August 20, 2008

Give & Take

Dr Farrukh Saleem is a Pakistani journalist

Dear Farrukh,

Someone just emailed me your piece: "Why are Jews so powerful?"

It's all very flattering for me as a Jew.

But your conclusion is flawed because, by your education and literacy argument, the Christians should have far surpassed the Jews by dint of their numbers and that their progress through the generations has been steady and unhindered; unlike Jews who have seen half our people wiped out by various attempts at genocide through the ages (along with the likely cure for cancer and probably the source of another '15 dozen' Nobel prizes).

So, it's not just the education.

It's a lot simpler my friend.

It's about give and take.

You have spoken about all that the Jews have given to the world, in medicine, science & technology, the arts & entertainment and huge philanthropy - far beyond their fractional number in the world's population.

Conversely, Muslims who have been blessed with the most valuable natural resources on this planet are consummate takers.

Though I live in London, I am writing this from holiday in Israel.

In this country there are just two major lakes; the Sea of Galilee in the north and the Dead Sea in the south.

They are joined by the Jordan River.

The waters of the Galilee are sweet and filled with fish of all varieties. Its shores are thick with vegetation.

In stark contrast, the Dead Sea is truly devoid of any life. Its shores are as barren and hostile as a Martian landscape.

The Dead Sea's salt and mineral levels make it toxic to any life forms. One glass of its water would poison a man.

The obvious question is: why the difference?

How could two seas, so close to each other and joined by the same river, become such stark opposites? Life & death?

The answer is that the Sea of Galilee receives its water from the Golan and passes it on, down the Jordan River to the Dead Sea.

By contrast, the Dead Sea is a dead-end. It passes nothing on downstream.

That which gives and takes will thrive.

That which merely takes without giving on to others is doomed to perish.

Its own minerals will become toxic to itself and its surroundings.

Does this scenario sound vaguely familiar to you?

Best wishes,



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