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Israel's Best Defense

by Michael Freund

The news, it seems, gives us no rest. Every hour brings with it another attack, another victim, more tears and more bloodshed. We reach for the tuner on the radio, like alcoholics grasping a bottle, punch-drunk from its effects yet unable to free ourselves from its stubborn hold.

With each passing day, the danger facing Israel seems to mount, as does our frustration. We all want to help, we all want to do something at this critical hour that will make a difference for our people. And yet, we seem at a loss as to just what we can and should be doing.

The usual array of pro-Israel activities - contacting one's elected representatives, combating media bias or even writing a check - just doesn't seem to cut it anymore. People are dying in the streets, being shot on their way to work or blown up at the local pizza parlor. There must be something more, something that each and every one of us can do to directly affect the situation, no matter who or where we might be.

And, in fact, there most assuredly is. The key to Israel's victory may very well lie in the palm of your hands or, more precisely, in the words of your heart. Israel's best defense is the power of prayer, and it is time we unleash this weapon with all the fury and determination that we can muster.

To modern ears, it might sound archaic, even simplistic. But modern solutions have failed us miserably in recent years, with diplomacy and statesmanship bringing us all to the edge of the abyss. For all of our advanced technology and finely-honed military prowess, Israel seems at a loss as to how to extricate itself from the current impasse. Perhaps it is time to put aside our cynicism and our doubts, and to do what people in trouble have always done in their hour of need ­ turn to their Father in Heaven and plead for help.

The Palestinians are now openly declaring that we are all potential targets. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), whose leader was eliminated by Israel earlier this week, has warned that, "The flames shall reach every Zionist everywhere" (Ma'ariv, August 28). This means that all of us who support Israel are now effectively soldiers in the battle to save the Jewish state. And just as there are no atheists in a foxhole, there should be no lips that remain silent in the current battle.

Israel should launch an international campaign, Operation Shield of David, which would bring together Jews (and others) to pray on the country's behalf. The Book of Psalms, written by King David, has always been one of the most potent weapons in Israel's spiritual arsenal. It is time to dust off this powerful tool, and to let its words of comfort and succor resonate across the globe.

Synagogues and other places of worship should regularly recite specified psalms on Israel's behalf, culminating in an International Day of Prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. If tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of voices are raised worldwide simultaneously, the echo will resound not only through the corridors of power in Washington, Moscow and elsewhere, but more importantly, in the Heavens too.

Unlike other forms of activism, prayer is something that each and every one of us can do. It costs no money, does not require a great deal of time, and allows every individual to express himself or herself in a unique and highly personal manner. And prayer has the power to unite us, if only for an instant, in an uplifting and meaningful experience that transcends our limitations as individuals and bonds us together as petitioners on Israel's behalf.

Critics will no doubt mock the idea, asserting perhaps that it is a sign of weakness or even desperation. But when a people finds itself with its back against the wall (or, in this case, the Mediterranean Sea), no answer should be so hastily dismissed.

The fact is that for the past decade, we have given politics a chance, and it has failed us. Now is the time to give G-d a chance, for unlike politicians, He can always be relied upon to keep His word.


The writer served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in Israel's Prime Minister's Office from 1996 to 1999. This article first appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

 

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