We, the Jewish people given the Holy Land of Israel, then exiled and then reunited with our homeland, came to live in peace among our neighbors, establish Justice, ensure domestic tranquility and security, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
That was the plan, anyway.
Throughout a history that is longer than almost any other nation or people, we have held to certain great truths that separate us from other nations, alienate us and have, over the centuries, often turned us into victims of a hatred so strong, it survives and thrives beyond those infected by it.
We have stood among our friends, and we have stood alone. As a people, we were founded at that very moment when Abraham spoke of One God to a world that did not know Him. As a people, we were liberated from Egypt, from slavery, and we learned the value not only of freedom, but of unity.
We traveled across the wilderness for forty years with one goal in mind. To establish a home in the land that God promised to us and to live a life dedicated to the Torah that He gave to us. To the Jewish people alone, of all the nations. We were given commandments that ordered us to be moral, to be humane, to care for the weak among us and among the other nations. We were told to honor our parents, from whom wisdom comes, and treat the stranger among us with respect.
To all the world, we stood alone as we crossed the desert; we stood alone as we reconquered our land at the end of those forty years, and again over two thousand years later when we returned home again.
We stood alone when Amalek attacked us; when Haman plotted against us. We stood alone when the Greeks came, and when the Romans pillaged our land. We stood alone during the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the pogroms and finally, we stood almost entirely alone and abandoned during the Holocaust when over a million and a half Jewish children were slaughtered to the deafening sound of silence from Washington, London, and Rome. And though the world believed us to be weak, easily persecuted, abandoned, homeless and alone, we nurtured and clung to our greatest truth. We were never alone. That is the greatest truth that we know. Not for a single instant in time, in no place we wandered, and under any circumstances.
Even in the depths of our sorrow, in exile, in the ghettos and concentration camps of Europe, the distant communities in Yemen, India, Ethiopia, not even in the freezing cold of Siberia. We were never abandoned and never really homeless.
We did not stand alone in 1947, when a majority of the nations of the world called for the re-establishment of our ancient, now modern homeland. But none of those nations stood with us when five Arab nations invaded a few months later, in May 1948, when we called our home Israel, and called on Jews from all over to come home. The exile would end and we would live in peace. That was the plan, anyway.
But war was launched against us, not by the “Palestinians” who did not exist at that time, but by the Arab nations who found it to be an insult to have Jews live in a land they wanted to claim alone. We fought because we understood, even then, that there would be, could be, should be no other place for us but here in the land God promised to us. And the world watched in astonished wonder as we emerged from the smoke to be stronger, bigger, more determined than ever.
Out of the gas chambers and the flames, came a promise forged with our blood and that of our ancestors. God promised us this land and chose us from among the nations. And we made a promise back to God and to ourselves. Great nations have fallen, while we remained. Greece and Rome are no more, Egypt, Assyria, Edom, Philistine, Canaan, Moab, the Ottoman Empire, the Persians and others. We have faced them all, but we remain. And there is the second great truth. We, the Jewish people will not die.
We will not allow the light that we bring to this world to be extinguished, diminished, threatened. No matter how alone we stand, we will still stand for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren. We will stand for those who are weak and alone and need help. We stood for the Vietnamese boat people long before anyone else. We have welcomed thousands who fled Sudan. We stood in Haiti, Turkey, Nepal, Kenya and beyond.
We rescued and saved, and while we gave to the world, while we were the light God commanded us to be, we gathered our people from all over the world. We brought the Jews from Yemen, the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia. And now Jews from India and France are coming home in great numbers.
Today, again, the world stands on the edge of a more frightening tomorrow – for them, and for us. There is a great threat against us and the world rushes to our enemies. What Hitler did in ten years, Iran could attempt to do in ten minutes. It was left to the world to stop them; as they demanded of us. In silence we waited for justice; we waited while deadlines passed. We listened to their plans, to their negotiations, to their appeasement.
We were urged not to take action; to trust the world to defuse the Iranian threat. Today, we see that once again, we were betrayed; once again, we are asked to stand alone.
And we will stand, as we have always stood – alone, but never alone. But we will remind you that the Jewish people will not die. That, God will not allow; that, we will not allow.
Make your agreement, end the sanctions. Allow them to rush towards nuclear power and watch as we, the Jewish people rise above this threat as we have all others. Their missiles will miss, the bombs explode too early. The computers will malfunction, and the earth will shake because we the Jewish people make this vow today.
In anger we turn to the world, not in fear. We lived for 2,000 years in fear, that time is over. We will rescue our people from the hatred that has festered inside of you almost since time began. We will bring our people home – from France, from Germany, from England and the United States. Today, this very day, a plane is flying filled with more who choose Israel despite what is likely to be signed today in Vienna. Hundreds of Jews from France are coming home this summer to Israel forever.
We will make our stand here in our land. Strong because we know this is ours. Strong because we have learned that deceit is your way, not ours.
As you sign this agreement with the devil, let this one message sink into your souls. What you do means nothing to us. Our destiny was never yours to guard; we would not be that foolish. You do not stand for the Jewish people; that is not your right.
Know too, that on the souls of our forefathers, we make this vow. In the memory of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…and in the name of Sarah and Rebecca, Leah and Rachel…and in the memory of all those who came before us…and for all those who will come after us…we make this vow.
We will not be destroyed; we will not be exiled again. Masada will not fall again. This is our land. This is our people. This is our destiny. We will stand alone always knowing that we, the Jewish people, will never be alone.
Blessed is the God of Israel, who neither sleeps nor slumbers.