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    The heroism of hope

    Israeli-FlagThere was a time when Europe was civilised and America high-minded.

    Then both went morally down-market to the extent that people with good memories asked, “Whatever happened to the Europe and America I remember?”

    I have an answer but I fear to articulate it. Instead I make the bold if biased claim that Israel is now the moral leader of mankind.

    I know the United Nations and many other places have no time for Israel and whatever it does is by definition wrong, but I still think I am right.

    What warrants my claim that Israel is, as the prophets knew it would be, “a light unto the nations”?

    The fact that Israel is the headquarters of heroism. I’m not thinking of the start-up talents which make science and technology the characteristic exports of Israeli brain-power, but the fact that – in Rav Soloveitchik’s terms – Israel is the place where a whole nation shows g’vurah, moral courage and ethical strength, as opposed to the brawn-power of mere ko’ach.

    Israel has its ko’ach heroes: thank God they keep us strong and safe. But its g’vurah heroism is discussed by Rav Steinsaltz in one of his essays.

    In his view heroism is the art of keeping going come what may. The hero’s trees are uprooted yet he replants them. He looks to tomorrow even when today is under threat. He does not retreat into a shell when things turn dark but he keeps doing the things he must.

    Israel is the heroism of hope.

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