The Australian Jewish community have been treated to some very high-quality speakers over the past two weeks. Last week Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu addressed the community and this week the 22nd Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke to audiences at the UIA about his time in office and about his warm relationship with the State of Israel. Harper was a remarkable leader. Not only did he stand publicly with Israel even when unpopular, he also managed to convince his own people to adopt a pro-Israel approach! He explained to us that supporting Israel isn’t just of moral significance but it’s of strategic importance to all those countries around the world who wish to defend their values and free way of life. Because a threat against the Jewish people is a threat against all of civilised humanity. When asked how he had the courage to stand strong with Israel, he replied: “I looked at the world and saw a clear choice. Either to stand strong with Israel, or not to and allow the threats to come to our own shores”. He made note of Israel’s great successes in innovation and global accomplishment and explained how Israel’s neighbours are intimidated by her and find it easier to blame and attack Israel than to copy her successes. He also stated the real reason why there is no peace in the Middle East – because too many people have for generation after generation refused to recognise Israel’s right to exist in any shape or form.
I find it baffling. So many historic finds have been unearthed from signet rings, to scrolls to ancient ritual baths (Mikvaot). This week I was yet again blown away by recent footage of the excavations currently occurring at the Temple mount. How could anyone deny our connection? How are we expected to make negotiations with people who don’t even believe that we are there? In fact this very Shabbat we will read about the command to create the very first utensils for G-d’s holy house – the Temple. We read about the Table of showbread, the Menorah and the holy Ark that would eventually be housed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Yet sadly today there are many who deny that the Jews had any connection to the land and that these items ever existed.
Harper – and as we witnessed last week, Turnbull – are undoubtedly two of the best friends that Israel has ever had. Yet I left the evening feeling troubled that there aren’t more world leaders and opinion makers that have the courage to stand for truth and publicly support Israel.
In terms of happenings around the Shul? I held a shiur at the Hirschson home for the young family demographic and our Shlichot held a very successful Hebrew speaking event at the Heilpern home. We will also be celebrating the Bar-Mitzvah of Jason Hirsch this coming Shabbat and I wish Jason and his parents Nira and Allen a hearty Mazal Tov!
Please make a note of our upcoming events and I look forward to seeing you there!
Rabbi Yossi and Chana Raizel Friedman