November is an auspicious month for Israel and the Jewish people, and for me and my family personally.
On November 2, 1917, at the twilight of WWI, the British government issued the “Balfour Declaration”, affirming their support to establish a Jewish home in “Palestine.”
On November 29, 1947, at the twilight of the “British Mandate” for Palestine, the UN voted in favor of partition plan to establish a (second) Arab State in “Palestine” and a Jewish state as well, on a tiny sliver of land.
The interim years were tragic for the Jewish people with the British preventing immigration of Jews while Jews were being slaughtered throughout Europe. One of the harbingers of the horrors and evils to come also shares a November anniversary. Kristallnacht was a series of coordinated deadly attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria on November 9-10, 1938. German authorities looked on without intervening. More than 1000 synagogues were burned; over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed or damaged. More than 30,000 Jews were arrested, and dozens murdered and even more beaten. The relative silence of the world then paved the way for the murder of six million Jews over the next several years.
In November 1947, my father was a 10 -year old in Haifa, then part of the British Mandate, or what I refer to as the British occupation, of Palestine. He was the same age then as his youngest grandson is today, the first in our family to be born in Israel since my father was, almost eight decades ago. My father danced and celebrated this milestone in the streets along with Jews throughout Israel and the world, albeit in the shadow of the Holocaust and the mourning of relatives for whom the milestone came several years too late. My grandparents celebrated with my father, but mourned their parents, siblings and nieces and nephews.
The imminent rebirth of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel was celebrated personally, globally, but never lost that it was fulfillment of Divine prophesy.
Today, our celebration continues and is played out every day in more mundane ways. An example of this is my 10 year old son playing soccer in the street in freedom, the way my father as a 10 year old in his generation danced in the street, and paving the way for what we have today.
It’s an important historical note in a world that spares no effort to lie about and slander Israel today, that until 1948, the use of the word “Palestinian” was in reference to the Jewish population of the Land of Israel, and not as has been taken over in recent decades suggesting that we are intruders, occupiers, or that there’s no Jewish history here.
Despite these milestones and their significance, let’s not think for a minute that despite its declaration of support for the establishment of a Jewish home in Israel, as the sun began setting on the British Empire, that His Majesty’s government became any more imbued with a sense of biblical obligation to birth a Jewish state. In fact one might argue that impediments placed in the way of Israel’s restoration to its Land might have been part of the downfall of the Empire about which they famously boasted the sun never set.
Similarly let’s not think that in 1947, or now, the United Nations that voted to end the British Mandate and establish a new Jewish and Arab state sharing some 20 percent of the original territory ever did so because of an outbreak of Zionism, or out of a biblical obligation to bless Israel.
In fact, another infamous November milestone was the 1975 UN Resolution 3379 equating Zionism with racism. In the decades since, as the UN has repeatedly cursed Israel through obsessive one sided votes and declarations, its own relevance has dimmed just as the lights have gone out on the British Empire.
And let it be clear that though the British government and United Nations did play a role in Israel being born again, Israel’s existence does not depend on the authority of either. The authority of Israel’s existence, and the source of Israel’s blessing and protection, is the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the Creator of the Universe.
Speaking of God, recently Jews around the world read the Torah portion in Genesis where God instructs Abraham to leave his home and family and settle the Land that He will show him. Genesis 12:1 is where we derive the biblical obligation to be like Abraham and settle the Land. It’s not just a nice idea or a gift that was once made once upon a time, but an imperative in our lives today, for which Jews yearned for millennia. This has grown in observance in the past decades with the yearning of the past married with the ability to do so.
For anyone who reads my articles regularly you’ll know that my family and I moved to Israel in the month of August. So why is November relevant to us personally? This month it’s safe to say we are not only not new immigrants anymore, but established residents of the Land and beneficiaries of God’,s promise to Abraham. With one son born in Israel a decade ago and five “imports,” this month we celebrate the milestone of my oldest child now living most of her life in Israel. It is a blessing to live in the Land God promised to Abraham and his descendants, and a privilege to raise my children here, writing the pages of our future in the Land that is our home deeded by God.
We may not celebrate by dancing in the streets as my father did in 1947. We may “only” continue to drive, car pool, commute to work and school, and be frustrated about the lack of parking on our street. Very mundane things to say the least. But all these, and this personal milestone, symbolize that our future is here, where our past started.
As God promised to make Abraham a great nation, sitting in the Judean Mountains thousands of years hence, we are indeed privileged and we are very blessed.
I used to live in White Plains, NY, and gained familiarity with all of Westchester County. In 2004 I pulled up my roots from the US and planted myself and my family in the Judean Mountains, affirming God’s gift and promise to Abraham and his descendants. If you can’t join me in person, you can join me in solidarity. Be among those who bless Israel, and declare today that you are a Judean. Contact me at FirstPersonIsrael@gmail.com.