|"AND YEHUDA APPROACHED HIM"
by Zev Wallack, 30/12/2003
|The first Jewish diplomat who was forced to stand up before a strong ruler in order to defend his brothers was without a doubt Yehuda, as noted in the verse quoted above, Bereishit 44:18. From this time on, many different people have arisen to defend Bnei Yisrael, and with their rhetorical skills they have often succeeded in representing the nation faithfully.
One such personality was Dr. Chaim Herzog (later to become the sixth President of Israel), while he was the United States
ambassador for Israel. In his time, a draft resolution was presented to the General Assembly adding Zionism to the list of racist movements, in an attempt to cause Israel to be rejected from among the accepted nations.
Thus, the "national spokesman" was presented with a vital mission. He had already proven his skills within Israel with his calm radio broadcasts during the Six Day War. Now he had to stand up before the General Assembly of the United Nations, where all the nations of the world were represented, to withstand this new hateful accusation of Israel. While it was known in advance that the evil resolution would pass by a large majority, Herzog at least had an opportunity to tell the truth in a worldwide forum.
Here is the way Herzog tells his story. "I understand that a good speech was not sufficient. I needed something dramatic... I remembered that in 1939, my father, the Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael, stood at the entrance to the Yeshurun Synagogue in
Jerusalem before a crowd of thousands, people who came to protest the British White Paper ... He took a sheet of paper
symbolizing the White Paper and tore it to shreds... It was an unforgettable moment.
"The final vote on the resolution was set for November 10, 1975. A short time before my speech, someone active in the United Jewish Appeal told me that the Nazis had murdered his father on 'Kristallnacht', November 10, 1938. I told him, 'Thank you, sir. You have just given me the opening of my speech.'"
And Herzog continues, "the atmosphere in the General Assembly was tense and charged, the hall was completely full. The Jewish organizations had called for their members to come, and they filled the galleries. While I walked the long path to the podium, I mumbled a sentence from the Yom Kippur prayers: 'Our G-D and the G-D of our fathers, be with the mouths of the messengers of your nation, the House of Yisrael.' My heart beat loudly as I opened my speech. 'How fitting it is that this deliberation ... is taking place on the anniversary of Kristallnacht ... the shocking event that ushered in the most horrible Holocaust that mankind has ever known ... It is indeed ironic that the United Nations, which was founded as an anti-Nazi covenant, should become a world center of anti-Semitism ...
"Zionism is the name of the national movement of the Jewish People ... In the same way that the nations of Africa and Asia view their freedom movements ... Zionism is based on an eternal bond, stretching for the last 4,000 years, between the nation of the
Book and the land of the scriptures ... We place our trust in Divine guidance ... In our traditions ... This draft resolution has no ethical or legal value !!!
I took the resolution in my hand and I tore it to shreds ... I returned to my seat accompanied by a resounding unending burst of applause."
(Source: Chaim Herzog, "Derech Chaim")
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