While our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who are suffering in the recent earthquakes in Italy and New Zealand, there has been another ‘earthquake’ in the last week that has the potential to realign the geopolitical tectonic plates around the world: the election of president-elect Donald Trump to the White House. The unrest that this has stirred coupled with the fact that well over 70% of the Jewish community in the US didn’t back Mr Trump (source Jewish Chronicle, 11th Nov 2016) means that this ‘shock result’ can not be ignored, despite some residual reluctance to appear partisan. According to reports in the Jewish Chronicle this week some US Jewish commentators are lining up to attack Trump’s election to what is arguably the most powerful political position in the world. Dan Friedman’s comment is typical: ‘The Jewish community is united in its opposition to Trump (….) he is mostly anathema to the Jewish vote’. Apparently even our Prime Minister, Netanyahu, has been less than effusive in his congratulations.
What should our response be? In an early response to the events Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote to all his employees quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said 50 years ago: “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” As Jews this sentiment has deep historical resonance for us. There simply is not a good day to stop moving. To stop is to surrender, to give in to a force that may feel overwhelming but in reality will pass. Despite the right-wing rhetoric bordering on anti-Semitism coming out of the Trump support base, we cannot, and must not conclude that the game is up. Cook continued in his communication: ‘While there is discussion today about uncertainties ahead, you can be confident that Apple’s North Star hasn’t changed.” If the CEO of a multinational can make that claim, then how much more so the Jewish people, the nation G-d has called into existence through Avraham avinu. Our continued presence on this planet is a provocative challenge to a human history littered with countries and leaders whose sole ambition it was was to see us annihilated. Israel’s ‘North Star’ is our G-d, our Redeemer, the One who has become our salvation. THAT will never change.
In Israel one can often hear the phrase ‘yehiyeh tov’ – it will be well. Indeed it shall be. Such confidence is born out of the solid covenantal conviction that G-d has not, does not and will never leave us. To take on the Jewish people is to attempt the impossible: to defeat G-d. As was spoken through the Prophet Daniel, the Lord ‘removes kings and raises up kings’. Blessed be the name of the Lord. History with its empires and kingdoms has ebbed and flowed with time, some have been kind to us, some less so. But Israel continues. Our G-d IS a G-d of justice and righteousness, His verdict is just and we can trust Him to be so. Whatever may yet come our way, from history, and Scripture, we know one fact: G-d is in control. Lift up our eyes, for our redemption is near. All will be well.