ISRAEL - Jewish Universalism in Danger

Arno Froese

Jewish identity delicately balances two opposing attitudes toward the non-Jewish world. We are a particularistic race, asserting an exclusive covenant with Hashem, which awards us His land of Israel. Distinctive dietary and marital customs, along with a rigid system of commandments and prohibitions, preserve our cultural insularity. The Jewish day-to-day experience is fundamentally different from the daily routine of non-Jews. We are different, and we are chosen.

Ideally, Judaism blends nationalistic and universalistic experiences. While our daily routines are particularistic, our mission is global. Our rituals, customs, and lifestyles are distinctive, and culturally we are inward-looking. If we neglect our religious commitments and corrupt our moral integrity, we are no longer priestly, and our message expires. However, if we ignore our duty to inspire humanity, we betray the very reason for which we were chosen. Jews are both internalist and externalist, insular and outward-looking. 

The past few months have severely challenged our ability to merge these two cardinal values. It is not an easy time to be a Jewish universalist. On October 7, we were brutally attacked by barbaric murderers who, astonishingly, received political support from much of the Arab world. Antisemites across the globe came out of the woodwork, supporting the rape, murder, and mutilation of Jews. 

We received a rude awakening that deep-seated animosity toward our people still lingers under the surface of a shiny and shimmering modern world. The monstrosity of antisemitism still lives. 

Though the war has severely challenged our universalism, we cannot allow it to make us too insular or to promote bigotry or racism. The war in Gaza and our battle with antisemitism can easily plunge us into ugly, misanthropic hatred of “others.” In the face of brutality and rabid hatred, it is easy to paint the entire world as our enemies. A battle of this magnitude can easily cause us to dig in our heels, stand alone, and dismiss humanity at large. It is specifically during this dark period of hatred and violence that we must reaffirm Jewish universalism. 

Don’t let the haters turn us into haters. It is bad enough that they murdered our people. Do not allow them to murder Jewish universalist identity as well. 

-www.jpost.com, 11 February 2024

Arno's Commentary

We only publish a few excerpts from the article by The Jerusalem Post to show the absolute uniqueness of the Jewish people, regardless of where they presently reside. It was the heathen prophet Balaam who was paid by King Balak to curse Israel; instead, we read in Joshua 24:17: “For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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