Nightfall Sunday—New Year’s Day—marks the end of the eight days of the Jewish Festival of Lights, Chanukah—celebrated by Jews worldwide to remember the Maccabees and the miracle when a single day’s oil was sufficient to light the menorah for eight days. As noted last week, our West Point cadets are reminded of Judah the Maccabee by his statue among “nine worthies” and his leadership against great odds to purge the Temple of Hellenistic cult paraphernalia, reconstruct the sanctuary according to Torah prescriptions and re-consecrate it to the worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
That Temple was—and the Temple Mount is—in Jerusalem. Its sanctuary held the Arc of the Covenant first carried to the Holy Land by the Israelites following their escape from Egypt and 40 years of wandering in the desert. According to the Old Testament’s second book—see Exodus 25: 10-22, their leader, Moses, had the Arc constructed according to instructions he received from God at the foot of Mount Sinai. It carried the two stone tablets on which were scribed the Ten Commandments. Moses was not permitted to enter the “Promised Land”, but his “lieutenant” Joshua (another of the nine “West Point worthies”) led them.
The Bible traces the History of Israel’s and the Israeli’s travails through many millennia—and prophesized Israel’s eventual re-establishment, realized in 1948. Beginning centuries ago, when Jews around the world without a state of their own celebrated the Passover Seder, they remembered their survival of the last plague imposed to convince Pharaoh to let His people leave Egypt with Moses—and they included the promise “Next year in Jerusalem.” This promise is also included at the conclusion of the Ne’ilah service of Yom Kippur.
Perhaps this year, our Jewish friends should also include it in this weekend’s Chanukah celebration—given the events of this past week and the Obama administration’s shameful betrayal of Israel in United Nations Resolution 2334.
This despicable resolution, which the U.S. permitted to go into effect, would among other things remove Judaism’s most holy sites from Israel territory—including the Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall. While seeking to require of Israel this and perhaps less contemptable concessions, it does nothing to deal with the reality that the Palestine Liberation Organization does not even acknowledge the right of Israel to exist, even while it continues its attacks on Israeli sovereign territory.
President Elect Trump has promised to reverse this abominable constraint when his administration begins in only three weeks. Hopefully, he will also remember and reward appropriately the 14 members of the Security Council who voted for Resolution 2334—permanent members Russia, China, The United Kingdom and France and the other 10 members of the Hall of Shame: Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
I also hope he dramatically cuts U.S. funding to that institution that serves little useful American interest. And moves the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
So, to our Jewish friends, Happy Chanukah and remember “Next Year in Jerusalem!”
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