Fear Not

My daughter told us that this time she would allow her children - our grandchildren - to watch the opening ceremony of Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Memorial Day. I wasn't sure this was a good idea but, with my status, I don't interfere any more in the family's pedagogy: Parents are there to raise children; grandma and grandpa are there to coddle.

One could have known in advance that terrifying speeches would be delivered - and why scare tender souls prematurely? In advance, it was clear that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres would compete with each other as to who could frighten us more, and after the ceremony the children would have difficulty falling asleep. Not only them. Every sensible person understands that if the ayatollahs cradle the bomb to their breast, and if that disturbed type has his hand on the button, then we will be in big trouble. Our leaders, however, are threatening us with another Holocaust, as though the ghetto were here: Iran is Nazi Germany, United States President Barack Obama is a namby-pamby appeasing Neville Chamberlain and the world, as always, is flaccid.

Quite possibly someone in Tehran wants to be Hitler but he can't really do that. Not every dog that wags its tongue also shakes the world. Today's world is not a world that is all good but it's also no dummy. And the 20th century tamed its watchdogs and its bloodhounds to sniff out committers of genocide, track them down and turn their plots into dung upon the face of the field (II Kings 9:37).

It is still necessary to hope they will not have the bomb, and the open and secret efforts will disarm it before it is assembled. That will be a great comfort - we will breathe a sigh of relief - even though Peres and Netanyahu will have to find other topics to fulminate about , no less important and less conveniently condemned.

But what will happen if the efforts fail? What will happen if diplomacy can't do the job? And what will happen if no alternative remains and Israel attacks the nuclear weapons installations in Iran, but the attack does not achieve its aim and only unites the people there and reinforces its determination to go nuclear? What then?

If I understood the Memorial Day speeches correctly, then each and every one of us has the obligation to pack a few things in a bundle immediately and flee the village burning the way it burned up my grandmother and grandfather in Poland. The obligation is incumbent upon us to flee from here, together with our children and our children's children, including our grandchildren who listened to Netanyahu and Peres, in the hope they did not understand a single word.

To the best of my knowledge, we aren't planning to do this. We are here, and we are determined to stay here. And it is not at all clear who is evincing the more shocking irresponsibility: our leaders, who are determined to sow mortal panic in our hearts, or we, who are refusing to be scared to death, despite everything.

Be that as it may, in advance of the next Memorial Day, the speakers on the mount would do well to gather their lost wits about them and concentrate in their speeches on life that goes on in any case.

And until they come to their senses, fear not: There is life after speeches.