For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Sprightly Ahmadinejad tours nuclear facilities, having stolen an election he marches on, as his police batter protesters. And everywhere he goes, he smiles his trademark loopy smile. The smile of a psychopath or a saint.
Why is Ahmadinejad smiling? The answer is not a terribly complicated one. With every step he takes and every day that he remains in power, he discredits the most deeply held ideas of Western liberals about the power of diplomacy to resolve conflicts and internal civil disobedience to achieve peaceful regime change. Despite years of diplomatic and hundreds of thousands of protesters taking to the streets-- Ahmadinejad's grip on power remains as secure as ever.
Walking over the bodies of student protesters, of political dissidents, of the thousands killed by the wars he has touched off, he continues to taunt the rest of the world to do anything about it. And the rest of the world has done nothing except talk. And as Ahmadinejad has demonstrated, talk counts for nothing at all.
While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be detached from ordinary reality, living in an Islamic version of Charles Manson's fantasies about touching off a spectacular war in order to bring on a new age, he understands his enemies well enough to call them out on their weakness. Like every other Islamic terrorist and warlord, Ahmadinejad sees diplomacy as weakness behind a mask of civility. And like just about every strongman in the world, he laughs at it.
Ahmadinejad may be a monster, but there are no shortage of monsters in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein was just as bad, yet much of the American and European left proved eager to shut their eyes to the rape rooms, to Uday's horrors of mangled limbs and broken fingers, to the ethnic cleansing and gassing-- while demanding that we respect Saddam's sovereignty. Today those very same people pat themselves on the back, as if defending the right of a tyrant to keep killing his own people were some great act of moral courage.
But even Saddam and Ahmadinejad are not particularly unique, because monsters proliferate in the Middle East like mushrooms after a rainstorm, growing off the oil money that their enemies send them, which they exchange for weapons and payments to their own loyalists to secure their base of power. Every petrodollar sent to the Middle East means death of a certain kind, whether it's the death of a passerby by a suicide bomb in Basra funded by Iranian or Saudi money, the death of an imported Indian contract worker in Dubai or the murder of an African Sudanese in Sudan. Either way oil money is death money, and the world knows it, and yet does nothing. No wonder Ahmadinejad keeps on smiling.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"