(December 25, 2022 / JNS) For many years, I have felt something that made no sense to me, but I felt it very strongly.
The feeling was that Jews around the world who blatantly support our enemies are worse than our enemies themselves.
There are many examples of this, but to keep it simple, I’m talking about Jews who are ashamed of their identity, Israelis who are ashamed of their country and the combination of the two: Jews who are ashamed of their country and Israelis who are ashamed of their Jewish identity.
Why do these people bother me so much?
Recently, the answer came to me: These people haven’t gotten the memo that Jews don’t have to be apologetic anymore.
Throughout our history, we were always apologizing:
“Sorry, I won’t learn Torah if it offends you, Greeks.”
“Sorry if we destroyed your economy, Germans.”
It’s not new. It’s even in the Torah. We sent spies to examine the land before entering it, and guess what 10 out of 12 came back saying?
“I’m sorry. They are too strong. We can’t do this. We’re too small. We’re too insignificant. Sorry, but no.”
Today, we no longer have to apologize.
We don’t have to apologize for waving an Israeli flag, for praying on the Temple Mount, for holding a Torah scroll at the Western Wall or for living in our land—all of it.
But these people are constantly apologizing:
“We’re so sorry about the ‘occupation.’”
“We’re so sorry about those crazy religious people who want my kids to know the foundations of our history, our tradition and our religion.”
“We’re so sorry about those freaks who want and are willing to fight for every inch of this land.”
“We are so sorry that the citizens of Israel have spoken and democratically elected a right-wing government that realizes that there never was an Arab Palestinian state and there never will be.”
“We’re sorry, America. Please don’t pull your foreign aid. We depend on you.”
Those days are over.
We are home and some of us are proud to be home, while others are still stuck in the olden days when Jews would turn the other cheek.
Want to know how this manifests? It’s simple: When you are ashamed of who you are, you blame yourself.
There are many Jews out there who blame Israel for antisemitism:
“If only we didn’t ‘occupy’ the ‘Palestinians,’ there would be no antisemitism.”
“If only those ultra-Orthodox Jews wouldn’t dress like that and stick to their ‘primitive ways,’ people wouldn’t hate us so much.”
But they’ll never accept our apology, so it’s time we stop apologizing.
The new government is too right-wing for you? You must have confused me for someone who cares about your opinion.
Foreign aid? Go ahead, Biden, try to pull it. Try to boycott Israel, BDS. Go for it, let’s see how that goes for you.
We don’t need you any more than you need us.
Allow me to officially declare that the era of the apologetic Jew is dead. It should rest in peace.
Now let me introduce you to a new creature: the proud Jew.
We have a lot to be proud of.
20% of all Nobel prizes have been awarded to Jews. We have the most moral army in the world. We are able to balance our military power with our unwavering need to behave morally and ethically, sometimes too ethically.
We lead the world in life-changing tech: Medicine, food, you name it, we are at the forefront of it all.
We took a desert that Mark Twain famously referred to as “a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land” and transformed it into one of the most flourishing societies in the Middle East and the world, and it only took us 75 years.
So, it’s time we all declared the apologetic Jew dead and introduced the world to a new breed of Jew, the proud Jew.
If we don’t respect ourselves, how can we expect the world to?
Our new government, despite its shortcomings, represents the proud Jew. There has never been more Torah learning than there is right now. We have never been stronger physically or economically. That’s something to be proud of.
This new government will support Torah. It will support the land of Israel—all of it. It will support our needs, not the needs of our enemies.
We have always talked about and prayed for the people of Israel, with the Torah of Israel, in the land of Israel. And now, we have arrived, not yet to the final destination, but we are well on the way.
For that, we, the Jewish people, should be proud, not ashamed and apologetic.
Or, in other words: Sorry, not sorry.
Hillel Fuld, named Israel’s top marketer, is a leading journalist, tech advisor, online influencer and expert on Israeli innovation.
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