| The Ultimatum has been delivered. Within the past 24 hours, Prime
Barak gave the Palestinians and Yassar Arafat an ultimatum to end the
face a declaration that the peace process is dead, and that "all means at
disposal" will be used to restore order.
Unlike 27 years ago, when no one but the Arabs knew what was coming and
when, tonight the feeling that we're on the verge of war, if not already
involved in it, is palpable. The Tomb of Joseph in Nablus was trashed,
ransacked and burned. The
Har HaBais, the Temple Mount is in full control of Arab security personnel
policemen. It's open season on Jewish citizens in Israel from the youths
and slingshots lining the streets of the administered territories, from
snipers on the rooftops of
surrounding Arab villages and from the 40,000 member Palestinian police
predictably, the United Nations passed a resolution condemning Israel for the
excessive force against Palestinians, calling upon Israel, which it termed
'the occupying power", to "abide by it's legal obligations and it's
responsibilities." The response
of our longtime friend and ally, the United States? The United States
Memories of the 1973 Yom Kippur War when 2,700 Israelis were killed,
us this Kol Nidrei evening. We wait with baited breath for the hope of
happier, quieter news upon the conclusion of Yom Kippur...but the gnawing,
dreadful feeling is: we've entered into a new stage of the Peace Process, and
the hostilities will continue to escalate.
The state of Israel, far from being a solution to anti-Semitism, has
lightening rod to which Anti-Semitism can legitimately attach itself. We
ourselves today in a world that in large part, is too embarrassed to be openly
anti-Semitic, so the feelings remain but the name has changed to
Anti-Zionist rallies of up to 500,000 people have taken place within the past
in Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Denmark, with the burning of Israeli flags
random violence against Jewish citizens on the streets of many countries,
the United States. Far from being the end of anti-Semitism, the state of
the desire of it's citizens to live there peacefully has become just one more
for the perpetuation of 'the longest hatred'...anti-Semitism.
I can't begin to tell you, ladies and gentleman, how deeply I regret
having to speak
about what's taking in place in Israel on this Kol Nidrei evening. But by
token, I feel an obligation as your rabbi to share with you my feelings about
is that's taking place in Eretz Kadshanyu, with the lives of so many who are
precious to us at stake. More importantly, I feel that's it's my obligation
to tell you
what it is I believe that we can do to help.
If you've heard anyone say within the past 48 hours that 'Fighting has
in the Middle East", and you haven't screamed at this deliberate, politically
attempt to surreptitiously lay the blame for the conflict at the foot of
you're a participant in the plot, as well. There are very few wars that
spontaneously, as Charles Krauthammer wrote in a recent column -- and
certainly not this one.
Does anyone believe that Ehud Barak, who went to Camp David and offered
the Palestinians peace terms of breathtaking generosity, would be starting a
Does anyone believe that the most dovish government in Israeli history, just
away from concluding a permanent peace, and prepared to relinquish Israeli
sovereignty over Jerusalem, would initiate gun battles?
Arafat's rejection of Barak's offer at Camp David led to a pattern we've
repeatedly since the beginning of the intifada in 1987; resort to violence to
the initiative, and most importantly, mint new underage martyrs -- on world
to regain the international sympathy he forfeited by turning down peace.
The doves are stunned. Avraham Burg, speaker of the Israeli parliament
of the architects of the Labor government's bend-over-backward peace
said, "Do we really understand what's going on? After everything was
given, there are still demands on the other side" Burg continues, "Suddenly
discovered that what we mean by peace -- which is mutual reconciliation -- is
being met by the other side."
Suddenly? Where has he and the others who are surprised at the recent
developments been for the past 7 years, since the Oslo accord? In the past 7
Arafat has built his 'police force' into a 40,000 man army now unleashed on
Seven years during which the PLO controlled television, radio, newspapers and
children's textbooks inculcated in his people an anti-Semitism and
virulent that it has succeeded in producing a new generation bred on reflexive
hostility to Israel. Seven years in which Arafat has repeatedly called for a
The meaning of the current fighting, ladies and gentlemen, is a war for
This is NOT, what the American press calls, an 'expression of Palestinian
99 per cent of Palestinians live under the rule of Yassar Arafat. Barak has
conceded virtually the entire West Bank, so there's no room for 'frustration'
territory. And lest someone claim that the Palestinians are frustrated over
subordination, Barak offered full recognition of the first independent
Arafat demands ownership of our holy of holies: Jerusalem, and the
Emboldened by an American administration that has refused to call him to
accountability for starting this war, or for repeatedly violating his single
under Oslo: the renunciation of violence, Arafat is prepared to sacrfice as
many of his
own people as it takes to get it. Preferably, on CNN.
The nations of the world -- the Palestinians and Arafat included -- have
of explanations for the way they feel about us, and the way they treat us.
religious anti-semitism (AS) ; there's racial AS; there's economic AS.
They've hated us because we
were too involved in their societies, and they've hated us because of our
and separateness. All the 'reasons' they offer, however, are really simply
Before we speak about what we can do for the situation in Israel, I'm
going to share
with you the real reason for AS - the reason why AS has differed
quantitatively than any other type of hatred, prejudice and discrimination
world has ever seen.
"Why,", the Talmud asks, "did God give the Torah on a mountain named
The Talmud answers with a play on words (can you think of any Hebrew word that
sounds a lot like the word 'Sinai'?). "Sinah." Hatred. Sinah isn't spelled
as Sinai, but it has the same root. God gave the Torah on a mountain named
Sinai because from that point on, "Sinah,", hatred, was aroused against the
the rest of the world. With the arrival of the Torah came the arrival of
Now, I realize that what I've just said may be surprising to some of
you, and you
may be asking yourself, "I've never heard THAT reason, as the reason for
does he know that that is true?" It's more than interesting, ladies and
that the closer you get to rarefied evil, the closer you get to the truth of
AS. If you
read the writings of the Nazis, of people like Hitler, you'll find that they
'the curse of the conscience' that was imposed upon Western man by the Jews.
fact, I'd like to quote you something Hitler, may his name be erased, said,
see precisely what I'm saying. "The Jews,", Hitler wrote, "have inflicted
on mankind -- circumcision on it's body and "conscience" on it's soul. They
Jewish inventions. The war for domination of the world is waged only between
two of us. Everything else is but deception."
What Anti-Semites resent about us, are the ideas we've brought into the
Ideas such as, the concept of the brotherhood of all men, idea of equality
for the weak and the poor, and that man is expected to overcome the natural
inclinations of his body, with the inclinations of his soul. In order to
masses, the leaders of our enemies have many excuses for their hatred of us
in their own heart, the reason is: we, the Jewish people, represent the
The question is: what can we do? What can we do here in St. Louis, on
Kippur, as the battle lines in Eretz Yisrael have been drawn? When
our father Jacob went to wage battle with his arch enemy Esav, he prepared in
ways. First, Yakov prepared for war. The IDF, and Israeli security forces
and ready...but does anyone really believe that the marvelously trained and
courageous Israeli soldiers, on their own, can hold off a potential onslaught
10's of millions of Arabs, the wrath of the nations of the world, and the
apathy of our
so-called friends? I don't, and I hope you don't either. The second stage
preparation was through negotiations. Modern day Jacob has been negotiating
Modern day Yishmael for a decade and a half. The very architects,
the Peace Process negotiations seem prepared at this moment
to say 'Kaddish' on Camp David and Oslo. The final step of Jacob's
his momentous encounter was through.....prayer. Do you believe that prayer
ladies and gentlemen? Do you believe that God listens to our prayers, and
us in a time of need. If you do...and even if you're not sure if you
do...the time has
come to pray. Over the course of the next 24 hours, we're presented with the
opportunity to pray for the safety and welfare of Achaynu Beis Yisrael.
be a form of prayer that can certainly benefit those who are on the front
lines, as well.
What are we prepared to change today, as we greet Yom Kippur? What personal
committments have we made....or, what personal committments can we make, if
no other reason that in the merit of our prayers and our tshuvah, when we
the news upon the conclusion of YK, we can hope to hear good news, rather
the dreaded news we're half expecting? Can each of us, right now, consider
decide that we're not going to leave Yom Kippur, without having come up with
and a plan to take at least one small step to be a better Jew this year?
It's up to us to help to the degree that we can. Tshuva, tefilla, and
destroy the evil decree. The time has come to act.