Absurdity, Ignorance, and Lies

The Fellowship  |  July 10, 2017

A picture taken on July 7, 2017 shows religious Jews and tourists walking towards the Cave of the Patriarchs, also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque, which is a holy shrine for Jews and Muslims, from the Israeli side in the heart of the divided city of Hebron in the southern West Bank. On July 7, 2017 UNESCO declared in a secret ballot the Old City of Hebron in the occupied West Bank a protected heritage site. Hebron is home to more than 200,000 Palestinians, and a few hundred Israeli settlers who live in a heavily fortified enclave near the site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs. / AFP PHOTO / HAZEM BADER (Photo credit should read HAZEM BADER/AFP/Getty Images)

UNESCO’s latest resolution to name the Cave of the Patriarchs a Palestinian site surely is ridiculous. But, writes Israel Hayom’s Nadav Shragai, this anti-Israel ridiculousness only serves to strengthen the Jewish people’s resolve and their ties to the Holy Land:

With each new deluded resolution, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization makes itself look more and more ridiculous, and less and less relevant. Where will the ignorance, lies, and absurdity lead? Will UNESCO decide at some point that the Jews are descended from Islam? Perhaps they will adopt the Islamist definition of Jews as nothing but “monkeys and pigs”? Who knows? It may ultimately conclude what Muslim incitement says is the heart of the matter: that Jews’ very existence “desecrates” the Muslim-ness of Palestine.

But every cloud has a silver lining. There is one advantage to the blatant ridiculousness of UNESCO’s series of resolutions about Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb, and now the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron: they hold a mirror up to our faces. They force us to return to our roots, to study them, to delve into them, and understand that we are not temporary guests in this country. We aren’t here just because we were born here or made aliyah. The resolutions compel us to the vital acknowledgement that the Land of Israel is not just a haven, it’s a destiny, whose holy sites and historical spots are the cradle of our people’s birth, which still tie in to our present and our future here…

Maybe, thanks to UNESCO, school field trips to the Cave of the Patriarchs will be reinstated. Maybe because of this resolution, the government will finally agree to expand the most frozen Jewish community in Judea and Samaria and improve the very unwelcoming conditions that greet visitors to the Cave of the Patriarchs. Maybe now some of us will stop calling the story of Abraham’s purchase of the cave and the field around it from Ephron the Hittite “religification.”

Maybe now, some people will stop feeling embarrassed when Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely justifiably quotes a 1,500-year-old midrash taught by the 11th-century sage Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki (Rashi): “There are three places about which the nations of the world cannot taunt the Jews and say, ‘You stole them. They are the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Temple Mount, and Joseph’s Tomb, all of which were bought and paid for.”