Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 26 - Nerya Rafael Knafo

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

The Idea at the base of the big vision of establishing the State of Israel is, the divine promise regarding the return of the people of Israel from all over the world back to Zion. This great act  needs to happen with our own hands, as it’s written in the book of Psalms: “For Thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and love her dust” (Psalm 102, 15). The redemption will come when we truly want it and when we do certain deeds. When we rise and act on building a perfect, just, society. 

Seventy five years ago, a big miracle happened, the establishment of the State of Israel. A miracle, usually is an expression of an act that is performed above us, reluctantly, and without our interference. In Jewish tradition, however, a miracle is something that people are part of. In fact, miracles can be performed by people. And so, Jewish leaders chose to become partners in performing the great miracle of Israel. 

It is marvelous to make Aliyah (immigrate) to Israel, following the prophecy of prophet Isaiah: “On that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 27, 13).

It is wonderous to live in Jerusalem, the city which is mentioned by prophet Zachariah: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age” (Zechariah 8, 4). The realization of these prophecies is a true miracle, one we should celebrate and rejoice. 

The prophets of Israel did not settle only on the promise regarding the return of the people of Israel to Zion, therefore, they filled the streets of Jerusalem and preached about redemption, in the shape and form of a prophecy, a prophecy of peace. In order to achieve it, people needed to be active.

Dear inhabitants of the State of Israel, this is our time to materialize prophecies, to be active and to achieve peace. We will do that by building bridges and interfaith relationships, by listening and praying together and by celebrating the diverse cultures being drained into a source of living water in Jerusalem. During our shift, as the State of Israel turns 75, we can act on fulfilling the big vision in the prophecy of Isaiah referring to the big miracle: “ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem…They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up a sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore…”.


Nerya Rafael Knafo

Nerya Rafael Knafo was born and raised in Ashdod, and currently lives in Jerusalem. 

He leads prayer and justice activities at “Zion”, an Eretz Yisraeli community in Jerusalem. Expert of various prayer traditions, including north Africa, Eastern and European traditions. 

Nerya is a fellow at the Beit Midrash for Israeli Rabbis at the Shalom Hartman Institute and Hamidrasha in Oranim. 

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