Last week, Israel held its annual “Israel Prize” ceremony. It is a very emotional ceremony with prizes awarded to distinguished individuals in all fields. I must admit that I was not familiar with most of the winners but when I read about what these people have accomplished, achieved and in many cases overcome, it was tremendously motivating.
And then, every few years, comes the rotten apple… the guy who can’t keep his political views to himself. He thinks that the “Israel Prize” is his opportunity to spew forth his sick and radical views, even though nobody asked for his opinion. This year I am proud to say that we “broke the bank” with one of the worst of them all; Professor David Shulman.
Professionally, David Shulman is known as the leading world expert in the field of religion, literature and culture of southern India. He is fluent in many languages including Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu and Malayalam. (Note: Did you ever hear of those languages before??!!) He recently retired from being a professor in Hebrew University after 40 years in the Department of Indian and Armenian studies and the Israel Prize he won was for Religious Studies and Philosophy.
Sounds like a pretty smart guy, no??? Well, academically, the guy is a genius but when he opens his mouth to comment on the current political situation in Israel, he shows just how little he really knows. He is very active with the Ta’ayush organization which assists Arabs in the South Hebron Hills area. According to the Ta’ayush website, it is an organization whose goal is “to end the Israeli occupation and to achieve full civil equality between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The thing that I want to focus on in this article, is not about this organization nor the damage it causes. I want to focus on what Professor Shulman did the day after winning the Israel Prize. Here is a direct quote from Yeshiva World News; “Israel Prize Laureate Professor David Shulman announced that the 75,000 shekel award money he received with the Israel Prize would be donated to the Ta’ayush organization.”
In my opinion, this is simply incredible. Here is a retired professor, who was just handed a check for 75,000 shekel – around $20,000 – and instead of putting it into his retirement fund, he donated it to an organization that works night and day against Israel. I must admit that while I am not aware of the salary that professors make, I’m sure it is respectable, but far from making any of them wealthy. And here is a guy, who was handed a $20,000 check and what does he do with it? He hands the entire check – every penny of that money – to some evil, horrible organization who works nonstop at destroying the very country in which he lives!
What can we learn from Professor Shulman? Well, since I have no desire to speak Malayalam or Telegu nor do I plan on attending his lecture at the Ta’ayush national convention, I propose that there is one thing (and probably just this one thing) that we can learn from him; to put your money where your mouth is!
So many of us have opinions on what needs to be done in Israel; more Jews in Hebron, better security in Jerusalem, less children going to bed hungry, new settlements etc… but are we prepared to make the same contribution to these positive causes as Shulman did to his negative one? Lots of noise was made about whether or not he should have received the prize in the first place but that is behind us… and he received the prize… and the check. The thing that amazes me is what he did afterwards and I say – loud and clear – that we must learn from him and not just complain about the guy.
It is sad to think this way but I consider Professor David Shulman an enemy. I certainly do not feel that way about the overwhelming majority of leftists who are either misguided (“they do not know nor do they understand, in darkness they walk” Tehillim 82) or are total boors (“a boor cannot know, nor can a fool understand” Tehillim 92). Those verses in Tehillim apply to 90% of my leftist brothers who – after all these years – are still rooting for the peace process to work. I get along with most of these guys and some of them are actually good friends! The problem is with the remaining 10% who are not misguided nor are they boors or fools. These people are simply evil. They are the enemy. They come in all shapes and sizes from streimel-wearing Neturei Karta to secular professors, like David Shulman, in Hebrew University. The reason I consider them the enemy is because they have “crossed the line”. They have taken their views and turned them into actions against everything I consider holy. They assist those who kill us, they steal Jewish land and they cause irreparable damage.
Yet, with all the evil they do, there is a lesson for us. We need to use their methods against them. We must learn from their bad and use it for good. If a retired professor gives $20,000 towards helping the “poor Palestinians in the southern Hebron Hills”, then we must give $20,000 towards helping “the heroic and wonderful Jews in the southern Hebron Hills – in settlements such as Otniel, Maon, Carmel, Sussya and much more”. They are dedicated to their cause so we must be doubly as dedicated since they are destroying (which is easy) and we are building (much harder to do). Let’s stop complaining and start acting and very soon – if we are as serious as they are – we can send a letter to Professor Shulman, written in perfect Sanskrit, that thanks him for his personal example.
For great ideas how you can help Otniel and other projects in these wonderful areas, please go to: www.BuildingInIsrael.com