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How did we get here? And what is the bigger picture?

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In 1947 by a vote of 33 for, 13 against, 10 abstain, 1 absent, the United Nations adopted the partition plan to establish a Jewish state. David Ben Gurion declared, “I know of no greater achievement by the Jewish people.”(Photo: cojs.org)

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I was born in 1934, in Canada, a time of world economic depression. Our family prospects spiraled downward for years. In Germany, a man named Hitler had just seized power and began a process leading to a Second World War and the Holocaust, the genocide of Jews on an industrial scale.

At the end of World War I, the League of Nations, recognizing the bi-millenian dispersion of the Jews, and their suffering, granted Britain a mandate in 1920 to create a Jewish National Home in their ancestral territory. The British hived off 80% of the territory to reward an ally and impeded Jewish entry while allowing a flood of Arab immigration. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition what remained of that mandate, granting a fraction of the territory to the Jews who had returned to that land.

In May, 1948, some 800 thousand Jews in an Arab sea of millions, declared their State. It was immediately attacked by the standing armies of seven surrounding Arab countries as well as its indigenous Arab population. 

Not one nation came to its aid.

In 1949, the war ended with armistice agreements with four governments, and more territory for Israel than provided by the Partition. In 1967, Israel was attacked again. When a ceasefire was agreed to seven days later, Israel had taken possession of the whole of the truncated mandated territory, as well as occupying the Egyptian Sinai. In 1973, Israel was attacked again and the conflict ended with Israel in possession of the Golan territory of Syria, as well as the Egyptian Sinai. Israel annexed the Golan, and repatriated the Sinai to Egypt in 1979 as part of a peace agreement. It also signed a peace agreement with Jordan.

In 1993 and 1995 Israel signed the Oslo Accords which created the Palestinian Authority giving it dominion over the major population concentrations in the West Bank and Gaza, with Israel responsible for security internally and over borders. Israel withdrew totally from Gaza in 2003.

In 2021, with Israel approaching a population of ten million, with an Arab party in its coalition government, it is recognized as a scientific, military, and technologic powerhouse. It now has formal diplomatic relations with seven Arab governments, with Egypt, the most populous. It has informal relations with others, particularly, Saudi Arabia, as countries recognize how they can benefit from Israel’s prowess in many areas. Looking back, the present seems almost miraculous.

How did we get here? And what is the bigger picture?

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The saga began when an escaping slave population of Hebrews left Egypt about 1350 B.C.E. Numbering more than two million, according to their writings, with the benevolence of their unitary Deity, and obeying His code of laws, they survived in the desert .They took possession of their Promised Land on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean , outlasting the indigenous. They built a unique culture centered around their unitary deity that persisted through the rise and fall of empires for more than a thousand years

They fell under the sway of the Roman Empire in 63 B.C.E., becoming the Roman province of Judea in 6 B.C.E. As in their prior history, they chafed under their rulers for their lack of respect for their religion. Outright rebellion erupted in 66 C.E. In 70 C.E., Jerusalem, and the Temple which had stood since 516 B.C.E., were destroyed. Wholesale dispersion began but resistance persisted until 132 C.E.

Josephus, the Roman historian, reported that in his time about one in ten of the Empire population counted themselves Jews. The dispersion promoted their ideas, but there were two streams. The Jews who had supported Jesus’ reforms of religious practice in ancient Israel, now centered their message around the myth that Jesus had risen from the dead, and that he was the heralded Messiah, and a simple belief in him would yield a happy forever afterlife.

The great majority of Jews rejected this and many Jewish followers returned to orthodoxy over time, particularly as the myth was elaborated in ways contrary to the mainstream. A number of different tales of Jesus’ ministry appeared in the century after his death. Stung by Jewish rejection, some blamed the Jews for Jesus’ crucifixion.

As their numbers grew among pagans, and believers became more organized into the Church, some of these writings were organized as Gospels to be included in a New Testament. Some of the writings which exonerated Rome were chosen for inclusion, more appealing to a Roman audience. By the time Constantine made Christianity the state religion about 300 C.E., the die was cast. The Jews were demonized forever as “Christ killers”. We dare not calculate the losses.

Can we imagine that Jesus, who saw his role as a savior to his people, would have wanted this?

“Carol Meyers, in her commentary on Exodus, suggests that it is arguably the most important book in the Bible, as it presents the defining features of Israel's identity—memories of a past marked by hardship and escape, a binding covenant with God, who chooses Israel, and the establishment of the life of the community and the guidelines for sustaining it.” (Quote: Wikipedia; Image: haggadot.com)

Centuries of persecution followed Jews wherever Christianity held sway. And the complicity of individuals during the Holocaust can be easily traced to the Church’s action. After the murders became known, many nations sheltered their complicity under a cloak of victimhood. For a time it became unpopular to be an anti-Semite. Events, however, have conspired to change this.

In 2001 the Durban conference was convened to celebrate the end of Apartheid in South Africa. What emerged were a condemnations of Israel as a racist, apartheid state, and the launching of the BDS movement. A new antisemitism in the form of anti-Israel activity spread across Europe.

Left-leaning groups and individuals, “liberal” academics, condemned Israel as a colonialist enterprise, its strength a reason it should not defend itself against terrorist attack. All this with passive U.S. J Street approval.

Some are already fleeing from countries of long habitation. Can new attacks on Jews be far behind?

This is how I see the world in the year 2021.

Max Roytenberg is an author, poet and blogger, with many published articles in Jewish periodicals in Dublin, New York, Winnipeg and Vancouver. After a career as an Economist and Executive in the Food Industry, in Canada and abroad, he writes, and lives with his Bride, in Vancouver. He has children and grandchildren in the US, Canada, China and Israel. His last book, “Hero In My Own Eyes”, is available through major booksellers and on Amazon.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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