I am not a hero. Nor am I a military man. I am however the son of Holocaust survivors. I am not merely comfortable, I am compelled to stand up in front of people and say that the Jewish people will no longer be pushed around and expected to capitulate to the demands of those with no regard for our safety and well-being. I know that many Jews of today feel as I do. We may or may not be great fighters, but in a larger number than maybe any time in our history we are, as a group, prepared to stand up and declare that the days of Jews being victims are over. As we do so today we do so with a leader who represents that attitude, not just for the people of Israel, but for Jews worldwide. That leader is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
I am very aware of the fact that not everyone feels that “Bibi”, the nickname Netanyahu is often referred to, represents them, but to millions of Jews worldwide he represents us in a way I have not seen in my lifetime. Jews tend to be divided. It must be in our DNA. However, for as long as I can remember the division has been based more on religious observance than on political viewpoints. What Bibi does is transcend that divide by often making it about neither one of those factors.
In being what is clearly a proud Jew, evident by being someone who goes to the Western Wall to pray after an election victory, Bibi makes us feel that who he is and where he comes from is as important to him as it is to so many of us. When speaking about the security and safety of the Jewish people he does so in a way we know that the majority of Israelis would agree with. Politically many might not agree with his methods, and many don’t even like him personally, but I have no doubt that most if not all want Israel to be safe and secure.
What Bibi does when he speaks is give the Jewish people a sense of unity and I dare say even nationalism. I know some of the strongest haters of the Jewish people and Israel see our nationalism as the problem and even racist in nature, but they conveniently forget that it works in conjunction with an Israeli government with many Arab citizens being represented politically in a free and democratic society. Are there any Arab nations that can say the same? Today, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership, more and more people are willing to stand up and say, Israel is our country, but even more significantly stand up and say, we as Jews will no longer be doormats.
I know there are many of us who might not put up a significant fight on a personal level, but with the power of the numbers behind us we have the courage to stand up as one. The importance of leadership in making people feel this way is more that significant, it’s critical. I know I am not alone when I say Bibi empowers me to feel that way as a Jew.
I go back again to the conversation I once had with my mother who is 93 and a Holocaust survivor from Holland who once told me that today reminds her of 1938. I challenged her on that statement saying that today is different because we have the State of Israel. I would add that today is also different because of one other reason. We have Benjamin Netanyahu.
I commend the people of Israel for making the right choice, and hope to see Bibi lead all the people of Israel to a safer and more secure future.
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