Rising Anti-Semitism: Time of the Hunters?
JERUSALEM, Israel -- The spike in attacks against Jewish people in Ukraine has some questioning whether this might be the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Recent incidents include beatings, stabbings, anti-Semitic graffiti and a Molotov cocktail attack on a synagogue.
The head of the European Jewish Association pleaded with Israeli leaders to send immediate help to Ukrainian Jews being targeted with "acts of violence and hatred" in Kiev.
Calling the situation in Ukraine "a Jewish emergency," EJA Director-General Rabbi Menachem Margolin urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon "to take any step possible, including sending security guards, to secure the safety of the Jewish communities in Ukraine until the danger has passed," YNet reported on Thursday.
The rabbi believes Israel, by virtue of its existence, is morally, ethically and legally obligated to protect Jews from anti-Semitic attacks -- even in another country.
But instead of asking for help "until the danger has passed," why isn't Rabbi Margolin asking the Israeli government to facilitate Ukrainian Jewish aliyah (immigration to Israel)?
Israeli MK Rina Frankel did just that in a letter to Netanyahu, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.
"Incitement is growing stronger," Frankel, who immigrated from the Ukraine in 1990, wrote. "Newspapers and digital media mention 'Jewish conspiracies' every morning, anti-Semitic caricatures appear, and in January, words turned into actions as a local rabbi was attacked and a man stabbed on the way to synagogue on Friday evening."
Frankel suggested the Ukrainian aliyah should be a joint undertaking by several ministries, the Jewish Agency and other interested parties in what some might view as fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God says the Jews He dispersed to the nations because of disobedience -- profaned His name simply by living outside the Land of Israel.
"When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name when they said of them, 'These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.'" (Ezek. 36:20)
The Bible speaks of the time of the fishers and the hunters who will go out to the nations and bring back the Jewish people to the Land. Through the prophet Jeremiah, He describes such a time.
Some believe the unprecedented rise of anti-Semitism less than 70 years after the Holocaust is evidence that the time of the "fishers" is drawing to a close and the time of the "hunters" is at hand.
"Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "that it shall no more be said, 'The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' but, 'The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them' for I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.
"Behold, I will send for many fishermen," says the Lord, "and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." (Jer. 16:14-16)
For some, it would seem the exponential rise of global anti-Semitism is reason enough for Jews to think seriously about immigrating to Israel.