Israeli soldiers are seen on a tank as they reenter Israel from Gaza near the Israel-Gaza border in southern Israel Jan. 11, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. OSV News photo/Tyrone Siu, Reuters

From Holocaust’s ashes

By  Rabbi Warren Goldstein, Catholic Register Special
  • February 1, 2024

The International Court of Justice has delivered its interim judgment. Even a political body appointed by the United Nations General Assembly, whose members are mainly non-democratic states, couldn’t bring itself to order Israel to ceasefire, but we should not be grateful for that. They had no moral right to order Israel to cease its just war of self-defense in the first place.

These… judges should have (expressed) the gratitude of the international community for the bravery and sacrifice of Israel’s young soldiers going door to door to defeat the forces of barbarism in the Middle East. This is not 1938. The Jewish people do not have to go on our knees to beg for the right to defend ourselves against those who seek to exterminate us.

With God’s blessings, we have a sovereign Jewish state for the first time in almost 2,000 years, protected by a powerful army ensuring Jewish blood is not spilled with impunity. The Oct. 7 attacks were the bloodiest slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust. But we are not living in Holocaust times. The Israeli Defence Force is defending Jewish lives and making sure such an attack can never be repeated. In time, the vicious jihadi terror group that perpetrated this massacre will be defeated, disarmed and removed from power.

God has given us another blessing. While around half the Jewish world live in the sovereign state of Israel, around nine per cent of the other half — the Jewish diaspora — live in free democracies where we have built strong, proud, vibrant Jewish communities. Enjoying full political and civil rights, we are flourishing as contributing members of our societies, playing vital roles in changing society for the better. We, the Jews of the diaspora, have the right, the resources and the capacity to support and defend the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

Unlike 1938, we are not alone. We have allies across the globe: free democratic governments fully behind Israel and the Jewish people at this moment of crisis. Our allies see clearly the justice of Israel’s cause (and) can tell who are the real genocidal forces.

They support us because…justice demands it. They realize this is not just a war against the Jews. This is a war against the cherished values of the free world: human dignity, freedom, tolerance, the rule of law and basic human rights.

We have seen this in (the) rock-solid support of the U.S., U.K., EU and Indian governments, many African countries including Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia. Germany heroically pledged to stand by Israel in the dock at the ICJ proceedings. The historic Abraham Accords… have weathered the storms of the Gaza war. Not one Arab nation sanctioned or joined the ICJ proceedings….

Here in South Africa, we are a proud and strong Jewish community with flourishing schools, shuls and every kind of organization — security, welfare, political — needed to advance the highest quality of life. We were at the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement to liberate South Africa from its racist regime. We have contributed disproportionately…in advancing the new South Africa.

We stand tall and strong with Israel and oppose the naked prejudice and aggression of the ANC government against the Jewish state. We are not alone ….

Just over 59 million of 60 million South Africans are Christians. Most are from Evangelical churches who support Israel. Millions of South Africans want a close relationship...

The ANC’s support for Hamas betrays the Christians of Africa being murdered and persecuted by Al Shabab, Boko Haram and ISIS, the jihadi brothers in arms of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

Everything  that lies beneath the surface will come out. That is what happens in a democracy. We are not just going to roll over. The Jewish world is strong and we have allies in the fight against the genocidal movements (that) threaten the civilized world exactly as the Nazis did.

When confronted with fearsome enemies, Jews of previous generations had no choice but to take flight. This generation can and will fight. We will fight back with every measure possible… with the sense of the justice of our cause.

With God’s blessings, we have emerged from the shadow of the Holocaust, of 2,000 years of exile and persecution, and have begun to learn a new era has dawned.

In 1938, vulnerable, fearful with nowhere to run and hide, and no allies in the world, we were sent to our slaughter. But with God’s blessings, we have risen from the ashes of the Holocaust.

(Rabbi Goldstein is Chief Rabbi of South Africa.)

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.