In August, New York City Mayor Eric Adams gave a surprisingly prescient speech in Jerusalem. Israelis were in the midst of their fight over judicial reform, and they were practically begging American politicians to intervene and save them from themselves. Adams responded with a very Jewish speech that said, essentially: You think what you’re going through is tough? Talk to your grandparents who built this country at a time when survival was far from guaranteed, who made the desert bloom so they could feed themselves, all so their grandchildren could argue about the finer points of judicial review.

“God didn’t bring you this far to leave you,” Adams said. “But you’ve got to believe. Go speak with your grandparents or your parents and let them tell you the challenges they had.”

Then he said: “Israel is a unicorn because of them. Don’t abandon what they built.”

Asaf Ben-Haim and his husband considered abandoning it. Ben-Haim’s Hungarian grandmother fled the Nazis and his grandfather was chased out of Baghdad. But judicial reform made him think about relocating permanently to San Francisco. “He might be miserable living away from Israel, Ben-Haim thought, but at least he’d be free,” the Washington Post recounted. “He was among the first army reservists to declare a boycott on training until the government backed down.”

And then came Oct. 7.  Ben-Haim “was back in uniform within weeks.”

The Post documents a common trend of Israeli liberals thinking they’d had it with their country only to see the national bond grow stronger in the wake of the attacks. A few weeks ago, the Post published a story on another sector of society that has experienced a rush of patriotism since the Hamas attacks: the Haredim. Since Oct. 7, 2,000 Haredim have applied to join the IDF despite being exempt from service so they can study Torah full time.

Nechumi Yaffe, a teacher at Tel Aviv University, “polled Haredim on their attitudes about the military in March 2022 and again after Oct. 7. In 2022, 35 percent strongly agreed that they should contribute to Israel’s defense. After the attacks, that rose to 49 percent.”

Some are joining despite strong opposition from their religious families, who believe Torah study is paramount to the divine protection of the state and that they’re serving their country in the appropriate manner without compromising on their ideals. One ultra-Orthodox man told the Post his son has already been rejected from two yeshivas since he signed up.

Why, besides for the rally-round-the-flag effect of the attacks and their response, has Hamas’s slaughter made those in the line of fire more eager to stay put? The answer is one the Jewish community already knows too well but the rest of the world struggles to understand.

Ben-Haim told the Post that when he saw a Black Lives Matter account praise the Hamas attacks, he thought of the BLM shirt that hangs in his closet and the marches he wore it to.

Another Israeli liberal the Post spoke to, Shai Rapoport, learned that his fellow Londoners might have joined him in protesting the Israeli government’s judicial reform for reasons that differed quite a bit from Rapoport’s. “After Oct. 7, he said, he felt a chill from his liberal and Muslim friends. Then outright hostility. Now he’s moving back to Israel, wars and all.”

Still in London at the time of the interview, he told the Post: “I felt that people who were once my friends have become my aggressors. Here, I feel terribly alone.”

After Oct. 7, nobody fooled themselves into thinking that they were safer in the long run outside of Israel. Safer or even welcome, that is. Notice that Rapoport didn’t “feel a chill from his liberal and Muslim friends” after, say, Oct. 27, when Israel launched its ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. He felt that chill “after Oct. 7.” As soon as Jews in one place were victimized, Jews everywhere became targets of suspicion, or worse. Same thing happened in America, where pro-Hamas protests began immediately after the massacre of innocent Israelis in their homes. The BLM tweet that Ben-Haim saw was posted on Oct. 10.

Everywhere in the world, consciously or subconsciously, the Jews are considered guests. Everywhere except for one country. The unspeakable horrors of Oct. 7 didn’t convince Jews they were unsafe in Israel; they reminded Jews of Israel’s necessity.

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