It is said that King Hezekiah would have become the Messiah had he sung Shirah (“Song of Thanks”) after God miraculously delivered 185,000 Assyrian soldiers into his hands on one fateful night around 700 BCE. Unfortunately, he failed to do so. We cannot make the same mistake.
After the events of last week, it is again time to sing Shirah, and we should not miss the opportunity. For the very first time in American history, a U.S. secretary of state visited areas of Israel that—until the Trump administration came along—were not fully recognized or even acknowledged as part of the land of Israel.
On Nov. 18 last year, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took the unprecedented step of declaring that the cities and towns of Judea and Samaria are not “inconsistent with international law.”
Last week, he went further by visiting Judea and Samaria, illustrating that the settlements there not only are “not illegal,” but—without using the word—part of Israel’s “sovereign” territory.
It would be great, of course, if the Trump administration approved the extension of Israeli sovereignty once and for all over all of Judea and Samaria. Pompeo should be applauded not only for his visits to the City of David in Jerusalem, Psagot and the Golan Heights, but for his pronouncement that the United States would henceforth view the international BDS movement as anti-Semitic.
The second event that the Jewish people must sing the “Song of Thanks” for is the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to declare that Jonathan Pollard, after 30 years in prison and another five on restricted parole, was free to emigrate to Israel. The Justice Department declared, “This is in accordance with the statute, the commission has ordered that, as of today, his parole supervision is terminated and he is no longer subject to the conditions of parole.”
These are great accomplishments for the Jewish people. The Pompeo visit and the Pollard decision should give the younger generations a great deal of inspiration. So much more has to be accomplished. Besides extending Israeli sovereignty to all of Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people in America and in Israel have to be brought back to their roots, to the straight and narrow—to Torah Judaism.
This is not a fantasy. It can be done. Not many thought the State of Israel would be re-established after 2,000 years, but sure enough, it was. Hard work pays off. Keep the faith and sing Shirah.
Dr. Joseph Frager is first vice president of the National Council of Young Israel.