Rome embraces Jerusalem (JERUSALEM POST OP-ED) By URI DAN 11/20/03)
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´If something were to happen to Israel, this would affect the lives
of Jews throughout the world," I heard Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
say this week in Rome to leaders of Italian Jewry.
Sharon made two points:
"As far as the security of Israel and its citizens is concerned, I
won´t agree to any compromise, even though I´m prepared to make
painful concessions in order to achieve a political solution."
He then said to the Jews who filled the hall:
"You must emigrate to Israel. I regard as first priority the aliya of
another million Jews."
Sharon encountered a warm Italian response, not only among Jews but
also from his friend Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
"Italy is Israel´s greatest friend in the European Union," remarked
The forthcoming visit to Jerusalem by Deputy Prime Minister
Gianfranco Fini will further emphasize this. Fini supports the
construction of the security fence and the war against Palestinian
But there are dark clouds on the horizon. In the very same European
countries where Jews were loaded off to the death camps, a wave of
anti-Semitism has appeared, the like of which has not been seen since
A fifth of Italians questioned in a poll declared that Israel should
disappear. This poll was initiated by the European Union, and its
results were deliberately leaked. Still, the poll indicates that
Europeans regard Israel as "the most dangerous country."
Those who comfort themselves by saying that this Jew-hatred is caused
by Sharon´s policies are merely deluding themselves and deceiving the
public. It is akin to embracing Josef Goebbels´s claim that anti-
Semitism resulted from Jewish domination of the world economy or,
alternatively, of world communism.
Jews in Israel or abroad who embrace the view that the current wave
of European anti-Semitism is caused by Israel´s failure to make
concessions to Palestinian terror are off target.
The current tragedy results exclusively from the fact that the
Palestinian leadership headed by Yasser Arafat believes that a
terrorist war and political subterfuge will enable the PLO to achieve
the destruction of the Jewish state.
The Palestinians are not seeking a real peace through President
George W. Bush´s vision, or Prime Minister Sharon´s readiness to make
The Arafat offensive is supported by a wave of global Muslim terror
which is striving to destroy democracy everywhere, from New York to
Casablanca to Istanbul.
Muslim extremists, who invented suicide bombing, now engage in
fomenting global anti-Semitism. They enjoy immunity in Europe and use
their presence to fuel anti-Semitic bonfires in Paris and Berlin,
Rome and the Hague.
An anti-Semitic pincer movement that includes anti-Jewish Christians
and fanatical Muslims presents the greatest threat to the Jewish
people since the establishment of Israel in 1948.
This threat puts to the test a no-longer-hypothetical question: Is
Israel capable of guaranteeing its own security, as well as that of
those Jewish communities in who wish to lead normal lives in the
Protecting Jewish security is Ariel Sharon´s real test. He has always
declared, as he did this week in Rome: "I am first and foremost a
Jew, and I bear the responsibility of the prime minister of the
Sharon always held this view. When he was commander of the paratroops
in 1955 he used to address a rhetorical question to me regarding some
event or another: "Is this good or bad for the Jews?"
It is obvious that it is good for the Jews if a country such as Italy
stands alongside Sharon and Israel in the struggle against Muslim-
Palestinian terror and attempts to halt the wave of European anti-
When one recalls how the legions of Rome destroyed the Temple in
Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, this alliance between Rome and Jerusalem
acquires special significance. Rome has learned a lesson from its
long history, including the disgraceful Fascist era.
But now Rome is on the side of the Jews, together with Bush, Russia´s
Vladimir Putin, and Britain´s Tony Blair. Ariel Sharon has succeeded
in establishing exceptional human and strategic understanding with
each of them.
If Sharon did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent him.
The writer is the Mideast correspondent of The New York Post.
(© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post 11/20/03)
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