"JEWISH IMMORTALITY?" by Ruth and Nadia Matar
"ABOUT JEWS" by Mark Twain
"ABOUT JEWS" by Mark Twain
It does not take an astute analyst of the present Israeli scene to quickly assess that the Jews in Israel are in deep trouble. On the one hand, it is readily discernible that what Peres, Beilin and their ilk conjured up in the form of the "Oslo peace process" is an absolute failure, and has no possible chance of bringing peace to the area. Perhaps the main reason for this failure is the underlying false premises on which the whole process was based, that basic morality can be abandoned; that ignoring the character and past deeds of the main players can be substituted for what was irrefutably told to us at Sinai.
A quick utopian fix was the solution offered by Peres and Beilin, rather than the more cautious approach that would have been dictated by the wisdom of our Jewish sages, and by the grave suffering the Jews experienced throughout the ages at the hands of those who were not guided by moral and ethical considerations. The Jews have learned from their Torah that a leopard cannot change his spots, that you cannot enter into a binding agreement with such a leader as Arafat, a person whose basic character is seriously flawed, and who has a murderous and immoral past. Yet a Peres who has no use for history, nor his heritage, has willed it otherwise; as a result he has placed the Jewish People in grave danger.
What to do about it now? It is a "given" that Peres supplied small arms to the Arabs who are living amongst us, and who would, if it were possible, liquidate us entirely. A precursor of what may lie in store in that regard were the September riots in 1996 on a flimsy pretext, where PA police fired upon, killed and wounded many of our soldiers. The daily riots in Hebron, and the rumblings in Gush Katif, and the ominous threats in Jerusalem, are all part of the same pattern. Terror and the threat of terror, tools which Arafat employed freely in his past, are once again being resorted to by him.
A disloyal opposition, led by Labor leader Barak, who puts self and party over country, does not help matters. And at a time when Jewish survival calls for unity, self-pride and firmness, we have a vain Foreign Minister David Levy whose prime consideration is his own ego; a Defense Minister Mordechai whose appeasement policies are leading us to new disasters; and Aryeh Deri who sticks with his fellow Morrocan David Levy, rather than acting on the basis of what is good for the Jews. Things look rather bleak, and were it not for such observations of the late Mark Twain about the "eternal Jew", we should be thoroughly depressed. Twain observed: The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded..;the Greek and the Roman followed...and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time,... but they now have vanished. The Jew...beat them all....What is the secret of his immortality?
Ruth and Nadia Matar are co-presidents of WOMEN FOR ISRAEL'S TOMORROW (WOMEN IN GREEN)
If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.
His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendour; then faded to dream-stuff and passed away: the Greeks and the Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
[The above was written by Mark Twain and first published in HARPER'S magazine, September 1887.]