The magazine that came from the Consulate of Israel at Mumbai, was initially called News from Israel. Later, it came to be called Israel Today.
In 1991, it was still News from Israel.
Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, had brazenly announced his intention to launch Scud missiles towards Israel, right into its cities. His threats were not just of destruction, but of extermination — warheads with lethal gases designed to wipe out entire populations.
Hussein did fire 29 Scud missiles with Tel Aviv as the target. He could not attach chemical weapons to the warheads — not because of any humane consideration but because their chemical weapons programme had not reached that level of expertise.
Even as the Scud missiles hit Tel Aviv, on the cover of News from Israel was a picture that would remain etched in my mind forever.
A mother cradling her newborn child in her arms, her face carrying the happiness of a new mother, but also defiance against a cruel world as well as trust in the goodness of humanity.
Seen also is a gas mask — a stark symbol of the ever-present threat the new mum and others lived under.
The image is a chilling reminder that for the Jewish people, the spectre of gas chambers still looms large.
The doors to these horrifying relics of the past have not been firmly shut; they remain ominously ajar, an enduring testament to the relentless animosity faced by the Jews.
This is their reality — a constant struggle for survival against an enemy that seeks their annihilation.
At the time of the Nazi regime, the Palestinian Islamist leader Mohammed Amin al-Husseini collaborated with Adolf Hitler, recruiting Bosnian Muslims for the "Waffen SS" — the military branch of the Schutzstaffel (SS) in Nazi Germany — and inciting riots against Jews.
In 1972, the terrorist group Black September, originally an elite striking force of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, massacred Israeli athletes at the Summer Olympics in Munich.
Later that decade, the Iranian revolution of 1979 brought to power Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He declared Israel an "enemy of Islam" and pursued a nuclear weapons programme that threatened Israel.
In 2002, American journalist Daniel Pearl was executed brutally in Pakistan. The video-taped execution showed him saying, "My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish."
Cut to today, the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah continue to wage war on Israel, firing rockets indiscriminately at civilian areas and using their own people as human shields.
This dark devolution continues.
Hamas' massacre of unarmed, innocent people at a music festival is a despicable act of cowardice and a new low in the criminal history of human depravity. Celebrating this horror as an act of holy war insults the religion of those who celebrate.
After the establishment of Israel, Islamist politics could not stand the simple idea that Jews could live and prosper as a society.
Jews did not ask for anything more than their ancestral homeland. They did not establish a strict theocratic state. They established a liberal democracy. They have been seeking cooperation with fellow Arab states and want a common future of human greatness.
Unlike the teachings propagated by Hamas, which has imbued their children’s textbooks with deep-seated anti-Semitism, the Jewish state has never advocated for hatred against non-Jews.
The inevitable violent retaliations are just that — retaliations. Israel does not want it. Violence is imposed on it.
Israel, in its enduring spirit, has ceaselessly endeavoured to transform the animosity it faces. It has unfailingly offered gestures of peace, akin to extending an olive branch, even to those nations that have harboured and propagated deep-seated disdain for them.
It has generously shared its life-preserving technologies with those who have borne ill will towards it. Yet, the reciprocation it receives is often steeped in hostility. The moment it appears vulnerable, the dormant animosity reawakens.
The resolution of this issue extends beyond the borders of Israel; it calls for a collective effort from humanity.
Unless we confront and address this ingrained theological prejudice against the Jewish people and the institutionalised anti-Semitism, the problem will persist.
The path to peace is a shared journey, one that requires understanding, acceptance, and a commitment to change from all of humanity.
Every instance where the Palestinian question is perceived merely as a territorial disagreement, and a settlement is reached through the once-revered, but now largely discredited ‘land for peace’ approach, the resulting tranquillity is ephemeral.
This fleeting peace merely serves as a period of incubation, a time of preparation for an even more gruesome and inhumane wave of violence against Israel.
The battle against Hamas is but one facet of a much larger struggle. The true war is not merely against a group of individuals, but against an insidious ideology that has infected the hearts and minds of many, including religious heads and heads of states.
Anti-Semitism, naked and camouflaged, is not just an affront to the Jewish community; it is a scourge that threatens to undermine the very heart of our collective humanity.
We — not just Israel, but all of civilised humanity — must confront this hatred head-on, challenge its narratives, and expose its falsehoods. Only then can we hope to eradicate it once and for all.
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