There are many reasons why our living in this land is morally, historically, poetically and realistically right. Why we have to bother making that explanation is another issue. Does any other nation in the world spend as much time justifying simply its right to be? I doubt it. Syria has murdered more than 100,000 of its citizens…and no one says it has no right to exist. Nation after nation in this world fails to provide its citizens with basic needs or denies its citizens basic rights and they are welcome into the “family of nations.”
But something happened yesterday and today – I doubt most people even heard about it. Perhaps you heard part of it; perhaps none. And yet, taken as a picture, it is why Israel exists – pure, simple and true.
Last night, a Jew was near his home when he was shot. It is unclear if a group of men were involved in the attack or several. What is clear – the basic facts, is that the Jew, a rabbi, was seriously injured and is fighting for his life. He is also a father…of four children. He was taken to the hospital nearby; police believe the motivation for the attack was anti-Semitism.
The attack happened 1,014 miles away (I can only tell you the distance between Derbent, Russia and Tel Aviv, Israel – apparently the site: http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/calculate-distance.html does not want to offer me the option of Jerusalem, Israel…and isn’t that interesting?).
Those are the facts – a rabbi, shot and critically injured, an attack over a thousand miles away.
Now let me tell you about Israel – within hours, Israel sent a medical team to Russia. Their goal was to get to the rabbi and if at all possible, bring him to Israel for treatment. The medical team landed hours ago, ensured the rabbi was stable, and he is now on a plane headed for Israel.
That is the story of Israel, the truth of Israel. In a short while, Rabbi Ovadia Yaskov’s plane will land in Israel. An ambulance will be on hand, ready to transport him to an Israeli hospital where Israeli doctors will take care of him.
I don’t know if this rabbi is a citizen of Israel, but it hardly matters. When Israel sent a team to help search and rescue (and retrieval and identification of bodies) during the tsunami, they took with them a list of Israelis (as other nations took lists of their own) and beyond their own, the Israeli team was given a list of missing Jews from other nations – asked by families abroad. I remember one was a British Jew; I don’t know other nationalities, but I do remember they kept at it until they found the body.
It is a promise Israel keeps to its own people – Israelis and Jews – no matter where you are, no matter what your situation, dead or alive, we will bring you home.
May God grant Rav Ovadia Yaskov a complete and speedy recovery.