeland. To Arafat and to Islam, any non Moslem sovereignty in the Middle East is an abomination. And, to the Roman Catholic Church, whose very ideology claims Israel's chosenness as its rightful inheritance and thus needs to see the Jewish people in eternal exile, the existence of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel can never be reconciled. It is for this reason that the pope declared his trip to be strictly religious in nature.

Of course, despite that declaration, his speech in Dahaisha was clearly political. He was outspoken in his declaration that the fraudulent so called "palestinian" people have a right to a homeland. He referred to this contrived nation several times, but never did he mention the Jewish people by name, much less refer to their right to a homeland. His heart went out to the suffering Arab refugees, yet I never heard him refer to the cold-blooded murder of innocent Jewish men, women and children by these same innocent "refugees". He even went so far as to suggest that there is some kind of connection between Arabs living in Dahaisha and shepherds who lived in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. This was a deceitful attempt to give historical legitimacy to migrant thieves whose presence in historical Israel could not possibly have been for longer than one hundred and fifty years.

I am not really angry nor surprised at the antics of either Arafat or the pope. What upsets and enrages me is the fact that my government has actually enabled and helped our enemies to humiliate us. What right do such enemies of the Jewish people have to be welcomed and honored on Jewish soil by representatives of the Jewish people? What right do our leaders have to desecrate the memory of our martyrs of the holocaust by paying homage to the veritable symbol of an office which cast a blind eye upon the attempted annihilation of the Jewish people when it could have tried to stop it? The pope certainly expressed his personal regret and even contempt for the horror of the holocaust, but he never apologized for the criminal negligence of the papacy. And, not that I am surprised, I never heard him specifically recognize the legitimate right of Jews to their homeland. I do not need his recognition, nor do I seek it. His definition of peace, much like that of his friend, Arafat, is a Middle East bereft of a Jewish State. Such people should be spurned by our government, certainly not welcomed by it.

It is bad enough that our government fails to recognize its acts of self deprecation, but that our chief rabbis can participate as well is only further reason to lament. While many have cheered Ovadia Yoseph's referring to Yossi Sarid as Amalek and that it was good to curse him like Haman on Purim, I found that reference to be disgusting and totally unacceptable. It is true that Sarid is a self-hating Jew. . . but he is still a Jew. When did Ovadia Yosef call for the cursing of Arafat, who is a genuine living descendent of Amalek?

Like Purim, everything is upside down. Truth is hidden and falsehood is lauded. Patriotic Jews languish in Jewish jails while murderous Arab terrorists are freed to continue to murder. As we celebrated our redemption from Haman, we demonstrated our self-contempt as we surrendered more of our holy inheritance to Arafat, and bowed down before the insignificant symbol of the near extinct remnant of the ancient Roman empire.

While, on the surface the facts are enough to make anyone lose hope in our future, in truth they are actually encouraging. Redemption is not merely an act of national liberation, rather it is a G-dly process which is destined to unfold. The further we sink and the more desperate things get, the closer we come to the climax of redemption. Of course this is no reason to rejoice. Were we to act as proud Jews and stand up to our enemies with genuine faith in G-d we would not only hasten the redemption, but avoid much of the tragedy that will accompany it. There is still time to avoid tragedy. But, clearly, time is rapidly running out.

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