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DR. MIRIAM ADELSON: Antisemitism and vicious attacks won’t stop Israelis

Updated March 1, 2024 - 12:20 pm

Note: The following is a version of a speech given by Dr. Miriam Adelson recently to chamber of commerce members in Texas, after she and her family bought controlling interest in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks last year. The Adelson family also owns the Review-Journal and reviewjournal.com.

Shalom friends and colleagues.

Or maybe, being in Texas, I should say: “Howdy partners.”

For partners we truly are: Christians and Jews, conservatives and liberals, coming together to advance the special relationship between the State of Texas and the State of Israel.

This relationship may seem surprising, to some.

Israel is a long way from Texas: 7,000 miles, in a different hemisphere.

Texas is huge. It could fit 30 Israels inside it — and still have room for another.

And while you Texans and the rest of these great United States are blessed with peace, my Israel must fight each and every day to survive — and still manages to thrive.

A deep affinity

But look closer, and you will find that Israelis and Texans have a deep affinity.

It runs deeper than business — though commercial ties between Texas and Israel are truly booming.

And it even runs deeper than basketball — though my family are huge fans of the Dallas Mavericks!

It’s a matter of shared spirit:

Like the Lone Star State, Israel too is symbolized by a star: the Star of David, named after the most famous of Jewish kings in the Bible.

Like Texans, Israelis cherish their roots, their religion and their rights.

Like Texans, Israelis defend their sovereignty.

Like Texans, Israelis stick to their guns and stand up for their principles — and don’t give a damn if that means standing alone.

The nickname for a native-born Israeli like me is “sabra,” which is the Hebrew word for the cactus fruit. I gather that you Texans also know a thing or two about cactus plants!

And like the sabra, you too can be prickly on the outside — but always sweet within.

That’s because Texans have hearts as big as the Texas plains. You are a generous people. You were forged on the frontier, so you reach out to help others for whom the road is rough or the times are tough.

Israelis’ hearts are big, but broken

We Israelis are also big-hearted people. But our hearts are broken.

On Oct. 7, they were shattered by an enormous evil.

That sunny morning was Simchat Torah, the Jewish celebration of God’s scripture.

But what Israel got that morning was hell:

Thousands of Palestinian infiltrators, led by hundreds of heavily armed Hamas terrorists, smashed through the border from Gaza to carry out an orgy of killing and kidnapping.

We are still learning about the extent of the horror:

■ Of children murdered in front of their parents, and parents murdered in front of their children.

■ Of entire families burned alive in their homes as they prayed and cried out for help that would come too late.

■ Of innocent young people having a good time at an outdoor party until they were hunted down and butchered like animals.

■ Of a baby beheaded. And another baked to death in an oven.

■ And another, ripped from the womb of a slaughtered mother.

■ Of women raped — either while still alive, or in a final humility after they were already bloody corpses.

■ Many of the victims were incinerated to the point that their loved ones did not even know they were among the dead, until days or weeks later, Israeli forensic experts managed to identify a bit of bone.

The unbelievable, genocidal cruelty unleashed by Hamas on Israel that day was a kind of second Holocaust.

I visited one of the destroyed communities. I left with ash on my shoes from the remains of a family home — from the remains of a family.

I put those shoes aside, preserving them as a testament to what happened. And then I put on new shoes and went to work.

Because unlike during World War II, the Jews are not helpless now. We have a state and an army. And, since Oct. 7, Israelis have been waging a righteous war in Gaza to ensure Oct. 7 never recurs.

We will win, of course. We have no choice.

And, of course: God is on our side.

Rough road ahead

But this road is rough. These times are so tough — and look likely to get tougher still.

In addition to the 1,200 innocent men, women and children we lost to the Hamas massacre on Oct. 7, scores of brave Israeli soldiers have fallen in battle.

Our people are still hostages in Gaza, suffering God-knows-what at the hands of Hamas monsters.

Two hundred thousand Israelis had to flee rocket fire on their towns and villages. No one knows when they might go back.

But friends, Israelis can endure all of this.

We will honor our dead, tend to our wounded, and rebuild our beloved land.

What is in some ways harder to deal with has been our betrayal by some in the West — including right here in America.

They are on the fringes, but still: The sight of thousands of people in some U.S. cities marching against Israel has been terrible.

In per capita terms, what Israel suffered on Oct. 7 was like twenty 9/11s! And while the United States retaliated for 9/11 by going to war on the other side of the world, Israel’s war is right next door, with rockets continuing to fall on its citizens.

The majority of Americans understand this. The majority of Americans know that, in Israel’s position, they would do at least the same as it is doing — and maybe more.

But at this critical time for Israel — at this critical time for the contest between good and evil, between God and the Devil — this support must be loud and clear.

And nowhere has it been more so than right here in Texas, among decent folks such as yourselves.

From the top office of my dear friend Gov. Greg Abbott, and all the way down to ordinary churchgoers and campaigners, Texans have turned out for Israel.

Flags across the state flew at half-mast for Israeli victims of Hamas. Texan Jews have been made to feel embraced, with special funding provided to protect their synagogues and schools. And the city of Austin has made clear it will do no business with Gaza as long as it is under terrorist rule.

You, ladies and gentlemen, have also played your part, by investing in Israel.

You know that Israel’s rich past, the fact that it is the realization of God’s promise in the Bible, thousands of years ago, is matched only by its limitless potential.

And you know that, to paraphrase Genesis 12: Those who bless Israel will be blessed.

But here, and now, it is I who feels blessed. This daughter of Israel, this proud U.S. dual citizen, feels privileged to have been brought into the great state of Texas too.

This friend of Texas feels like she is among more than friends … It feels like family!

So thank you again. May we meet again, and in happier times, and may Israel and Texas only go from strength to strength.

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