Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was angered by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s comments in his address to the Security council two weeks ago, when Ban said it was “human nature to react to occupation”. Netanyahu accused him of “stoking terror”, giving tacit justification for Palestinian violence. There are those who feel that Secretary Ban was guilty of much more than that.
In response to Ban’s comments, the Nascent Sanhedrin recently issued a proclamation calling for the State of Israel to leave the UN. The dispute is not over a point of international law, or even a point in the Middle East peace negotiations. Rather, the Sanhedrin reasons that it is fighting for the essential identity of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish People. They feel that the UN and Ban Ki-Moon are rejecting the validity of the Biblical covenant, and perhaps of the Bible itself. In the words of the Sanhedrin:
“Ban Ki-moon stands at the head of the organization called the UN, and the State of Israel continues to spurn its international rights and obligations concerning the Land of Israel as legally recognized in Article 80 of the UN Charter, which adopted all of the mandates of the League of Nations. To wit: The Land of Israel is solely the designated land of the Nation of Israel, and as such the Jewish state is therefore required to represent the interests of the Jewish People.
“Israel’s silence on this important matter is tantamount to an admission that the Land does not belong to the Jews (God forbid), and instead renders the country as one occupied by foreigners, with all that this implies.
“The State of Israel must immediately leave the UN, and sue it for damages, holding it accountable for its actions.
“The UN, in its current form, must be shut down, as it only serves to fuel anti-Semitism. It must be re-established in a new incarnation, as an international organization dedicated to peace in accordance with the Torah of Israel, and based in Jerusalem.”
The Sanhedrin’s claim, that Ban accuses Israel of wresting the land away from the previous occupants – the alleged Palestinian nation – was actually anticipated by Judaism. It was predicted 900 years ago almost verbatim by one of the most prominent Jewish sages in history: a rabbi known as Rashi.
Rashi is an acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, who was a French wine merchant who lived 900 years ago. A prolific scholar with commentaries on almost every piece of Jewish literature, including the Bible and the Talmud (the oral tradition), his commentaries present the basic meaning of the text in a concise and lucid fashion,and are therefore an essential part of Jewish study to this day.
Rashi’s commentary on the first verse of the Bible has always been considered enigmatic by scholars. While the Bible begins with the story of creation, and the verse, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…”, Rashi, who normally adheres to the simplest reading, sidestepped the central issue in an uncharacteristic manner, questioning why the Torah begins with the story of creation at all.
He answers his own question in a seemingly incongruous statement having nothing to do with the story of creation. He explains that the Torah first established that the world was created by God so that the non-Jews would not be able to claim that the Jews stole the land.
“If the other nations say, ‘Israel is a thief, since they conquered the land belonging to the seven nations that dwelt there previously’, the Jews can answer by saying, ‘the entire world was created by God and is His, and he can give it to whoever he sees fit.’”
Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf, a noted Jewish speaker and award-winning author, spoke to Breaking Israel News about how this Rashi commentary applies to the current situation in the Middle East and to Ban in particular. Rabbi Apisdorf points out that Rashi, in almost prophetic fashion, predicted with unwavering conviction that the Jews would return to Israel. It was unimaginable that the Jews would actually have the opportunity to remind the world of their right to the land.
“It is amazing how closely Rashi’s description from 900 years ago fits the present political reality, but in a way it is not surprising. What Rashi is really saying is that when it comes to Israel, where we go, as long as our voice is united, the world will follow,” Rabbi Apisdorf told Breaking Israel News.
He explained, “When we accepted the Oslo Accords, we turned our backs on the claim that the land is ours, and only ours, by virtue of God’s covenant with Abraham. If the Jews don’t stand by that claim, why should anyone else?”
Rabbi Apisdorf’s solution was simple, and in a way, more shocking than that of the Sanhedrin.
“We don’t need to leave the UN. We need to reject the Oslo Accords, stand up at the UN, and make our claim in a loud, clear, and united voice. The purpose of this is first and foremost for the Nation of Israel, but it will impact the entire world.”
Given the turmoil and confusion the world finds itself in today, perhaps this is indeed the solution.