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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An appeal of faith to President George W. Bush

An appeal of faith to President George W. Bush
michael freund, THE JERUSALEM POST Oct. 31, 2006

Dear Mr. President, I am writing to you because I am afraid. I have been
closely following the rhetoric of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over
the past few months, and I want you to know that I am gripped with a sense
of fear.

I fear for the future of Israel and for that of the entire Jewish people, as
the would-be Hitler of Persia readies to do battle against us with the most
horrific of weapons.

I fear for the future of the West, because outside of Washington, few and
far between are the leaders with the common sense and courage to stand up to
the Tyrant of Teheran.

And I fear for the future of the world, because if Iran's fundamentalists
get their hands on a nuclear weapon, it will only be a matter of time before
their extremist allies abroad become similarly armed.

Hence, I am writing to you because I am convinced that you alone understand
and appreciate the gravity of the current situation, and I pray in my heart
that you will not let it stand.

I appeal to you now, not as a political analyst nor as a newspaper
columnist, but as one man of faith to another: Please strike Iran hard with
military force, and dismantle its nuclear weapons program, before it is too
late.

I know you believe, as I do, that God guides the destiny of men and of
nations. And I know you believe, just as I do, that He raised you up to the
helm of power precisely at this critical period, to serve as His agent and
His instrument in this world.

The God of history has chosen you, Mr. President, just as He did Churchill,
and He has entrusted you with a sacred mandate: to save the world from the
designs of a madman.

I can tell you that in Israel, a sense of dread has slowly, but surely,
begun to sink in. As the Sunday Times of London reported earlier this week,
a growing number of my fellow Jews have begun to build underground nuclear
shelters adjacent to their homes.

"The shelters," says the Times, "are built to withstand radioactive fallout,
have fortified walls and doors and generate their own electricity and
decontaminated air." Hundreds of such bunkers, reports the paper, have been
built in recent months, and
"demand is soaring."

Mr. President, just the other night, I went out with my family for dinner to
a restaurant in Herzliya, the city named after Zionist visionary Theodor
Herzl, who foresaw the need to establish a safe haven for the Jewish people.
Our waitress was an attractive and cheerful young lady who moved to Israel
16 years ago at the age of four from her native Lithuania, where her family
had suffered anti-Semitism and persecution.

But when we asked her if she was happy living here in the Jewish state, the
smile on her lips quickly faded. Glumly, she answered us with the following
words: "That Ahmadinejad of Iran, he scares me. It is a very scary
situation." And indeed it is, Mr. President, because my people are in danger
once again. It was just six decades ago that the Europeans tossed us into
Hitler's ovens and turned 6 million Jews into ashes. Now, with no shame,
they stand by silently as Iran seeks to do the same.
The United Nations is a lost cause, and we have no faith in Russia, China or
international institutions. The sad fact is that most of the world will not
shed a tear if Mr. Ahmadinejad succeeds in achieving his dreadful aims.

Here in Israel, our own leadership is tired and weak. They have lost their
way, and they are no longer anchored in faith. As we saw this past summer in
the Lebanon war, they stumble about as though walking in darkness, oblivious
to the danger that stalks us all.

There is only one person now, Mr. President, who can stop this terrifying
scenario from coming to pass, and I believe that person is you.

I think of you often, and when I do, I am guided in faith to the fourth
chapter of the Book of Esther in the Bible, where the evil Persian court
officer Haman threatened the Jewish people with extinction. After Mordechai
the Jew got wind of Haman's plot, he passed along a message of great urgency
to Queen Esther: "Who knows, perhaps it was precisely for a moment such as
this that you have attained power?" Mr. President, that message was as
compelling then as it is today, and I believe it is clearly directed to you
too.

The decision you face is not an easy one, and I do not mean to suggest
otherwise. But there are moments when a leader, like Joshua of old, must "be
strong and of good courage" (Joshua Chapter 1), and not shy away from doing
what must be done.
In the case of Iran, there can be no room for retreat or for shrinking back
from the task at hand. The stakes are simply too great.

Iran can and must be stopped, and the only way to do so is through the use
of military force.

Diplomacy and resolutions are a smoke screen, and you know as well as I do
that they will not slow Iran's steady drive toward obtaining a nuclear
arsenal. Only the long and powerful arm of the United States, flexed with
all its might, can and will be able to do the job.

Sure, the critics and the nay-sayers will try to tear you down, just as they
have been doing since you the day you were elected. They will heap scorn on
you, call you a warmonger and worse, and denigrate you and your family for
many, many years to come.

But please don't allow them to deter you or to drive you to despair. Don't
let them drown out that still, small voice within, the one that reaches into
each of our hearts and calls out every day: "I am the Lord, and there is
none else" (Isaiah Chapter 45).
Mr. President, you know as well as I do that history's final verdict is not
written by academics, nor is it determined by the opinion-mongers at The New
York Times.

The one and only verdict, the one that really, truly counts, is the one that
is penned in heaven, by He Who gave each of us life. It is to Him, and Him
alone, that we will all have to answer.

In just over two years you will leave office. In the greater scheme of
things, I am convinced that your legacy will depend largely on the decisions
that you make in the coming few months about what to do with Iran.

I urge you, I plead with you: don't walk out of the White House in January
2009 without having stopped Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Don't leave the fate of
Israel and the Jewish people hanging in the balance.

Remember the promise that God made to Abraham in Genesis Chapter 12: "I will
bless those that bless you, and those that curse you I shall curse".

Note that when it comes to standing by Israel and the Jewish people, there
is no middle ground. God delineates two categories, and two categories only:
those who bless Israel, and those who curse it.

You are in a unique position to bless Israel, and through it, all of
humanity, by removing the nuclear sword from the hand of the Persian
executioner.

The same God Who spoke, and said, "Let there be light", and there was light,
surely expects you to do nothing less.
I will be praying for you, as will many others, and I hope that you take
this message to heart.

Be strong, be strong, Mr. President, and through you, may we all be
strengthened.

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