Happy Passover to All Readers and Friends!
This week the Jews all over the world and their friends are going to celebrate Passover. Those in North America will mark it in peace in the comfort of their homes. Others, like those in France and Sweden, will be weary of what the future holds for them in countries where anti-Semitism is reminding of its existence.
Although Passover is a family holiday, it is impossible to separate it from the political reality. Even its origins are rooted in the political struggle to end the Jewish slavery in Egypt.
That’s the reason why there are things that we should never forget. As a reminder, I chose for the greeting not an idyllic family seder picture, but an image I took during our trip to Hebron last year. This is a photo of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, one of the holiest Jewish sites.
Unlike the Jews elsewhere in the world, those in Hebron live under constant threats. The very act of worship is a challenge – they can be attacked at any moment on their way to or out of the Tomb. That’s why there are soldiers everywhere – the place looks more like military barracks than a place of worship.
We had to get there on a bulletproof bus. That looked extravagant at the time. Just a few months later such a bus, in the same area, was attacked by shooting terrorists and badly damaged.
Long time ago Hebron was the capital of King David. The Tomb of the Patriarchs is even older than that, it was the first Jewish property in the Holy Land, which Abraham bought. Yet it was later occupied and disfigured with ugly minarets by the followers of a religion whose only claim to the place were the demented ramblings of a desert warmonger.
It is ironic that even after the restoration of the Jewish State, the small population of Hebron Jews have access to only 20% of their holy site. That is definitely progress from the centuries when the Jews were not allowed in at all – the remains of the Seven Steps outside, which the Jews had to climb for the chance to touch the wall, are a humiliating reminder of those times.
The small Jewish community in that town deserves support – it has been betrayed many times by the international bodies and even their own government in Jerusalem. Hebron has often been offered as a playing chip in the delusional schemes to buy peace from the Arabs I exchange for land.
It is not easy to live in such condition. Some have called the Hebron Jews crazy, others consider them stubborn, but the truth is that those are the people who keep the flame and the spirit of Judaism alive in that ancient Jewish place.
Passover is a time to remember them and everything they represent, because a country, which is willing to discard its past, has no future.
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