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Rabbi’s Blog: Unwrapping UNWRA

01/31/2024 11:38:31 AM


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Dear OZ family,


Yesterday, Congress heard 3 hours of testimony regarding the United Nations and the situation in Gaza. The main focus was the UN relief program known as UNWRA, that has locked 4 generations of refugees, in the status their elders had 75 years ago. No other nation on Earth passes a refugee status unto the children of refugees. The ones who lived in Gaza, and in Yehuda and Shomron between 1948 and 1967, led lives of absolute misery. Most residents had no running water or electricity, no universities, and literacy rates and life expectancy were dismal. These unfortunate Arabs were and continue to be used as pawns by their leaders to fulfill their dreams of living from the river to the sea. When Israel took control of these areas in 1967, their lot dramatically improved. Israel ran electricity and plumbing for them. Universities opened up and life expectancy and literacy rates significantly improved.


One tiny Jewish State absorbed hundreds of thousands of Jews banished from their homes in Arab lands all over the Middle East, and North Africa, places where they had lived for centuries before Islam. This was done in the wake of the creation of the State of Israel. Six Arab armies attempted to drive the Jews into the sea, and failed, and this created the refugees whose descendants are still refugees. The War of Independence, fought because the Arab world refused to recognize the UN’s partition plan, which left Israel with only 12% of the original homeland envisioned for her in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, took the lives of 1% of the population in 3 months. That’s comparable to America losing 3.5 million soldiers in a short campaign. Yet Israel picked itself up and created the miracle that it is today, even though, not a day has gone by where her enemies that surround her, have not plotted her destruction.


The testimony before Congress yesterday can make the blood boil. The UN claims that they are shocked to hear that some of their workers actually took part in the atrocities of Oct. 7th. This rings hollow. Speaker after speaker in Congress yesterday testified that they have been informing the UN leadership for years, about the vitriolic hate that emanates from every corner of UNWRA activity. David Bedein spoke a few years ago at OZ about this topic and he brought a box filled with the textbooks that UNWRA had been using for years in their schools. Hillel Neuer testified yesterday again and again about the warnings for years that have been ignored, about how the youth of Gaza are raised, from their earliest years with the hopes of martyrdom. The dozens and dozens of UN proclamations against Israel, in the backdrop of silence regarding Chamas, Iran, the Houthis, etc. is reminiscent of the 1975 UN equation of Zionism with racism. The UN Secretary General at the time was Kurt Waldheim. It was later discovered that he had worn Nazi uniforms during World War II, and after this disclosure he lived in infamy, but he fit in very well with the UN.


We have to hope that these are first steps towards turning the corner on Oct. 7th. Other speakers yesterday related how Egyptian, Moroccan and Tunisian textbooks have been revamped to remove anti-Semitic material. Let us soon see the rebuilding process begin.


Stay well and healthy.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz   



Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025-6604

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200 | Fax 212.663-3635



Mon, March 4 2024 24 Adar I 5784