A new king has been elected in the United States. Perhaps in modern days, we call them presidents or prime ministers, but despite the titles or how they govern, ultimately each person, king or whatever, has a choice. In the simplest of terms, there is an option to accept and build, or a choice to destroy and undo.
For the most part, US Presidents tend to choose the latter, seeking to undo, change or cancel. Certainly, Donald Trump made that choice. Obviously, given how close he came to being re-elected, many Americans accepted his path. Certainly, no one can call President-elect Biden’s victory a landslide.
As Biden begins planning out his transition strategy, I offer a message from the sovereign nation of Israel, the eternal Jewish national homeland. I write to you as an Israeli, as a Jew, as an American. First, I offer my congratulations to you, that and a prayer. I hope those who did not vote for you treat you better than you treated your predecessor. I hope you will be given respect, and more, I hope you earn and justify that respect.
Once a Prime Minister of Israel warned then Senator Joe Biden against using his power to threaten or damage the State of Israel. Then, it was about aid. Menachem Begin responded to Biden’s threat with these words, “Don’t threaten us with cutting off your aid. It will not work. I am not a Jew with trembling knees. I am a Jew with 3,700 years of civilized history….We will stand by our principles. We will defend them. And, when necessary, we will die for them again, with or without your aid.”
In our Torah, we believe there is great knowledge. Knowledge of the past, but of the future as well. So much of what we read and learn guides us. As I thought of Biden coming to office, I remembered a verse in Exodus (Shemot). “And a new king arose over the land of Egypt, who knew not Joseph.” We are the people of Joseph, Mr. Biden. The descendants of those who left the land of Egypt. Once before, you threatened us and our Prime Minister offered the only answer, the perfect answer. We are not Jews with trembling knees. We are a proud people who have fought for our land; our sons and daughters have died for it. We will stand by our principles, our way of life. And, when necessary, we will die for Israel, for our right to live here – with or without your aid.
In the coming weeks, you will much work to do. You will be tasked with putting together that has never been so divided. First, you must prove yourself as President of the entire US, not just the “blue” people. And to do this, you need more than words. I pray that you succeed and I encourage you to focus on that.
If you turn to the Middle East, first study what has been accomplished over the last four years. President Trump succeeded, where others failed. Many nations are lining up to make peace with us. If you change the balance of power, you may only succeed in un-doing this accomplishment. Personally, I believe the nations that have come forward the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and perhaps even Saudi Arabia, will lead other nations. Peace is at the door.
Israel is stronger than it was in the days of Menachem Begin, just as proud. By contrast, the US is weaker; its reputation tarnished by internal strife. Take your time. Watch how you proceed.
President Donald Trump is well respected in Israel. His unwavering support, his moving the Embassy (finally) to Jerusalem, and his determination to stand with us, has gained him unparalleled support here. It has also strengthened our resolve and our path.
Our knees no longer tremble; our sons and daughters strong. We pray for the USA and hope that in the coming years, we will work together with you to move the new Middle East to a final and just peace for all. We will watch in the coming weeks because we now that when a new king arises, if he doesn’t know us, doesn’t accept us, we have the option to wait for the next king.
When Joseph’s brothers returned to their father, Yaakov, they told him, “Joseph is still alive.” Joseph is still alive, Mr. Biden, his people alive and returned. Thriving in their homeland once again. Nothing, nothing you do in the next four years will change that. Our knees did not tremble when we faced Pharoah, nor will they tremble now before you.
Israel has stood the test of time, stood against all its enemies. We are an ancient people, and a modern one. We are eternal, Mr. Biden. And four years isn’t a very long time to wait, if we have to. We will stand by our principles. We will stand for our land and our people. Nothing, Mr. Biden, no one will deter us.