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photo by Rhonda Spivak

 
ISRAELI AMBASSADOR MICHAEL OREN: DID EINSTEIN BELIEVE IN GOD?

By Rhonda J Spivak, December 15, 2009

Although he was not wearing a kippa, Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, delivered a faith- based view of Jewish history at the General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America in Washington last month.

Oren’s speech focused on the notion that Nobel Prize Laureate Albert Einstein “understood” that there was a God and that “God had intervened in Jewish history,” when the State of Israel was born.

Einstein was debating “the younger generation of physicists who claimed that randomness [not God] ruled the universe,” Oren said
As Oren noted, according to Einstein, the fact that light moves at a constant speed “was not accidental. Einstein reasoned, ‘[that] God…does not play dice with the universe.’ By the same logic, …a God who fixes physical laws can also intercede in the course of history.” 

Oren added that “the best proof of that belief is the fact that an obscure tribe of nomads [ the Jews] living 3,000 years ago suddenly devised the notion of a single God and of universal morality… [T]hese nomads became a people who conveyed these concepts to other faiths that today account for more than half of humanity.” 

Oren said,” it was a fact” that the Jewish people was “given a land in which to realize its national destiny” and “longed to return to that land even when exiled.” 
“To believe in the God of history is to believe that there was a reason why a tiny remnant of this people, rising from the ashes of the world’s vastest murder returned to that land and reclaimed it; why they created a vibrant democracy and the first Jewish defense force in two thousand years; why they revived and enriched the language in which God had first spoken to them.

“Einstein understood this. Though thoroughly assimilated, once challenged by those younger chaos-theorists, Einstein sided with God. He sided with the Jews…. And Einstein became a Zionist,” Oren proclaimed.

Einstein “was convinced”’ that with the building of kibbutzim, and the new Jewish city of Tel Aviv, God was intervening in Jewish history. 
As Oren indicated, Einstein’s own words were that what made him happiest was “ the realization of a Jewish state.” 

Oren,whose oldest son was wounded in battle, also “lost a sister-in-law in a suicide bombing.  However, he said that while it is difficult to understand the meaning of such suffering in God’s plan, “we who believe that such a plan exists have nevertheless to look at the subsequent six decades in which the State of Israel has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles..” 

Oren then listed the threats facing Israel, including terrorism and the Iranian regime’s drive for nuclear weapons as well as condemnations such as the Goldstone report “that cast widespread doubts” about Israel’s legitimacy. 

“Like Einstein, we who believe that there is a purpose to Jewish history are being challenged by young people—even some Jewish youth–who say that Israel’s creation was random and perhaps even wrong,” he said.

However, Oren concluded, “Israel can and will defend itself, be assured. We will fight the terrorists and protect ourselves from Iran. And we will resist the attempts to discredit us.” 

 He emphasized that Israel’s ability to withstand attempts to undermine its legitimacy  depends on the “unity” among the Jewish people.
“Our strength stems from the belief that we are a people with an historical purpose that has led us to create vital communities throughout the world and most compellingly… in our own nation state. Our strength derives from the belief that we have a right to independence in these, our tribal lands, that Jews have the right to defend themselves-to survive as Jews and as a legitimate nation.”

Oren said that Diaspora synagogues, schools, and community centres ought to hang banners calling on the world to “Support International Sanctions” and “Stop the Iranian Bomb.” 

He concluded that ultimately “faith” is what sustains the Jewish people—“the belief that in spite of our doubts and differences, we remain a people with a land and a purpose.”   

Just as it is a fact that “light travels at the speed of 299,792,458 meters per second,” Oren said that it is a fact that “whenever Jews have remained united in their faith, not only in God but in themselves, as a people, they have overcome unspeakable challenges and even flourished…

“Jewish unity will enable Israel to meet the challenges to its security and legitimacy, and to join with Diaspora Jewry in building a future of spiritual richness, creativity, and peace.

‘Einstein understood that and so can we-with all the alacrity, and the clarity, of light.”

 

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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