Better to be hated and respected than loved and memorialized
by Rabbi Eliezer Waldman - Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivat Kiryat Arba - May 5, 1997
Today is Holocaust Day in Israel. It is but the beginning of a period of time which is saturated with feelings of
pain and sorrow. We must always remember how one of the most civilized nations of the world was capable of the most
ghastly efforts in human history to physically annihilate the Jewish people... just because they were Jews. This fact
should enable us to realize why we can never place our trust in others, certainly not to the mercy of enemies. We cannot
even depend upon our elite and cultured "friends" and those who are driven by religious "scruples". The lessons of the
holocaust teach us that we must never rely upon others to defend Jewish lives and Jewish rights.
These days of reflection upon Jewish tragedy, Holocaust Remembrance Day and Memorial Day for our fallen
soldiers, are followed by Yom HaAtzmaut, Independence Day. It is a time of jubilation and thanksgiving to G-d that we
have our own independent homeland, defended by a Jewish army. The juxtaposition of these two extremes, tragedy and
joy, teach us an important lesson. Freedom and independence come at a high price. It is our responsibility to face the
reality that our independence come at a high price. It is our responsibility to face the reality that our independence
already cost us a very painful price. We cannot afford to jeopardize that which was paid for with so much Jewish blood in
a vain effort to please the nations of the world. We have only two alternatives: complete independence or the danger of
Before we had a Jewish State, when we were dispersed among the nations, we assumed that Jew hatred was a
result of our not having a country of our own. Because we maintained our unique and different customs in our host
countries, people related to us as aliens. It mattered not that we learned the language and contributed to the
development of all the lands of our Exile. We were always outsiders.
There were some Zionist leaders who thought that this hatred could be removed with the reestablishment of an
independent Jewish state. We would then become like all the other nations and no longer appear as aliens who needed
to depend upon others. This line of thought has been proven untrue, because now all that hatred which was directed at
the Wandering Jew, who lived without a country and benefited from others, is now directed against the Jewish
We have been hated and looked down upon as "sub humans" for so long that the nations of the world refuse to
accept the phenomenon of a Jewish independent nation in their homeland. They feel a need to impose limits to our
independence. They will determine for us how and when to defend ourselves. They will tell us where our capital should
be located. They will decide where a Jew can or cannot live in his homeland. Should we decide to defend ourselves
against our enemies we are condemned for fighting as aggressors and terrorists. And should we decide to build homes in
our capital city we are condemned for initiating a war!
History should have taught us that it is better to be hated and respected by the nations, than to be loved and
memorialized by them. But it seems that we are poor students of Jewish history. After almost 50 years of Jewish
independence the leftist leaders of "post zionism" are leading us back to a galut mentality of the Exiled Jew, basing our
security upon the good will of other nations. Rather than defend ourselves against Arab terrorists who come to murder us
and take our country from us, we are reduced to the absurdity of begging the terrorist leaders to help us stop terror.
Those who serve as sponsors and havens for terrorist murderers are being asked to help us and be our partners. Thus
we have voluntarily surrendered our independence and turned our backs upon Zionism. We have brought the Exile home
to Israel and created the greatest threat both to Zionism and our independence.
Two girls were brutally murdered recently while hiking not more than a mile from their home near Kfar Adumim.
The mighty Jewish Army responded by calling upon the PLO to find the murderers! Who would have imagined that the
clever Jewish nation would think to place the wolf in charge of the sheep? As long as Jewish youth cannot hike in the
hills and valleys of our own country and rely upon Jewish security forces to protect them then we are not an independent
What is independence? When we did not have a country we had no choice but to submit to the mercy of
strangers. Now, when at long last we do have our own country, we have an obligation to take full responsibility for all of
our needs. The only One upon whom we must depend is the G-d of Israel who brought us home in fulfillment of His
Promise to our Father, Abraham.
The entire miraculous phenomenon of the in gathering of the exiles and reestablishment of Jewish life in Eretz
Yisrael is a Divine Process whose goal is to reveal the morals and sanctity of Jewish traditional life to all the nations of
the world. We are an island of Truth and morality in a sea of hatred and terror. Only when we recognize this Divine
Process will we have the faith and strength to stand up to the challenges and obligations which confront us. Attaining
spiritual independence will safeguard our physical independence and guarantee that never again will there be another