OpinionIsrael at War

Don’t cry over us Jews, Germany

Why is the “chosen people” always depending on permission from “The World” to fight for our lives, to save them, to give a damn?

Israeli and German flags flying from the historic city hall in Bremen, Germany. Credit: Harald Schmidt/Shutterstock.
Israeli and German flags flying from the historic city hall in Bremen, Germany. Credit: Harald Schmidt/Shutterstock.
Orit Arfa
Orit Arfa is an author and journalist based in Berlin. Her first of two novels, The Settler, follows the aftermath of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. Her work can be found at: www.oritarfa.net.

A popular, pro-Israel political German blog, Achgut.com, asked me if I would like to write about Israel.

Israel, after all, is constantly in the headlines and in the hearts of the Germans, although not always favorably. Having lived in Israel and even in the Gaza Strip for a short time covering the evacuation of the Jewish settlements in 2005 by then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, I would certainly have a lot to say. My dear family and friends in Israel are on the frontlines fighting—or waiting to fight.

Yes. I do have a lot to say. Maybe too much. I have so much to say (and repeat) that I’ve shut down.

Yes, this war is different. This time Israel is not simply fighting bumbling Arab Jew-haters with bad rocket aim. Hamas has succeeded in launching one of the bloodiest, most brutal, merciless pogroms against the Jewish people, meticulously, and I’d say even brilliantly executed.

They learned to paraglide with the support of the German European Union Ambassador to the Palestinians, Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, so that they could crash into a musical festival and maximize casualties of such stunning-looking Israelis that one would think they landed in a beauty pageant.

Hamas terrorists retrieved intelligence from Gaza residents who received permits to work in Israeli villages on the Gaza perimeter, thanks to the goodwill of the Israeli government and citizens who sought to improve relations with their neighboring enclave, believing economic prosperity could induce peace. According to reports, these workers studied and documented the layout and population of the villages, up to which family actually owned dogs!

Hamas somehow managed to neutralize Israel’s surveillance systems, bombing the observation points and murdering the observers, usually young women, giving them the capacity to ride through the broken fence packed in pick-up trucks and motorcycles, armed with machine guns.

They butchered, mutilated, raped. They even raped young girls, according to reports, and I shudder thinking what they would do to my daughter if they ever got to her. I’ve been hugging her so hard every night. So hard. And my heart aches for those parents who will never hug their babies again, and for the babies who have no parents to hold them.

The horrors blacken my soul.

I want to scream out, and I want to be silent. I want to be with people, and I want to be alone. I want to be a proud Jew, and I want to be Christian so that I don’t feel hunted all the time. I want to fight, and I want to go on with my life—because how much more suffering can I take, living in the constant shadow of persecution?

Then I told my editor at Achgut: I don’t want to write anything because I don’t really have a message for the German people.

Yes, as a journalist, I could get accurate information out—not the “fake news” that Israel bombed a hospital (although if it sheltered Hamas terrorists and munitions, it would actually be a legitimate target). But I believe it is not up to the German people to save the Jewish people. It is up to the Jewish people to save the Jewish people.

On social media, so many Israel activists parade pictures of charred Jewish babies; of that autistic 13-year-old, murdered along with her grandmother; of an orphan who is the sole survivor of his family; of bomb shelters that became crematoria. They plead with “The World”: “See what Hamas did to us Jews!”

I won’t join that choir. I don’t need “The World” to know what great victims Jews make. I need the world to know that Jews are bad-ass warriors. The only people to whom we should be parading these pictures are to our Israeli leaders and commanders and soldiers.

So should I write an article complaining to Germans that I feel like my leaders aren’t doing enough to protect me and my fellow Israelis?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can talk like a warrior, but he is infamous for caving to Washington, like just days ago when he allowed aid to reach Gaza from Egypt, at U.S. President Joe Biden’s (or his handlers’) request, much to the anger of families of the Israeli hostages.

In 1996, he beat the left’s Shimon Peres with a hardline platform and then proceeded with U.S. President Bill Clinton and PLO head Yasser Arafat, a terrorist leader, to implement the Oslo Accords, turning over the holy city of Hebron to Palestinian civilian control. He’s made ceasefire after ceasefire after the handful of Gaza conflicts he oversaw, never wiping out Hamas. As for the “disengagement” from Gaza, he voted for it when politically expedient and then spoke out against it at the last minute, probably to curry favor among nationalists before another election.

I’m proud of my people and also ashamed of them. I’m proud that we have built an overall peaceful country with beautiful, smart people who love life, morality and decency. But why can’t we ever get self-defense right? Why is this “chosen people” always depending on permission from “The World” to fight for our lives, to save them, to give a damn?

Aren’t we the people of the one God? We answer only to the Almighty—not to Biden, not to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, not to Blinken, not to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, and certainly, not to Iran and Hamas.

We are reminded time and again in Scripture that turning back on worshipping the one God leads only to tragedy. By relinquishing our power to “The World”—the other “gods”—we turn away from the Almighty.

“And if you turn your heart away from me and do not listen, and you are lured into the worship and service of other gods, then I declare to you today that you will perish; you will not lengthen your days on this soil that you are crossing into the Jordan to enter and inherit” (Deuteronomy 30: 16-19).

I don’t believe in supernatural “hocus pocus.” God will not grant us victory by splitting the ground and swallowing up the Gazans the way it swallowed up Korach the insurrectionist against Moses. But Psalms, the most enduring book of poetry ever composed, reminds us all the time that if we follow in God’s path, in his service, then we will witness victory.

“God is my light and my help, whom shall I fear? God is the stronghold of my life, whom shall I dread? When evil men assail me to devour my flesh, it is they, my foes and my enemies, who stumble and fall” (Psalms 27).

Asking the German government or the German people to save us, whether by appealing to their guilt or reason, will not produce miracles. Our enemies’ downfall will come from acting with self-reliance, valor, courage, and brilliance on the battlefield and in the halls of government that come from independent, inspired thinking. Once we Jews accept our covenant, “The World” will have finally begun to understand: The Hebrews take orders from the one, just God.

If we frame the narrative of this battle, Creation will bend to our will.

For any act of éclat, “The World” always predicts doom, like when Donald Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, keeping a promise to the American and Jewish people. This show of strength and non-conformity eventually led to the 2022 Abraham Accords because the region understood that Israel was backed by an administration that cared about building real trust.

Yes, we need cheerleaders. I’d love for you, my German readers, to show your empathy, your solidarity. It would be great if you spoke to your leaders and told them to help bring the hostages back and to stop arming the enemies of the Jews with aid and diplomatic support. But no more do I need Germans to cry over dead, mutilated Jews.

About 2,000 people came to a solidarity rally for Israel at the Brandenburg Gate, one day after the Hamas terror attacks on the Jewish state, Oct. 8, 2023. Credit: Mo Photography Berlin/Shutterstock.

‘Thou Shall Not Murder’

I need you Germans to make sure we are safe here, to pressure law enforcement to crack down on the antisemitic Islamists in this land, to instill in them the fear of righteous German anger.

Nazis went after the Jews and brought ruin to this beautiful country because ultimately the attempt of Jewish genocide—the goal to erase a people that brought the world the moral absolutes of the Ten Commandments—will eventually lead to ruin. God ultimately keeps His promise, embedded in the rainbow of Noah, and the world he created ultimately cannot sustain irrationality and evil.

The only question is how many people will suffer, how many Jewish bodies will be set on fire until the goodness of the Creator prevails?

I’ve been thinking lately that maybe I should move back to Israel, and not only because Berlin is no longer a safe haven for me. I shouldn’t be preaching to Germans. I should be writing in Hebrew, to my fellow Israelis, to my leaders, if they will listen.

Because we Jews must be self-reliant. We feel the pain stronger than anyone. We all know that had we been sleeping in those beds on that cursed Saturday morning that our throats would have been slit, too. We also know, deep down, that we are the people who made a covenant with God at Sinai to create a moral revolution whose key command is: “Thou shalt not murder.”

I wouldn’t dare call myself a prophet, but these days, common sense breeds clairvoyance. All of us yelling at the Israeli soldiers not to uproot us from Gush Katif logically foresaw that if you surrender land to terrorists and remove Jews from their homes, the enemy will be emboldened spiritually, physically and strategically. On those warm sands to which we long to return, we were all prophets.

I’ve become like Jonah, running away from prophesying (at least to my own people), and Berlin has become my whale, my shelter, but I feel like it’s spitting me out. A Jewish community center I frequent was the target of a firebombing attack, and a friend who works in security told me that we cannot really trust the German police to protect us. Despite lip service to “Never Again Is Now,” most German police won’t really protect us as a matter of conviction, of personal interest.

Many of my Jewish friends wonder: Are we safe anywhere? Israel was once our refuge, but Israelis are leaving to stay with family in Berlin. Sometimes, I fantasize about creating a Zionist colony in the underpopulated Brandenburg, triggering fears from some Jews that its large percentage of right-wing AfD voters would not welcome us, and hope from others that they’d defend us from Muslim Jew-haters. If anyone has a castle in Brandenburg that we can transform into a Jewish retreat center, please contact me.

It’s hard to get through the day sometimes. The Jewish people are experiencing a trauma we have not known since Nazi Germany in the 1930s. I feel like my grandparents, Holocaust survivors, might have felt when Hitler invaded Poland. We’re facing a diabolical, evil enemy, and their supporters are here, on the streets of Berlin, ready to commit another Holocaust. My heart is heavy.

I try to look to the future—my daughter—and I must stay happy and functional for her sake. I can’t hop on a plane like I used to, either for fight or flight, and there’s only so much I can do.

So stand side by side with us, not for our sake but for yours. Don’t ruin your country, yet again. Jews are eternally on the frontlines against savagery, and the West is next. Your babies, your children, your women, your grandmothers.

I hope that one day, not so far off, I’ll be able to smile genuinely again, and have better things to write about and more inspiration. So apologies for my rambling. It’s hard to sound smart and organized. Our feelings are raw; our minds are numb.

This article originally appeared in German on Achgut.com

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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