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Aren't you happy that Jews today have a shelter from persecution?

12/01/06

Dear Rabbi,

With all my respect for your opinions, aren't you happy that jews around the world have a shelter today and that in case they are persecuted they have international zionism to defend them and israel to welcome them?

Abe M.

Dear Abe,

We look to the Talmudic sages and their later disciples for wisdom, and I would like to point out an important thing that they said about anti-semitism and persecution during exile. Jews have been scattered in various countries throughout the world. This is no accident, it is Divine providence. See the Torah, Deuteronomy 4:27 and 28:64. The sages explained that the scattering was actually G-d's way of protecting the Jews. If Jews were all in one place, it would be easier for an anti-Semitic ruler to destroy them all. But G-d made sure that when Jews were expelled and persecuted in Spain, there was a king in Poland who let them live freely. When Jews were being slaughtered in Europe, there was a land America where they were safe. During the centuries of Christian persecution, there was a Muslim world that was relatively tolerant. Therefore, we say it is a great mistake to make a homeland and gather all Jews to one place. This will only be possible in the messianic era when G-d will give us His open protection.

The original Zionist leaders envisioned their state as a safe haven to welcome the Jews, but today we see that it didn't turn out that way. On the contrary, it has become the world's most dangerous place for Jews to live. The only Jews who used the state of Israel as a haven from persecution were the Jews from Muslim countries who fled there in the 1950's, but why were they persecuted at all in their home countries? Only because of Arab anger over the foundation of the state of Israel. Before Zionism they lived in relative tranquility.