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   DECEMBER 1999 -  Issue #120    


Thoughts on Israel at the Millennium

Herbert Zweibon

As the much-anticipated new millennium approaches, it is worthwhile to note that for Jews, two thousand years are but a fraction of our history. The history of the Jewish people reaches back more than four thousand years, to those earliest days when the biblical patriarchs worshipped, worked, lived, and were buried in places such as Hebron and Bethlehem.

It is a history at once tragic and glorious. Jews were the victims of persecution, expulsion from their homeland, pillage and mass murder in every corner of the Diaspora. For millennia, Jews sought to gain a foothold in their host nations. Yet they were consistently rejected and forcibly uprooted. Neither the evolution of republics and nations, nor cultural and political renaissances, nor the age of "enlightenment," offered Jews more than a temporary respite from their enemies.

Some Jews could hide, but anti-Semitism sniffed them out, treating poor and rich, educated and ignorant alike, with derision and hatred, subjecting them to terror and murder. Some Jews sought shelter in conversion, or assimilation, or Marxism--but to no avail.

During the Holocaust, the Nazis murdered one out of every three Jews, ironically with the complicity of most of the nations that were attacked by Germany. The indifference of the world was staggering. The duplicity of the British with respect to Mandatory Palestine doomed hundreds of thousands and remains a permanent stain on that nation's history. Nonetheless, our destiny was to prove mightier than our horrific history. Not only did cities such as Hebron and Jerusalem retain a continuous Jewish population throughout the centuries--living testimony to the unbreakable bond between the Jewish people and their ancient homeland--but in 1948, after millennia of dispersion, the Jews were ingathered to the Land of Israel and a new-old Jewish state arose.

The ingathering of the exiles to reborn Israel--from the Displaced Persons camps in post-Holocaust Europe and the brutal regimes of the Arab world--re-
mains the most heroic rescue of modern history. In spite of the ill wishes of much of the world, and the unrelenting hatred of its Arab neighbors, Israel grew into a nation of highly advanced cultural, social, and scientific institutions. Its citizens' army, highly disciplined and effective, has been the living embodiment of the Zionist dream--an army of Jews for the defense of the Jewish nation.

In recent years, international pressure, Arab violence, and domestic intellectual rot have taken their toll on the Israeli national psyche. Can the Israeli people muster the pride, faith, and intellectual and emotional fortitude to continue defending the Land of Israel against its many foes? Optimists point to the elections of 1996 and 1999 as evidence that, at worst, the Jews of Israel are about evenly divided between those who are prepared to stand strong and those who are ready to give up. Can a substantial number of those who have grown weaker still be mobilized and inspired anew to recognize both the strategic dangers that Israel faces from territorial surrender, and the emotional and spiritual tragedy of violently expelling Jews from their homes in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and the Golan Heights? The answer is uncertain, and as the hour grows later, one yearns for some sign that 2,000 years of Jewish longing for Zion was not in vain.

Herbert Zweibon is chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel.


Israel in Full Retreat ...3

Foregoing Moral Right ...5

Clinton's Toy ...6

Conspiracy and Collusion ...7

Suicide and the Koran ...10

December 1999               - 1 -               Outpost


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