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Light One Candle: Bibi on the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Challenge

By Nathan Guttman

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Benjamin Netanyahu has a message to the American Jewish community: It’s time to get out and fight against the lies people are spreading about Israel.

Netanyahu himself, as he told a crowd of 1,000 hand-picked Jewish activists at an invitation-only event Thursday evening at New York’s 92nd Street Y, has already embarked on the mission of making the world know the truth about Israel.

And this mission was handed to Netanyahu by none other than the late Lubavitcher Rebbe.

It was a lengthy tale, and Netanyahu was at his best: entertaining the audience with anecdotes, giving a personal touch and throwing in the unavoidable references to his military past. The tale begins with a friend of Netanyahu (from his army years) knocking on his door in New York when Netanyahu was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, and it ends with the Lubavitcher rabbi dancing with a Torah scroll under a glowing circle of light.

The message the rabbi had for Netanyahu was that he is entering a “house of lies,” and that his mission would be to “light a candle of truth for the Jewish people.”

The lies being spread about Israel, according to Netanyahu, are three: Holocaust denial, accusations that Israel is the aggressor in the region, and claims that Jews are foreign colonialists in the Land of Israel.

This is where the Israeli P.M. turned to Jewish America for help: “When you light the candles in Yom Kippur,” Bibi told the all-Jewish audience, “light one other candle: the candle of truth and justice for the Jewish people and the Jewish state.”

And with that, Netanyahu ended his address.

In his 25 minute speech, the Israeli leader did not mention Iran by name, did not discuss the status of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and only briefly mentioned that “settlements are not the cause” of the conflict.

But the choice of a more personal address seemed to have worked well with the crowd, who gave Netanyahu an extended standing ovation. The introductions before his speech were even warmer, with Alan Solow, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, saying that he sleeps better at night knowing the Netanyahu is at the helm in Israel and with Elie Wiesel giving an intimate account of his past meetings with the Netanyahu family and assuring the listeners that “what motivates him [Netanyahu] is not political gain” but the future of the people of Israel.

It was Netanyahu’s last stop on his New York visit, which began with a trilateral meeting with Mahmud Abbas and Barack Obama, and ended with a speech before the U.N. General Assembly. Before leaving for his flight back to Israel (planned so he makes it home before Shabbat begins), Netanyahu got a gift to take back to Israel: a shofar, the biggest one organizers could find, according to Malcolm Hoenlein, who presented Netanyahu with the gift. Hoenlein even blew the shofar to make sure it works. It did.

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Lubavitcher Rebbe, Elie Wiesel, Benjamin Netanyau, Malcolm Hoenlein

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Candie Suarez Fri. Sep 25, 2009

I am so embarrassed to have a president like obama who has no spine or any knowledge of the horrors that the Israeli people face and have faced over the past 70 hears specifically. How dare obama order Israel to concede more than they already have and then "call" on the palestinians to live peacefully as if it is a request, but he makes demands on Israel. NO SIR. There were many social liberals American Jews that voted for obama, an clear enemy os the Holy Land, and they need to first ask God for forgiveness that due to the hate they felt in thier hearts for Bush, they would elect an enemy of peace and freedom such as this inexperiences cowardice of a president. God Help our country and may God continue to bless Israel, Land of Abraham which fights for its survival inspite of the so-called president of the United States.

avrom aaron levy Fri. Sep 25, 2009

I am so very pleased and profoundly happy that we have Prime Minister Netanyahu at Isreal's Helm. I too sleep better knowing that israel is in the hands of Mr.Netanyahu. L'shanah Tovah to him and his family.

Elise Karras Fri. Sep 25, 2009

Bibi's speech at the UN was a wake up call to all of us Jews to get involved in a loud, confident and committed voice in order to dispel the toxic ideas and assumptions about us being spit out by various sources. We need to understand the issues surrounding middle east politics and be prepared to counter all the nasty rhetoric, particularly on college campuses. I'm so proud of Bibi and honored to be part of his people.

Abarafi Fri. Sep 25, 2009

The persistent lying by the Palestinian leaders, the Holocaust deniers, and leftist self-hating Jews has created a perception that must be debunked. In their (fantasy) world, Zionist racists invaded a country called Palestine in 1948. Before they arrived, the country was a peaceful country peopled by Palestinians of Arab descent. These Zionists displaced them from everywhere they lived and replaced them with foreign, racist Jews who coveted their land. Since then, these evil Zionists have made war on neighboring, peaceful, countries, such as Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. And, they have taken over the land that had belonged to Egypt (Gaza) and Jordan (West Bank) and enslaved the people who lived there. In essence, these Jews have stolen the land, enslaved the former inhabitants, and want to usurp the territory they stole from Egypt and Jordan. You know it's all lies; I know it's all lies; but when a lie is repeated often enough and loudly enough it becomes "truth."

NORMAN ROBERTS Fri. Sep 25, 2009


Weltanschaung Tue. Sep 29, 2009

H A E R T - B R E A K I N G !

len and barb goodman Tue. Sep 29, 2009

Elie Wiesel is wrong- as a politician, Netanyahu is the worst possible combination: an opportunist AND an ideologue.

Remember: Wiesel is such a good judge of character that he entrusted ALL of his money to Bernie Madoff! (and the first lesson we all learn in Investing, of course, is: diversify!)

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