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Mike Huckabee's trip to Israel is a lesson about freedom

Governor Mike Huckabee outside Yad Vashem
Governor Mike Huckabee outside Yad Vashem
Cynthia Graham

February 12, 2011

During the height of the Egyptian protests against Hosni Mubarak, former Governor Mike Huckabee led a group of Americans through the rugged, but beautiful, terrain of Israel.

Huckabee spoke about freedom while on the impressive ancient monument to Jewish survival, the vast mountaintop refuge and fortress known as Masada. It was here that 960 Jewish Zealots fled to avoid the Roman Tenth Legion. For three years, they lived and fought the vast troops, but the battering rams and catapults finally won out. Rather than give up their freedom to slavery to Rome, the Masada Jews devised a plan of mass suicide, which is recounted by Elazar ben Yair's final speech.

"Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself, Who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice... it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom. Let our wives die before they are abused, and our children before they have tasted of slavery, and after we have slain them, let us bestow that glorious benefit upon one another mutually....[The food] will be a testimonial when we are dead that we were not subdued for want of necessities; but that, according to our original resolution, we have preferred death before slavery."

Although such actions are shocking to most of us, living free is a strong desire, a desire which has been at the forefront of many wars, and at the heart of numerous lost lives.

Without a moral compass or conviction, the heart of man seeks to enslave and overpower those who are free. To emphasize this point, Huckabee introduced his tour group to Yad Vashem, the world center for Holocaust history. On the day of arrival, almost as if on command, the sky darkened and rain fell, lending a feeling of gloom to the apprehension of what was yet to come--an audio visual look at the events leading to the registering, marking, humiliation and finally the genocide of the Jewish people.

At the beginning of this horrific journey, the German citizens unknowingly gave away their democratic freedom shortly after Germany fell into a depression, when America called in German banking loans during the Great Depression. Six million Germans were unemployed by 1932, and the current Government was in chaos, unable to control the downward spiral of the depression. Believing that the only way to salvage the country was to have a political party onboard that was large enough to pass needed legislation, President Hindenburg caved to Hitler's demand to be named Chancellor, thus opening the door for the resultant dictatorship.

Through intimidation, terror, control and a bit of luck, Hitler became a one-man show, which allowed him to begin the extermination of the Jewish people, a race which he felt was inferior to his. Sadly, the Jewish people had so totally assimilated into the German life and culture, and trusted in the good of humanity, that most refused to believe the farmer's warnings of doom, even as their final trains headed to the death camps.

As history, and the present, can attest, Hitler did not succeed in his evil plan to eradicate the Jewish race, and after the fall of Masada, two woman and three children lived to tell the Zealot's tale. The Jews love for their land, and a determination to be free in their own country, developed in them a degree of bravery and perseverance that is not often seen in the world today.


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