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Jews are the Canary in the Coal Mine




The voices proclaiming that France is no longer safe for Jews and that they should, therefore, emigrate are dangerously misguided. If France is not safe for Jews, then the very future of Europe – and indeed the world – is in jeopardy.

Chief Rabbi Ant Interview Lo-resHistory has demonstrated that Jews are the proverbial canary in a coal mine. Just as canaries in a mine die before humans are aware of toxic gases undetectable to human senses, such as methane and carbon monoxide, and in dying warn of impending disaster, so is the state of Jews in their societies the test for the safety of the environment there. If the Jews in a particular society are, like the canaries, singing and thriving then all is well. If not, that is an early warning of danger ahead. Sometimes, threats of danger to civilisation are not noticed. The miners rely on their canaries, and the world ought to rely on the position of Jews to assess the threat level to civilized society.

In 1933 the danger that Adolf Hitler posed to the world was not yet clear, but when Jews become unsafe in Hitler’s Germany, that was a sign of the toxins of hatred seeping into the world — toxins which tragically went unnoticed until too late, and which eventually engulfed humanity in a war that lead to the death of sixty million people.

The plight of Jews in France bodes evil for the world. The toxins of radical Islam were not initially evident there.  But later the canaries stopped singing and started dying. A few years ago, the murder of Rabbi Sandler and the young children of the Jewish day school in Toulouse occurred, followed by many other attacks on French Jewry, all of which were early warning signs of the lethal threat posed by radical Islam.

A society in which Jews are not safe will ultimately not be safe for journalists, or for freedom, or for any values of human decency. Thus, the two atrocities of the week – the savage killing of journalist Charlie Hebdo and of Jews in the kosher supermarket are connected in a profound way. 

Chief Rabbi quote on FranceThe chilling and ironic symbol of this connection is the Grand Synagogue of Paris. On the Shabbat of the attacks, the Grand Synagogue of Paris was closed for services for the first time since the Nazi occupation of France.

A society in which synagogues cannot open freely and a society in which Jews are not safe is a society which is itself in danger.  If Jews are not safe in France, then the very future of France is in jeopardy, and so indeed is the future of the civilized world. If Europe becomes Judenrein once again, the civilised world will have  succumbed to the worst forces of barbarism and savagery.

World Jewry must stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community of France, but so must every civilised nation on earth, for future of the whole world depends on theirs.

The real message that needs proclaiming is that France must become safe for its Jews if the world is to defeat the forces of radical Islam that seek its destruction. Any country where a Jew cannot live in safety and security presents  a  foreboding sign that the forces of freedom, tolerance, human dignity and sanctity of life are under threat  there and that  toxic forces exist  which undermine the very survival of its society.

wzo9 red tallThe signs globally are not good. The fact that virtually every Jewish institution – synagogues, schools, community centres – throughout the globe, has to be heavily protected against the threat of terrorism from radical Islam is a sign of the dangers that the civilised world faces from these ominous forces.

RIGHT: Click on this picture to report cases of anti-Semitism to the World Zionist Organisation

The fact that Jews cannot live in freedom in places such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim countries, is a moral disgrace which portends danger for the very future of humanity.

The warning signs have been manifest for many years. What individual Jews are to the societies in which they live, the State of Israel is to the community of nations.

The State of Israel is the canary in the coal mine of the community of nations. Suicide bombers first launched themselves again the State and people of Israel, and then after that came the attacks of 9/11 in New York, 7/7 in London, in Bali, and in many other places.

The violent extremism of Hamas and Hezbollah were originally directed against the Jewish State, but now similar forces engulf and threaten the very existence of Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and other countries. And as the great powers of the world negotiate with the Islamic Republic of Iran, they should realise that whilst today its nuclear ambitions are directed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, history has taught that tomorrow their targets will be Paris, London, New York and Cairo.

Poisonous gases are rife throughout the world. In the week before the Paris attacks, two thousand people were butchered by Boko Haram. And then in the week of the attacks ten year old girls were sent as suicide bombers to attack markets in Potiskum, Nigeria, and a few weeks ago barbarians butchered more than two hundred children in Peshawar, Pakistan.

These attacks constitute the dire danger and sickness of a brutal and savage movement that threatens all civilised decent people throughout the world. 


Now is the time to act!

Now is the time to act. The future of the civilised world is at stake. A global alliance of people from across all faiths – Jews, Muslims and Christians together – and countries must rally together to defend human civilization from Jihadi barbarism. The test of victory will be the state of the Jews.

When people around the world declare ‘Je suis Juif’ (“I am a Jew”) – they are touching a profound truth, upon which the survival of humanity depends. When Jews, like the canary in the mine, are singing and thriving, and can once again safely walk the streets of Paris, and all of Europe, openly and proudly, when synagogues and Jewish schools don’t need armed guards to be safe, when the State of Israel isn’t faced with mortal enemies constantly seeking its destruction, then we will know that the civilized world is safe once more. 

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SAJR Online editor Ant Katz was a delegate at the WZO’s Brussels conference on countering anti-Semitism in December. The SAJR has been running a series of articles on the issue. Readers may be interested in reading some of the most read and commented on…


WZO Conference reads on SAJR.CO.ZA

Conference logo14 Jan:  HOW GAZA WON THEIR WAR SO WELL
The 1st in a 2-part op-ed by ANT KATZ in which he postulates Hamas goaded Israel, knowingly caused death and destruction – all as part of a bigger strategy

Israel was on the mark but got off to a slow start. Can they beat this disease?

“Enough of anti-Semitic Violence! Increase legislation to combat anti-Semitism!”

publishes details of hundreds of violent anti-Semitic attacks worldwide in 2014

details how over a million Euro-Jews are sitting on their shpielkes, and why

 of German Fed – on how it feels like to be a Jew in Europe in 2014

, Survivor& head of Belgian Jewry, tells how tough it is on European Jews

Introduction to series on December conference of WZO attended & written by ANT KATZ

Continue Reading


  1. Benjamin

    Jan 21, 2015 at 7:37 am

    ‘The chief rabbi writes that \”the test of victory will be the state of the Jews\”.

    He is only half correct – its not the state of the Jews, but rather the State of the Jews, that will be our victory.

    How can a Zionist rabbi not give any credence to the call for Jews of Europe to make aliyah to their own State, and for that matter, the Jews of SA and the world over.

  2. Choni

    Jan 21, 2015 at 8:28 am

    ‘In my opinion this whole episode in France has had one purpose. Hashem is at \”work\” to hasten the ingathering of His people. Everything else, including this column by the chief Rabbi, and the hundreds of other debates, reasons, conferences, etc.etc.etc. are merely ‘collateral damage’.

    For the Rabbi to state that the voices that say it is not safe for Jews to remain in France and they should emigrate are misguided, is to be rejected. On the contrary, Hashem is clearly sending His message for Jews to emigrate. I feel that the Rabbi’s words are putting an obstacle in the way of those Jews who are not sure of their futures in the Diaspora.’

  3. Isaac

    Jan 21, 2015 at 1:31 pm


  4. Choni

    Jan 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    ‘Reason why S.African Jews should not make Aliyah.

    Chabad; Wait for Mashiach.

    Chief Rabbinate; Pathetic!!!!!!’

  5. Dion R

    Jan 21, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    ‘Dear Rabbi,

    Please dispense with your 24 hour armed guards and bullet proof vehicle, your fortified mansion in the suburbs and your constant accompaniment of security personnell wherever you go including walking to and from shul.

    Do it for a few weeks.

    Then, and only then, can you say Jews must remain in their host countries.

    Come down to your people and see how they live.

    Such nonsense.

  6. Les

    Jan 21, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    ‘Is this the same Rabbi that shared a platform with Jacob Zuma and issued a full colour Rosh Hashanah brochure urging Jews not yo leave Sputh Africa? Since then some Jews have died in SA in violent attacks, the Regime has become virulantly anti semitic, and Palestinian terrorists are invitees to SA.

    Dont worry about Europe they are pn the case, stand up to the anti semites in your own country.

  7. Wladyslaw Karpeta

    Jan 22, 2015 at 10:47 am

    ‘Oy vey! And still we fight amongst ourselves!’

  8. Choni

    Jan 22, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    ‘Wladyslaw: We’re not fighting, we are debating.

    Isn’t this the right place, or must we accept everything that is written without a \”fight\”.

    Certainly not in this case, even if it is the Chief Rabbi of S.Africa.


  9. Choni

    Jan 24, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    ‘Since this column was published I’ve been looking for any reference in our scriptures of Jews being like canaries in a mine shaft while living in the Diaspora (exile).

    I have, however, found  countless times that Jews were exiled from their Land (Eretz Israel), because of their sins, and were living in foreign lands for the past 2000 years.

    Since 1948 that exile ended with the restoration of Jewish sovereignty of much of Eretz Israel with God’s mercy.

    For the Rabbi to suggest that the Jews are serving any purpose whatsoever in foreign Lands, is an insult to the greatest gift of love that God has given to His people after 2000 years of cruel persecution.

    Nothing at  all, except the unwillingless of those to return, will stop the ingathering of the Jewish people in the Diaspora.

    Rabbi Goldstein, and all other Diaspora Rabbis must unite in urging their communities to make Aliyah.

    Do not wait for more tragedies and more assimilation.

  10. apikoires

    Jan 25, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    ‘It is always reassuring to assess the state of European Jewry from afar. It is comforting to apply the canary analogy to the blissful life that is enjoyed by South African Jewry. We can relax, secure in the knowledge that we have not thus far witnessed anything which approaches the tragic events suffered by our French brethren.

    But if we are really honest with ourselves, we will apply an alternate avian analogy to our situation in South Africa. A far more apt analogy for us would be an ostrich with its head in the sand. Our fellow country men will very shortly be welcoming Leila Khaled, a convicted terrorist to our blissful island of racial tolerance. She will be the guest of the local BDS faction, bolstering their fundraising events. Her visit is being welcomed by various local groups aligned with the ruling party, with the stated purpose of bolstering solidarity with the Palestine people’s struggle for their birthright.

    Our canary is doing just fine. I’m not so sure about our ostrich!

  11. Mordechai

    Jan 26, 2015 at 6:27 am

    ‘Why is anyone surprised. One only needs to review his articles regarding Tutu, his passionate eulogy when Mandela passed away, his deafening silence during the Josh Bloomberg issue and I am sure the list goes on. The post by Dion R is spot on. Rabbi Goldstein and infact all S African Rabbi’s should and infact have an obligation to tell S Africas Jewish youth to make Aliyah or at least to make arrangements to leave the Israel hating S Africa. The community would have been better served if the Chief Rabbi spent his time and energy telling S African Jewry that they must go, after all things will only get worse’

  12. Mordechai

    Jan 26, 2015 at 6:35 am

    ‘One last point on S A Jewry and call to leave South Africa. I remember to well in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s attending Shule at Sydneham Highlands North Shule on Friday nights and Rabbi Yossi Goldman passionatly telling the community not to leave SA, and in fact coming down hard on those who had left and were planning to leave (I am one of those who took my family and left). Well guess what, Rabbi Goldman was wrong. I would be interested to find out if since the birth of the new (so called Rainbow nation) S Africa and all it brought has Rabbi Goldman or for that matter any South African Rabbi stood up and from the pulpit told Jews to leave S Africa, or are they to selfish to do the correct thing and save Jewish lives. My guess would be no he has not and no S Africa Rabbi has had the guts to do the correct thing’

  13. Choni

    Jan 26, 2015 at 8:08 am

    ‘Shalom Mordechai, Thanks for the vindicating all I have been saying for the last 5 years.


    Blah, blah … yawn. Sorry, Choni, I am completely with Isaac on this one. You have had four rants in this thread so I am pulling the soap-box out from under you. Enough is enough. If you would like to speak on another topic, here, go ahead, But this trolling is ridiculous.
    \nI have cut it all out      -ONLINE EDITOR

  14. Choni

    Jan 26, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    ‘Just to confirm something.

    Issac, Does your \”yawn\” refer to my comment or to Rabbi Goldstein’s analysis?

  15. Mordechai

    Jan 27, 2015 at 5:53 am

    ‘Choni, Rabbi Goldsteins article is not even worthy of a yawn.’

  16. Isaac

    Jan 27, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    ‘Choni, while you do tend to go on and on about the same thing, my yawn was indeed directed at the rabbi, not you.’

  17. Eli Leventhal.

    Feb 1, 2015 at 4:01 am

    ‘I am a runaway SA Jew who has lived in the UK for many years. My kids are grown and 3 of the 4 have returned to live their Jewish lives in SA.

    Who amd I to judge them? Nobody should be allowed to tell the haslf of the worlds Jews who don’t live in Israel that it is ecpected of them. Forwhatever reason they don’t choose to, that is their ‘other’ birthright.

    I am facing retirement and the 2 choices for my wife and I are SA or the UK. Who cam tell me that it is my ‘duty’ to go to Israel. To have forced it upon my kids?

    The problem among SA Jews (or maybe its just those who comment ion this site), is that they thinkl their is only their wy and the wrong wAY.

    We all have a right and wrong way fro ourselves. Don’t become anothers’ judge and jury! It seems some of you are living in SA and shouting that people should make aliya – not just leave SA, but you even believe you have the right to choose their destibations for them.

    Please do not be so foolish. It is not the Jewish way and youre embarrassing yourselves and your fellow Jews.’

  18. Choni

    Feb 2, 2015 at 11:11 am

    ‘Hello Eli, I would love to reply to your comment, but sadly the editor has ‘banned” me from further discussion on this subject . (see comment 13).

    May you and your family be blessed with much happiness in exile.’

  19. David

    Mar 8, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    ‘Eli – I am completely with you on this one

    My 2 grown up children both emigrated to Sydney  and it was a very simple decision for us to follow when the grandchildren arrived

      No judgements and comments can tell you what to do — all I can do is tell you what my natural, and, oh so easy, decision was.

    Family is the element and ingredient, covering this decisions.’

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