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Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Mets, Football and Israel


I'm a big sports fan. And, like the protagonist of the TV show "My Boys", I use a lot of sports analogies.

I'm sure by now most people have heard of the major crash and burn that happened to the Mets this baseball season. I've been a Mets fan for a very long time.

At the beginning of the year, the Mets were "the team to beat". From early in the season, they held the first place position in the Eastern Division of the National League. I was proud to be a Mets fan. But as the Mets went from 7 games ahead in the middle of September to 2nd place and out of the playoffs by the end of the season (losing 12 of their last 17 games), I went from pride to frustration and confusion.

I realized that I feel the same way about Israel and the United States. When I was growing up, Israel was the underdog, the David going against the Goliath of the Arab/Muslim countries. They defeated their enemies in wars even before I was born and when I was young -- in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973. They gained territory in these defensive wars that made their borders more defensible, reducing their military needs in the process.

The United States has been one of the world's "super powers". With the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, the United States emerged as the super power and the standard bearer for freedom, western values, justice and equality.

But somewhere along the line, the United States and Israel started "playing" the world "game" like a strong football team playing a weak football team and only allowing their Defense to play. (In American football, teams have both Offensive squads and Defensive squads. The Offense tries to score and the Defense tries to prevent the other team from scoring. So even if the strongest football team would play the weakest football team the strongest team would easily lose if their offense didn't try to score.) The United States and Israel have become too concerned with world opinion. They've been playing "defense" when they should be playing "offense" too, for a balanced attack.

Israel should be actively fighting against the Palestinian "forces" who were given Gaza on a silver platter and are using this land not for housing for "refugees", not for government offices, not for anything to help their people but to lob bombs that are killing and maiming Jewish children and adults living in nearby communities.

And the United States is acting like a "peace keeping" force in Iraq. The US military should be permitted to "play offense" or fight this war like a war, not like a peace keeping effort. The enemy never surrendered and as such, the US in Iraq is still at war.

I remember the pride I felt as a child being a Jewish American. I remember feeling pride in Israel especially during the six-day war and the Yom Kippur war, when Israel successfully defended itself. I remember feeling pride when I hear that Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear plant. I remember feeling pride in the US for spreading freedom throughout the world.

But today, both countries have lost their "bite", they are only allowing their defensive squad "on the field". I'm feeling the same way about my countries (The US and Israel) as I am about my Mets -- I'm still loyal. But I really wish they all would start defending themselves.

Check out my Squidoo lenses on Jewish themed topics:
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Rosh Hashana
G-d and Forgiveness

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