by Nathan Lopes Cardozo
Lord of the Universe:
We, the soldiers of the people of Israel
Come to You in humility
And pray for your help.
Once more we are asked to defend our
The Holy Land against our enemies.
We ask You to have mercy on us and
Help us watch over our people
With clean hands
And with a heart filled with mercy.
Let our people have the strength to
Stay in good spirits
And live in unity and
Walk in Your ways,
The ways of justice and truth.
Let us not make mistakes
And hurt those who are not guilty,
Who do not understand
And have no part in this conflict.
Let our bullets not hurt those children of our enemies
Whose parents place them deliberately in dangerous spots,
Fire on us
And then shield themselves
Behind their own offspring against
Our forces so as to fault us when their children
Are wounded or even killed.
Remove the evil spirit of these parents
And make them realize the wickedness of their actions.
Stop their teachers from manipulating their students
With hate for us in their schoolbooks
On the radio, television and
You know what one of our prime ministers once said:
“We may forgive our enemies one day
For hurting and killing our children
We cannot forgive them for having made our children
Into those who needed to kill.”
We beg You, do not let our Jewish souls have to undergo
This ordeal that we cannot bear.
We are the children of Avraham, your servant, who
Prayed for the evil people of Sedom in the hope that
They would repent and live decent lives.
So, we beg you:
Make our enemies repent.
Make them understand that
We are good people
Who wish to live in peace with
All our neighbors.
Remove from their thoughts atrocities such as those
In which they dip their hands
In our blood.
As Jews, we
Doing this to even our worst enemies.
You commanded us to live in a country that
Is little more
Than a tiny island.
Our population is smaller than that of
Many single cities.
You asked us to live there so as to send
Your holy Word to all the corners of the world.
We are surrounded by many nations who
Contain more than a hundred million people.
They inhabit one of the largest regions of the world
But deny us the right to live in even the smallest corner of the world.
They do not want to listen
And only wish our death.
Give the Arab nations
Who pursue justice and who really
Care for their people
And do not wish to bring their own brothers to despair
And unbearable pain
With the intention
Of accusing us
Of grave injustice.
After thousands of years of our dwelling
In this world and after many exiles, tortures, pogroms,
Expulsions and Holocausts
We finally found our way back to our
That You promised to our ancestors.
Yet once more our dreams of peace
Have gone up in smoke
While we try, at the risk of our own lives,
To find a way to
Allow our Palestinian neighbors to
Live their own lives.
While we were prepared to make sacrifices
For the welfare of these people
As no other people ever did
While we offered them land, peace, finances
And even firearms so as to defend themselves,
We once more pay the price for being a people
Who believe in the honesty of another nation and its leaders
And once more we feel misled.
Oh Lord, remove the evil intentions of the
Security Council, which distorts the truth.
Remove the deliberate lies
From the hearts of those who head the
Why do they want to portray us
As an evil people?
They do so
To deny Your existence and Your moral
They hide behind their own wickedness
And cover up their own and their ancestors’
Immoral acts that they committed against us
And our ancestors for thousands
O God, You know
No army in world history has used as much restraint
No army is so careful not to hurt or kill
But what shall we do when they are not even prepared
To give us the option
To prove this to the world?
Bring peace into the hearts and minds
Of our enemies.
Let them be uplifted with a spirit of righteousness.
Stop them from hating us because we are Your people.
Let us sanctify Your name as this is our
Mission and our dream.
Give us the possibility once more to teach
Your ways to the peoples
Of the world
And make them hear and
We hate war as nobody else does.
We abhor the need to wear weapons.
We cannot stand the sound of our own artillery
And our tanks.
We are the people of the Book,
The Book that demands holiness,
Our heroes are not the generals or the marshals
But our prophets and our sages,
So deliver us from this anguish.
Bring peace to the nations.
Let us not be forced to use our strength against them
For they will have no escape.
Let the blessing that you gave to Avraham come true –
“Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed” –
For this is our hope.
–Chapter 34 from Cardozo’s For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People: Essays and Studies on Israel, Jews and Judaism.