(April 8, 2020 / JNS) Israelis are facing a challenge with which we, as well as the rest of humanity, are unfamiliar. A challenge that reminds us all of the importance of our home, our family and our people, as well as the importance of our ties with the rest of the world. God is reminding us that some things are out of our control. We need to confront this, join forces and overcome.
After a year of cursed elections, we are moving toward a unity government, and that is comforting. The people’s message in the election was clear—they want unity. And we aren’t the only ones. The entire world must realize that we can only handle this if we are together. It is a universal message to humanity. It starts with the strength that comes from the family and the home—my home is my castle. This has a very deep meaning because if we want to solve the problems of the world, everything begins at the root, which is the home. We are all returning home to wage a world war. I hope that we all make it through safely, happy and in good health.
I hope that we learn from a situation the likes of which we’ve never seen. We need to think about the world as a whole and search for ways of joining forces. There is a need for a unity government, and everything starts with the nuclear family.
This year, we are celebrating Passover with the nuclear family. That carries great symbolism. The Israeli people can contribute to the rest of the world, and it’s no coincidence that we are handling the situation better than the other nations of the free world. We have experience with special situations, and we have many years of wisdom, which means we have much to give. For the future of our country, the Jewish people, and our contribution to humanity, we must unite. We have thousands of years of experience of each of us sitting at home but nevertheless feeling part of the same people. We had a Jewish “internet” long before the world had one. We must never forget these ties. They can give us strength, even when we are alone at home.
Israel is a center of Jewish life, and a much safer, better-prepared society to handle world challenges. Now we need to think about how Israel can help the New York Jewish community, which is in a tough situation. In dangerous times, there is no place safer than Israel. In the past, when the plague struck Europe, millions died—almost a third of Europe’s population.
There were Jewish communities that were destroyed because people blamed them for the plague. The world has moved on, but even today there are some who blame the Jews for the current plague, and even say they are making money off it. This is a reminder to us all that prejudice does not die out. We need to be aware of it, and we must not stop our battle against anti-Semitism, whether it is aimed at Israel or at the Jews of the world.
As a former prisoner of Zion, I remember celebrating seder in solitary confinement. There were three slices of bread, three glasses of water and a little salt. I decided that the warm water was wine, the dry bread was matzah, and the salt was the bitter herbs. I tried to remember every sentence in the Haggadah, and what I couldn’t, I made up.
“Next year in Jerusalem” was a very powerful sentence for me. I felt that I was with the rest of the Jewish people, on the right path. Then, Passover was a good opportunity to know just how much we weren’t giving in and were continuing our battle.
I believe we will come out of this crisis stronger because we handled it correctly. The government made the right decisions before other countries did. It’s important that we come out of this crisis more united, with a unity government.
A happy, healthy Passover to everyone, with much confidence in our role and our path.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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