Of nihilism and Jewish defensiveness

I enjoyed reading the excellent post of March 25 titled The Nihilism of Nir Barkat on this blogin response to the interview with Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem after the recent bombing attack in the heart of the city. The mayor’s response was “Life goes back to normal.” The blog post said “No, it doesn’t.”

The blog post put so well that I thought to cite the post and leave it at that. But I had a few words to add of my own and here they are:

The Bible relates how the Egyptian taskmasters afflicted the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Yet in spite of the oppression, “the more the Egyptians oppressed them the more the Israelites proliferated and spread.” (Exodus Ch. 1:12)

I am reminded of the terror attack on High School yeshiva students three years ago. I recently went to a memorial of one of the boys that was murdered, gunned down while he was studying and his classmates who are still alive today were now dancing and singing – songs of faith, courage, hope and redemption. This was their answer.

So no, Mayor Barakat, we do not go “back” to “normal.” We Jews go forwardto redemption. We respond with more strength, renewed resolve, more building and growing and multiplying and new found meaning. We are not victims.

Yes, we are strong – not with the bravado of “The Israeli army is strong. We will prevail” but of “With God’s help we will prevail. Goodness will prevail over evil.” Ours is not a fake “strength” of hiding one’s head in the sand and saying “nothing happened” but the strength of being alchemists who turn suffering into good, who answer terror with standing up tall. The mayor of Jerusalem should be a person who will state in no uncertain terms to a news reporter, “This is our land and we are here to stay. We’re not going to tolerate terror but we will hit terror hard by making it not worth their while to slaughter and massacre us.”

Sara Palin was just here visiting Israel and she said, “Why are you Israelis so apologetic all the time?” Yes indeed. Why?

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