Boker Tov dear readers!
Yesterday at the playground my daughter asked me what a strange noise was. “That’s an airplane flying over us,” I replied.
It struck me that I had registered the sound, but hadn’t really thought about it. For a few days now I have heard the sound more and more, and of course you immediately think that these are probably fighter jets on a mission.
Sometimes you can see the planes, sometimes not. Sometimes I even see attack helicopters flying over our heads.
Beit Shemesh is pretty much in the middle of Israel, making it an area that is flown over often. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I get the feeling that air traffic (and not of the commercial variety) increases in tense times.
The killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani has made us Israelis quite nervous. It’s hard to imagine that Iran isn’t planning to retaliate.
There are many ways that Iran can strike back at us Jews, and not just in Israel.
Hezbollah has aimed hundreds of thousands of missiles at us from the north, Hamas in the south can hardly wait to bombard us, and terrorist attacks in the heart of the country are still a danger.
Nobody here would be surprised if Iran attacked Jews as the scapegoat for American actions. Not that we mourn the death of this mass-murderer, but the situation shows us that the Jewish people remain as vulnerable now as we were during the long years of exile.
Exile is also part of this week’s Torah section. The Book of Exodus begins with the introduction of a new Pharaoh, who no longer knew Joseph. This pharaoh is the prototype of a ruler in Jewish exile: “And he said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’” (Exodus 1:9-10).
Does that sound familiar to you? The Jews are too powerful, we have to do something about them. This is the justification for the enslavement of the people in Egypt, and the persecution of Jews in many other countries over many centuries.
This argument can still be heard today. But the big difference between then and now is the State of Israel.
When we hear the roar of jets above us, it’s our own fighters en route to the enemy. But rather than duck our heads in fear, we now sigh in relief knowing that we as a people will no longer cower as victims.
Now we are fighting back.
From the entire Israel Today editorial team, I wish you a blessed and peaceful Shabbat Shalom!