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Our Israel Connection - May 19 2017

Our Israel Connection - May 19 2017

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Presidential visits to Israel are always interesting. Since June of 1974 when Richard Nixon touched down at Ben Gurion amid the Watergate scandal, presidential visits have been ideal times to showcase the strong bond between the US and Israel. 

At Chabad we are two weeks in to our six lesson course on Israel and the Six Day War from the Jewish Learning Institute. During the first lesson we discussed the rights that the Jews have to the land.

We brought up four arguments: 1) The historical argument, based on four thousand years of continued Jewish history and presence in the land. 2) The survival argument, based on the need to provide the endlessly persecuted Jewish people with a state of their own. 3) The legal argument, based on the Balfour declaration and its adoption by the League of Nations and UN. 

However solid each of these arguments are - no other country on earth has the legal or historical claims the Jewish people have to Israel - the international community is obviously finding it very difficult to accept them. Not only is the world finding it hard to accept, but it seems that the more those arguments are repeated the angrier much of the world gets.

We therefore ended off our lesson with argument number four, the Torah argument - the biblical claim to the land. We didn't bring it up as a desperate resort to blind faith. We viewed it as a biblical argument. We spoke about the central role that the Land of Israel has played in Jewish life for millennia. It is mentioned hundreds of times in Jewish prayer, study and law. Most importantly, we spoke about the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that they and their children would inherit the land, as well as the many purchases and legal acquisitions the Jewish founding fathers and mothers made in the land in biblical times.

The Torah is internationally recognized and respected. The world's two other major religions, comprising nearly four billion people worldwide, hold it to be true, and based their entire beliefs on our Torah. Perhaps then, we should take a step back and reconsider that argument from a logical standpoint. If a book that is revered worldwide - and used by billions as the foundation for their beliefs - states that Israel was given by God to the Jews, maybe we should include that in our UN presentations. 

Whichever argument we go with, as attention shifts again to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, let's remember that beyond the halls of the UN building and endless diplomatic jargon, our connection to Israel is the heart and soul of the Jewish people's identity.

Rabbi Avrohom

 

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