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The ability to defend oneself from personal or group antisemitism etc. should be incorporated into our national consciousness

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During his reign as the first king of the Jews, Saul had his greatest successes when he obeyed God. Saul had the raw materials to be a good leader: appearance, courage and actions. (Image: the-scriptures.co.uk)

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It appears to me that Jews throughout the centuries have laid stress on respect for life, and since the exodus, kindness to the stranger and the downtrodden. These are admirable qualities and are worthy of respect.  They have been important to Jewish culture and society throughout the centuries. However without due regard for personal and group strength is Jewish culture missing an important part of Judaism and of personal and group development and safety?

For the answer to this question, I will look at the story of Adam and Eve, at God’s instructions to Joshua and King Saul, His support for King David, and the relationship of Jacob and Esau.  In all these situations did God reward aggression and strength or pacifism.

We will start with Cain and Abel and note that Abel, the non-aggressive farmer, was killed. Although Cain was punished for killing Abel, God did not in turn kill Cain, but banished him. His punishment was that he was no longer worthy of being in society, but would forever be a wanderer.

Jews have been wanderers for the last 2000 years. Is that the heavy price of not being strong? Will that be the price of defeat for the young country of Israel? It is a sobering thought. 

The next story of importance is that of Jacob and Esau. Jacob was a quiet non-violent student type. Before his years of being away from home, he was not a particularly admirable person. Esau was a practical, simple hunter. God made Jacob the father of the Jewish nation, but he made Esau the progenitor of Se’ir, the forerunner of Rome, a greater or at least more numerous and more violent successful nation. 

Does that mean that God favours the more violent persons and nations? Does it mean that the more physical nations are, in terms of numbers, more successful than passive nations like the former Israelite nation and Israel. Is this God’s will?

Next in line to consider is Joshua. He was a brilliant general who followed the explicit dictates of God. According to the directions received from God, when Joshua attacked Jericho, he and his Israelite warriors  “… exterminated everything in the city with the sword : man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and ass.” When Joshua attacked the next few Canaanite cities he did the same thing, again as directed by God, and then later when not directed by God he was not as brutal and took more booty. If there is a lesson here, it is that God wants us to be brutal in war and other situations which are of great importance for the survival of the Jewish people and also probably for the survival of individual Jews.  It seems that the way to group survival, when establishing the borders of your country, is to kill your opponents, rather than make impossible peace agreements with them; and this is God’s will. 

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God causes the death of Saul because he refused to kill the king of the Amalekites, the historical enemies of the Israelite people. Wikipedia accurate describes the situation as follows:

“Several years after Saul’s victory against the Philistines at Michmash Pass, Samuel instructs Saul to make war on the Amalekites and to “utterly destroy” them including all their livestock[35] in fulfilment of a mandate set out:[36]

When the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies on every hand, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; do not forget.”

Having forewarned the Kenites who were living among the Amalekites to leave, Saul goes to war and defeats the Amalekites. Saul kills all the men, women, children and poor quality livestock, but leaves alive the king and best livestock. When Samuel learns that Saul has not obeyed his instructions in full and tries to justify it by using the livestock to perform animal sacrifices in a self-righteous manner, he informs Saul that God has rejected him as king.”

Again we see God instructing the Israelites to kill all the inhabitants of a certain area and also to kill their king. The punishment for disobeying is death. I ask again. Does God want Jews and Israel to be stronger in war and in peace by utterly destroying the enemies of the Jewish people? Do Jews need a cultural change, emphasizing the virtue of strength? Is this a lesson to be learned?

After King Saul, King David, the paragon of virtue despite his faults, continually fought wth the Philestines.  He was rewarded for his belief in God and his fighting ability.

From a long term perspective the price of weakness and internal conflict was the defeat and exile by the Assyrians, the Babylonians and then the Romans. That price included 2000 years of exile from the land of Israel. Surely biblical or Jewish history at this point tells us that God wants the Israelites and the Jews to be strong and to be feared, as well as to obey God’s other rules of social behaviour.

The modern day icon for ‘Jewish masculinity’ is embodied in the singularly named, multi-time champion pro wrestler … GOLDBERG. (Images: WWE Network)

Despite biblical tales extolling Jewish success in war, it seems that every Jewish parent wants their daughter to marry a scholar, not a handsome football player. Jews for centuries have emphasized the worth of Torah knowledge, and study – of education and scholarship – not sports or military achievement. The result is that we have not bred, as a society, a people who are strong, tough and aggressive. It has not been our priority.

I am suggesting we change that – not to give up our great Jewish values or regard for learning, but to realize that personal and group physical strength – the ability to defend oneself from personal or group antisemitism etc. is also important and should be incorporated into our national consciousness.

Surely it is time for Israelis and those in the diaspora to develop and show their strength so that the continuous periodic anti-Semitic events do not happen again and “Never Again” applies not only to the Holocaust but to personal and group anti-Semitism. 

Again, I am not suggesting that Jews give up their virtues or biblical commandments. I am suggesting however that more emphasis on personal physical strengthen and conditioning and group strength and willingness to fight battles that need to be won, will be beneficial to the Jewish community. I am suggesting a culture change, based on Biblical stories, would benefit the entire Jewish community

When kindness and respect for human life is considered by your enemies to be weakness, then it is necessary and obligatory to show strength and physical dominance. 

Jonathan Usher was born in Montreal. He graduated from Queen’s Law School in 1963 and moved to Toronto where he has lived since. In the past 20 years of retirement he has become a very prolific and published letter-to-the-editor writer and conservative, social iconoclast.

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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.

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