Friday, 7 October 2011

Jewish Resolve: Drawing strength from Yom Kippur

By Avi Benlolo in the Huffington Post

October 7, 2011- As on Yom Kippur of 1973, Jewish communities around the world -- and Israel in particular, are facing an external threat of historic proportion.
It was 38 years ago that a consortium of Arab states launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the holiest and most solemn day of the year for the Jewish people. It was a sadistic attack, timed to happen when Jews in Israel would have their guard down -- in synagogue, with all communications closed (no electricity or fire is permissible) and likely weak and tired from fasting.
But Jewish resolve and the need for survival was greater than the hatred unleashed on the tiny state by Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq with troops and aid from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Morocco, Cuba and Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. Many nations further participated in attempting to destroy Israel by funding and supplying this war effort -- including the former Soviet Union through its alliance with Egypt and Arab states.
Israel was victorious and for many Jews today, Yom Kippur is more than just a day of private reflection and atonement. It is a day of Jewish pride and strength, and an expression of our resolve and effort to survive in our ancestral homeland despite the incredible suffering our people have endured throughout the ages.
And because Yom Kippur is a holiday that brings Jews together and fills synagogues around the world to the rafters, it is a holiday that unifies us and recommits us and strengthens us for the coming year. This re-strengthening of our commitment to Israel and our culture and religion was indeed the secret weapon the Arabs missed in 1973 when they launched their attack.
The enemies of Israel and the Jewish people should know that our resolve today is greater than it was even on Yom Kippur in 1973. When we say that never again will there be a Holocaust and the gathering of millions of Jews into concentration camps where they will be gassed -- or annihilated by Gazan bombs or a nuclear Iran, we are serious. Israel does not stand alone -- not among Diaspora Jews and not among Western nations like Canada who rightly understand that Israel is the defender of freedom and democracy in the Middle East.

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